A better photo of One Kemble Street

Recently I went out looking for another good shot of Richard Seifert’s One Kemble Street, of which I am very fond, having already posted some fun photos of it as seen from the ROH Bar and two more rather so-so photos of it, along with a photo of another circular Seifert edifice, also with an anarchic hairdo.

But here is a better photo of One Kemble Street, that I took over a year ago, from the top of the Tate Modern Extension:

The thing is, when I’m out on one of my photo-wanders, the pattern is: Photo, forget. Photo, forget. Photo, forget. I hardly think at all about what I have just photoed. Almost all my thinking concerns the next photo.

When, usually about one day later, I look back at what I got, even then I don’t pay attention to anything like everything I got. Just some of it. Which means that when I look back at some directory or other a longish time later, I notice more photos, basically for the first time since just before I took them.

It’s tempting to assume that this is the result of me getting old. But I suspect that if I had had a digital camera when I was thirty, I would probably have forgotten most of the photos I took then, much as I do now. But, I do think that age probably reinforces this effect.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

A quota photo of the Shard with foliage and two ridiculous problems solved

On the same day that I took these photos of a spiral shopping trolley sculpture, I also took this photo:

One of many other nice photos I took that day. I chose this one partly because the Shard is the big Big Thing here, just now.

The reason for a quota photo is that I have spent most of my discretionary time today solving ridiculous problems. But I did actually solve both of them, so I am now ridiculously happy.

Problem one was that my bedside radio had suddenly taken to breaking off its playing of mp2 files on the 2GB SD card I had inserted into it, after about twenty minutes, every time. Was this the 2GB SD card? Or (the horror) the radio? Turned out it was the 2GB SD card. My guess: the 2GB SD card, obtained because very ancient and hence ancient enough to fit into my ancient radio and be used both to make and to play recordings, was nevertheless insufficiently ancient. It had the word “Integral” on it. This suggests excessive speed to me. At the very least, an air of impatience. Anyway, my radio couldn’t be doing with it. So, I tried a different and more ancient-looking 2GB SD card, and that worked. Hurrah.

Problem two was that my debit card had stopped working, and I had a vague – but only vague – recollection of having received a letter from my bank with a new debit card in it. But where was it? There followed two hours of searching, but in a manner which made things more tidy rather than less tidy, which is not always the way when you are searching for something. Key fact: I was not in too much of a hurry. It is searching for something in a hurry that really makes chaos. Anyway, I eventually found the new debit card, in the last place I looked. Hurrah times two, making three hurrahs in all.

A good day. And, I hope you agree, a good quota photo.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

New Tricks is popular because it is full of old people and it is mostly old people who watch telly

While channel hopping in search of an entirely different TV channel earlier this evening, I happened to catch this snatch of dialogue, from the TV show New Tricks:

“When you’re looking for something, it’s always in the last place you look.”

“That’s because when you find it, you stop looking for it, you berk.”

Well, I laughed. And I reckon it’s an improvement on any of these.

I didn’t know New Tricks was such a success in foreign parts:

These curmudgeonly coppers, baffled by new technology, hating modern policing methods and clearly in no state to mount a rooftop chase, proved gripping to viewers across the globe.

Actually, it’s pretty obvious why New Tricks is so popular with TV viewers everywhere. It’s because TV viewers everywhere are mostly the same age as the curmudgeonly coppers in New Tricks, and at least twice the age of all the other cops on television.

Speaking as an oldie myself, I can tell you that jokes about not being able to remember where you put things speak to me, very loudly. Yesterday, my oldie friend was helping me with my Ryanair checking in (another thing not all oldies to put it mildly are very good at sorting out) and during this my debit card was required. So I produced it, from my wallet, and two seconds later I placed my wallet … into a black hole, and couldn’t for the life of me find it anywhere. It just totally vanished into thin air, into a parallel universe, with its entrance portal on the far side of the moon. And then it reappeared, on top of the plastic sugar jar.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Jamie Whyte on deferring gratification less as he gets older


I used to defer gratification when I was a teenager. Now that I am middle-aged I take it when it presents itself. Not only have the opportunities become rarer and more precious, but the benefits of deferral are always in the future. And my future is getting shorter every day.

“A moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips.” This equation advises us to forgo the pleasure of tasty but fattening food. It may be good advice when you are 20. But as you age and your hips’ lifetime shortens, the scales begin to tip in the direction of instant labial gratification. No one counts the calories of his last supper.

Those are the first two paragraphs of the first column in a collection of columns entitled Free Thoughts, by Jamie Whyte. All available on line.

I found them while looking for this (about housing subsidies being a bad idea), which is by Preston Byrne. Byrne is my next Brian’s Last Friday speaker (about housing subsidies being a bad idea), this coming Friday, as I’ve already written about on Samizdata.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog