Blog man in 'no pics' shock

Yes it is a non-picture post, I know it has been a lot lately but then I tend to not do any photergraphy for a while and then do loads all in one day. It was a very inspiring day out with lots of great things to take pictures of, and especially shooting in black and white which is brilliant. It is funny how less is more sometimes, perhaps if I left the lens cap on and took the battery out I could do even better!

Well I have been having a lot of intresting adventures, such as visiting England’s exclusive Hampshire, and seeing tigers which was fantastic. It was in a wildlife park of course not just roaming the streets of Wickham, yawning and snarling. Although that would be great. There are lots of pictures from that weekend though I have not got round to uploading them yet.

I did not do much this weekend except sprawling in ghastly sloth, and eat sossidges & mash (now with onion gravy!) Last night I passed a pleasant evening at the pub eating my own weight in nuts, chattering of inconsequentialia, and plotting which intresting films to see at the London Film Festival (all of them). Unfortunately I left my copy of Northanger Abbey there which is typical of me, I am a one-man BookCrossing. I will get it back later, by means of a clever subterfuge involving buying some beer. In the meantime I am reading Master and Commander which is quite exciting.

I had a horrid worry this morning due to the air crash in Phuket (aviation insiders never speak of a ‘crash’, by the way, rather a ‘hard landing’ - there are progressively harder degrees of landing, up to and including total destruction of the aircraft). I am probably one of the world’s biggest experts on air disasters, which makes me a bad person to talk to just before you go on holiday. Normally I enjoy recounting gloomy statistics and catastrophic failure modes, but it is a bit different when someone you care about might be on the plane, and you get a nasty cold feeling right around your breakfast.

I do not like being flown, any more than I like being driven in a car - it’s a control thing. I have said before I would not mind flying if it was me in charge, then I know at least if it all goes tits up it is my own fault. Ideally next time I fly I will be able to go up to the cockpit and inspeckt everything so as to make sure it is working, and ask questions like ‘Should that klaxon be going off’, or ‘Can anyone smell smoke?’. I will always be a bit concerned though, the worst possible girlfriend for me to have would be an air hostess, which is ironically what my last girlfriend was.

So that is the exciting news really, look out for some pictures of animals coming soon though.

Ye Citie of Londonne

Come with me now on a photergraphic tour of Dickensian London, full of lovable tubercular scamps, ragamuffins, and wicked lawyers, actually that is what I would really like if I could invent a time machine, but I have not. So instead it is a tour of modern London and some of its intresting buildings if you like archie-tecture. I like it a lot.

Aerial photography

Perhaps oddly for someone who is petrified of flying I am fascinated by aviation and have always been a bit plane crazy, in fact I would love to become a pilot. A flight simulator like FlightGear is ideal as I can learn the basics, explore far-off places, and fly the latest high-speed military jets while eating crisps. This is not recommended for real pilots, as the crumbs could get into the ejector seat mechanism or interfere with avionics.

This is me creating a hazard to air traffic over the City of London, flying a Cessna 172 for a trip around the Gherkin.

Taking off in a Boeing 737-300 from Gatwick Airport, perhaps ferrying hundreds of excited holiday makers to a week in Ibiza. Some of them are drunk already. The 737 is quite easy to fly but I do not know what all the computers and stuff do, it is like NASA in there. Modern airliners are so sophistercated that if the pilot oversleeps and misses wheels-up, the plane will just take off automatically, fly itself to the destination, land safely, and then hang out in local bars all night chatting up girls.

In a Harrier over the mountains of Scotland, it is a beautiful aircraft and a remarkable air-to-air fighter, but it flies like a skittish, nervous fawn, and needs a steady hand on the stick if you are not going to suddenly flip over and crash while absent-mindedly checking your email.

Oil rigs in the Cromarty Firth. It is a shame that FlightGear does not model weapons as otherwise I could inflickt significant long-term damage on the Scottish economy, not that I would want to, as I love Scotchland and all Scotch things. Except Scotch which I do not like.

Taking off at dusk in a BO105 helicopter from San Francisco International. The helicopter is even more of a challenge to fly as the natural aerodynamic state of a helicopter is to be on the ground in 1 million pieces. Without constant rudder attention from the pilot a hovering helicopter will simply spin round and round and make everyone spill their chicken marengo. You need to balance power, collective, rudder and cyclic simply to keep the thing in stable flight, otherwise it turns into a very expensive brick.

Approaching downtown San Francisco with the Bay Bridge in the distance, Monster Park football stadium right of centre. I would like to go to America as I imagine all the girls there would like my posh British accent and think I am dead sexy like Hugh Grant, without the prostitutes. If there are any American girls visiting London that would like to help verify this hypothesis, please write to the address on your screens now and mark your envelopes ‘Like, y’know, whateverrr’.

Flying over the Bay Bridge, this is great as under any other circumstances I could get into serious trouble with the police and local civil aviation authorities. In fact on FlightGear you can connect to a multiplayer server and fly with other people, that sounds fun. Perhaps it could be connected to Second Life somehow so I could fly people around to visit places and tell them the local time is 12.15pm and thank you for flying Keithlard Airways. And get off with some virtual stewardesses, I mean, um, not that after all. Something else.

More unrelenting greyness

Well it is a different day this time, as I spent a happy Sunday afternoon with k.s. wandering around near King’s Cross looking for a good time (do not laugh it is obvious what I meant). This is in Tavistock Square where a tiny man is being terrified by a giant statue of Gandhi. Or could it be the magic that we call perspecktive.

Outside King’s Crustacean, a time-honoured symbol which to all British people means the comforting familiarity of delayed trains, badly maintained track, and signals passed at danger. Still our love affair with railways continues, especially me which still gets excited about going somewhere on a train. I think the secret of happiness is probably having quite a low excitemint threshold.

Some intresting tiles outside the station. I dare say many curious visitors’ first impression of London was a frightening looking bearded man inexplicably taking photergraphs of a blank wall.

This is more like it the amazing Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancreas, a bonkers neo-Gothic wedding cake fantasy by George Gilbert Scott, who is one of my top favourite archie-tects of all time (not to be confused with Giles Gilbert Scott who designed the red phone box and Battersea Power Station, which are also pretty terrific). I would love to go inside as I am fascinated with it, especially as it was featured in Douglas Adams’s The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul where it is a mysterious gateway to another… well you’ll have to read the book. It is posh flats now.

The perfect complement to Gilbert Scott’s obsessive-compulsive eclecticism, Camden Town Hall looks like some type of futuristic concrete pod that has been dropped from space. Inside is the gigantic computer that rules the universe. Or just Camden.

This was taken by kindred spirit in fact, but I like it so include it here in the hope that some people will not read the small print and erroneously attribute credit to me for the good photergraphy. It is round the back of the Town Hall.

Tavistock Square is rubbish, it is not though, it is really nice. There is a peaceful park with trees and Gandhi, and some pidgeons that possibly are up to something, you can never tell with pidgeons. Unfortunately some people were blown up there in a bus, which just underlines the point that Gandhi was making really.

On the way home there was some replacemint buses at East Finchley, I think it is due to Finchley Central being fitted with ornate Louis XV furniture, shag-pile carpets and gold taps in the lavvies. Still it gave me the opportunity to take this nice picture of the railway bridge.

The famous Archer at East Finchley, by Eric Aumonier. It is symbolick of the fact that we are on the edge of the ancient Royal Forest of Enfield where Henry VIII used to hunt down and kill stags, or insufficiently fertile wives. Alternatively if someone tries to get on the Tube without buying a ticket some antique machinery rumbles into life and the Archer fires a massive steel bolt through their surprised face. Either way do not try it.

Rhapsody in Black

It is more photos basically from my big day out with kindred photergraphy spirit, yes I ate’nt dead, I have just been in darkest Hampshire exploring and discovering tigers! More news on that later but here is some intresting pictures of grey things.