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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Friday April 19 2019

I like how digital photography has replaced killing, as a way to collect wildlife.  In particular (as I learned when preparing a talk I gave about digital photography five years ago), I like how butterfly collectors now collect butterfly photos instead of dead butterflies.

However, although I regularly wander about photoing photos, I have myself never photoed a butterfly.

Until last week, in France, on the same day as and about an hour after I photoed that Death in France photo, I photoed this butterfly:

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I know.  Not very impressive.  And is that another butterfly, a dead one, upside down on the floor there?  I rather think it may be.

However, a second later, this happened:

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Is that two butterflies shagging?  Do butterflies even do that?  Butterfly necrophilia perhaps?

I have no idea what brand of butterfly this particular butterfly is, but it is rather fine, I think.

But it does very well without one.

Video here.

I’ve included “War” in the category list below, because the battlefield is surely one of the places where these contraptions will make their creepy presence particularly felt.

ABC News reports, with video:

This very responsible turkey halted traffic on a two-lane road in New Hampshire until the entire flock was able to cross.

Via Roz the Crime Fiction Writer, who says:

He has the exact demeanour of our old school lollipop lady.

Pigeons and foxes aren’t the only ones who have adapted to human civilisation.

A week ago now, I photoed this photo in the graveyard of a little village up in the mountains of southern France called Taulis (already mentioned here).  Today being Good Friday, I thought I’d do a little nod towards Christianity by showing a few crucified Christs, France being very full of these rather gruesome sorts of sculpture.  Everywhere you go in France, or so it seems to me, you see these, and not just in graveyards:

image

Even more striking, however, in that photo, are the dead body storage units in the background.  Do we have those in England?  Not that I recall seeing.

They remind me of the dead body storage units that you see in TV police dramas.  Every so often there’s a scene where a grieving relative is asked to identify a cadaver, and a drawer is opened, and closed.  We see grief enacted.

Are police dramas on the telly replacing graveyards and crucified Christs as the main means that we now use to contemplate death?

As I get nearer to death, I think about it more and more.  What will it be like?  Will I know I’m dead?  Will I still be “alive” when I am incinerated?  Will there by bright lights in the distance?  Will it hurt?  Will I be reunited with the enemies of my schooldays?  Will I still be able to write about it here, but in a way that is unpublished?  What, historically speaking, will I miss by a whisker?  Or by decades and centuries?

Maybe France is not so full of crucified Christs.  Maybe it’s just that when I now see them, I notice them.

Thursday April 18 2019

More sport.  This time in the form of a striking (literally) little passage from the preface of a book by Richard Tomlinson about the famed Victorian era cricketer W.G. Grace:

By the time he was twenty-seven, Grace had scored fifty first-class centuries.  He performed this feat at a time when pitches were so poor, and cricket gear so flimsy, that batsmen risked their lives whenever they took guard.  In one match at Lord’s – a ground where he would pick stones out of the rutted pitch – W.G. scored a hundred and then saw another batsman killed by a ball that smashed his head.

Despite the gear having got a lot less flimsy, cricket deaths, even now, occasionally happen.

Wednesday April 17 2019

Last night, United crushed in the Champions League by Barca, in Barca.  And tonight – glory be – City knocked out by Spurs in a mad scramble of a game in Manchester.  So, Spurs win without Kane.  They’ve been doing a lot of that lately.

Did you see that result coming?  I didn’t, and especially not after City scored after about one minute.  And then, after about three more minutes it was 2-2.  Bonkers.

Are there any Mancunians who support both United and City against all comers?  The way I support all the London teams?  If so, such persons had a bad two nights.

Meanwhile, what’s happening at the top of the Premier League means that I am having to set aside my London-wide support for the duration.  Man City or Liverpool are going to win it.  But Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea are now competing for two Champions League spots next season.  So, when Liverpool recently played Chelsea, I found myself, albeit with a heavy heart, supporting Liverpool.  Chelsea lost, which meant Spurs stayed ahead of them.  Hoo.  Ray.

THE FOLLOWING EVENING: Well, I’m back to supporting Chelsea and Arsenal, against Slavia Prague and Napoli respectively, in the Europe League.  Both are strolling it.  Go, London!  Asks the BBC footy feed:

Are we heading for an all-English Champions League final AND an all-English Europa League final?

Despite Brexit.  It would be a lovely thing to see, but there’s a bit to do for that to happen.  Like Spurs and Liverpool beating Ajax and Barca.

Yes, telling you about how I’ve been in France.

So. where was I?  In France?  Well, to give you an idea, here are some of the excellent places I visited:

imageimageimageimageimage
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imageimageimageimageimage

Whenever I am in foreign parts, I always photo signs, adverts, and the like.  Every place has its own style for doing such things, so signage photos can be very evocative, when you look back at them.  Also, they tell you where you were, and hence what all the other photos taken at the same time were of.

Click on the above photo-fragments to get some context.  If you are curious about any of these places, well, you now have the words you need to go searching.  Words are already links, in the sense that you don’t need me to turn them into links.

I especially like how, when you leave a French town or village, you get a sign with the name crossed through with a red line (2.3).

I also photo war memorials, keeping a particular eye open for repeated surnames.  In Lagrasse (3.1), Baillat, Fontvieille and Jougla are surnames that each get two mentions.

I also like to photo the stuff in tourist shops, especially the postcards (1.1 and 3.2).  That way, you get what tourists generally consider to be the best views, and are alerted to interesting local things which you otherwise might miss even learning about.  Although, in St Cyprien, I got a bit of aggro from a couple shopkeepers who objected to me photoing their produce instead of buying it.

Tuesday April 16 2019

There you were, waiting for a good time to con your way past the front door of my block of flats by saying you’re the postman, to climb my stairs, to bash in my front door and to plunder my classical CD collection.  All that was stopping you was the fear of me bashing your skull to bits with my cricket bat, which I keep handy for just this sort of eventuality.

So anyway, there you were reading all about how my life for the last week has been complicated.  But, I clean forgot to tell you that the reason for all this complication was that I was off in the south of France.  Silly old me.  I’m getting old, I guess.

Here’s how the south of France was looking:

image

Those are the Pyrenees at the back there.  In the foreground, lots of little wine trees.

The weather looks slightly better in that than it really was, what with it having been so very windy.  Especially on the final day of my stay, up on this thing.

Monday April 15 2019

An airplane approaches London City Airport.  There are cranes, leaning away from each other, ...

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... which was all I thought I was photoing.  Until I looked at it at home on a much bigger thing; and saw a Much Bigger Thing:

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Yes, the Big Olympic Thing.

Another photo of somewhere, turned into somewhere by the same Big Thing.

Sunday April 14 2019

From comedian Johnnie Casson:

“You’ve put on weight, Johnnie.”

Johnnie C: “I’ve had a lot on my plate.”

Me too, lately.  Like I said, brief and perfunctory.

I don’t know where this was.  Someone was sitting there with his laptop, with headphones on, and he started laughing.  The rest of us demanded an explanation.

Saturday April 13 2019

After I photoed those metal men beside the river; outside the old Woolwich Arsenal, I then walked up river towards the Dome, photoing photos like this:

image

However, just before photoing that photo; I photoed this next photo, of a painter, hard at work:

image

And here is the photo I photoed of how he was making this scene look:

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The painting above had yet to say this, but that is the Tate & Lyle factory just south of London City Airport.

I asked this artist’s permission to photo his painting, which he graciously gave, but I did not ask him who he was.  The polite way of asking that would have been to say: Do you have a website?  But, alas, I forgot to ask this:  So, no link to any website, Apologies to him if he does have a website, and apologies to you.

Friday April 12 2019

Jamie Hannah is a friend of GodDaughter2, as a result of him having spent a year at the Royal College of Music, going from being a good countertenor to a rather better countertenor.  But now he’s giving the pop star thing a go.  Judging by his latest video, I reckon the plan just might work.

I’ve heard Jamie Hannah in action twice before, once live and once in the form of a recording.  In terms of performing savvy and persistence and general attitude; he seemed to be going about it the right way, but the actual sounds he was making didn’t sound to me that distinctive:  Any friend of GodDaughter2 is a friend of mine.  But not having anything sufficiently positive to say about Jamie’s work, I kept quiet about it here.

As you can see, that has now changed:  If this new video is anything to go by, Jamie is now making much more use his strength; which is his very distinctive countertenor voice.

And, although I know nothing of the technicalities of such things; the production side - the sheer sound of the musical backing and the general ambience - sounds to me like it has taken a big step in the right direction.  Whatever he is now doing, I hope Jamie Hannah keeps at it.

Judging by a lot of the comments at YouTube, it would appear that a certain Boy George feels similarly.

Thursday April 11 2019

As earlier threatened.

Here is a tree, photoed by me in Onslow Square, just off the Fulham Road, early last week:

image

It’s the way they prune it.

Wednesday April 10 2019

For a posting I did here last Saturday, I went looking for an example of Mick Hartley sneering at an idiot artist (it didn’t matter which one) for talking art-speak bollocks.  It actually took me quite a lot of scrolling to find such a posting.  Mostly he features photos that he likes, and anti-semitism and such stuff, that he doesn’t like.

While scrolling for the art-speak bollocks, I came across this wonderful photo, which Hartley found here:

image

One of the many things this photo illustrates is, I think, what a truly magnificent building the Walkie-Talkie is turning out to be.  The variety of effects it creates, depending on the light and on where you are, is truly amazing.  I love how, in this particular photo, its windows merge into the general pattern of city windows, with individual buildings being hard to discern as the sources of all the bright little rectangles.

The Walkir-Talkie was hated at first, by many, many people.  But the reality of it is, from far away, from quite far away (as above), and from close-up, is truly wonderful, as is what you can see from it.

See also, as time goes by: The Tulip.

I also like all the little red lights in that photo, which are there, I believe, to scare away helicopters.

Tuesday April 09 2019

I see this building every time I step outside Highbury and Islington tube station:

image

I wondered whether such a photo was worth showing here at all; but a friend saw it and liked it, so there it is.

Life for me just now is complicated, There may be quite a few brief and rather perfunctory postings like this in the next few days.