Buildings overlooking The Thames

I visited The Tate on Sunday. Well, I always think of it as The Tate though they call it Tate Britain now. The great things about Tate Modern is that it keep the tourists out of The Tate. Or perhaps it was quiet because the Notting Hill Carnival was taking place. They had a couple of good paintings by Bridget Riley and quiet a bit of Gilbert and George. I remember seeing Gilbert and George in the street when I lived in Hackney. Not a sign of Bridget Riley though.

After The Tate I had a quick walk along the river and noticed some buildings that most people would probably think of as the epitome of 60s awfulness. However, in their settings they looked quite good.

Thames Buildings

Thames Buildings

 

Thames Buildings

Thames Buildings

Elephant Bed

Walking through Brighton on Saturday I noticed that they had an exhibition on in Fabrica, the old church on Duke Street.

Elephant Bed

Elephant Bed

I had a quick wander around and was impressed. The artwork was named Elephant Bed by an American artist named John Grade. The blurb said that it had it’s birth in a fascination with the chalk and shale layer which underpins much of Brighton. This is composed of the fossilised remains of millions of microscopic beasties formed around 200 thousand years ago. His work imitated trumpet shaped marine algae known as coccolithophores.

Also I found a new shop on Trafalgar Street named Bellerophon. Wikipaedia tells us that Bellerophon was a mythological Greek hero and slayer of monsters whose greatest feat was killing the Chimera. Looks like it sells furniture.

And in George Mews there was a little jumble sale underway.

Bellerophon

Bellerophon

Police Bullshit

I just watched a TV advert with a bunch of youngsters driving along in a car. The eyes of the people have been altered to appear large and the voice over says “Drugs have an involuntary effect on the eyes that you can’t control, the police can spot this.” and a police car drives by while the guy with enormous eyes gapes out of the window.

Ignore the ignorance of “an involuntary effect …that you can’t control”.

This is bullshit scare tactics. They are talking about the fact that some drugs cause the pupils to dilate, ie enlarge. Not the whole eye, just the pupil.

The police, or anyone else for that matter, can NOT see if your pupils are dilated through two panes of glass at a distance of several feet. Furthermore it is normal for pupils to dilate in the dark and for other reasons such as eye drops.

Remember the ad run a few months ago telling everyone that if you see something suspicious you should report it and showing two men standing under a street light?

This is yet another example of bullshit scare tactics by the establishment.

The atmosphere of the UK is becoming more and more oppressive as the establishment resort to coercion to solve every problem.

They are TALKING BOLLOCKS!

British government duck responsibility for release of Lockerbie bomber

Isn’t it strange how quiet the British government have gone now that they have released the Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber. Isn’t it odd that the decision was made and recounted to the press by an unknown Scottish bureaucrat. New Labour were born in spin and thanks to Mandelson they will die in spin.

There was a good cartoon in The Independent today.

Independnet Daily Cartoon

Independnet Daily Cartoon

Man buried without brain

brain

abby normal or a blunder?

Since New Labour came to power they have pursued an agenda of increasing the power of the state over the individual. Examples include taking DNA samples of anyone who is arrested (though they may never be charged), plans to track our cars wherever we go and  powers to read our emails. The list continues to expand.

In the debate over civil liberties one frequently hears the statement “if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear”. This is a statement made by people who have a misplaced faith in the establishment. They assume that the establishment will always act according to the spirit and letter of the law and in the best interests of citizens.

This week we heard of another example where the establishment runs roughshod over the rights of the individual. In this can it was the medical establishment who, it seems, are still casually mutilating the bodies of the dead without first obtaining the consent of the relatives. A man’s body is to be disinterred after it was buried without the brain. The brain was removed due to what has been termed a “blunder” by the pathology department of the University Hospital of Wales (UHW), in Cardiff.  The outright arrogance of the medical establishment is demonstrated by the total inadequacy of the “oops sorry!” explanation for the removal of a man’s brain.

The Independent ran the wonderfully macabre headline: “Family horrified by man’s burial without brain

The “if you have nothing to hide..” argument is usually made by conformists. People who accept the status quo. It’s important to remember that when the establishment goes wrong it doesn’t discriminate conformists from rebels. If powers are given to the establishment then they will be abused because the establishment is made up of fallible humanity. The way to protect civil liberties is to tightly restrict the powers that are given to the establishment.

21st Century Schizoid Man

I just emailed a friend who sits at a desk most of the day and said are you there? I wanted to phone and ask for opinions on some photographs I intend to try to have displayed in a gallery. I received an email back listing all the busy things that she was right in the middle of and what did I want?

I started to reply that “I wanted to call and if you have time….”

And then I thought FUCK IT! What is it these days that all I ever do is ask people “if they’re not too busy…”

Now in part this is because of my job. I am an IT auditor and so it is my job to ask questions and yet I realise that the people of whom I’m asking the questions obviously have things to do which from their perspective are more important.

However, when I consider many of my friends, they booked their lives like an aeroplane schedule. Last week I Emailed my friends and gave them two weeks notice that I was going to go out for a birthday drink. Many of them couldn’t make it because they were booked up.

I have a friend who arrives at work in London at about 8am and leaves at about 8pm. When he gets home he has numerous tasks to do related to raising six kids.

Kids are definitely part of the problems though not necessarily so. I have several friends with often I call them up and we chat and then the conversation takes some bizarre turn and I realise that, without a pause, they have started talking to one of the kids.

But it’s not only kids. At work it used to be possible to walk up to someone’s desk and talk to them but more and more people have become so obsessed that they require you to book a meeting for the most trivial things. We are becoming a society which values activity as a end in itself.

My own professional is IT and I recall that twenty years ago my day might consist of numerous activities: Writing code, running cables, checking logs, designing systems and cleaning the machine room.

All these activities have now been specialised and so we employ a group of individuals for all tasks. Once this is done it is possible to begin increasing their efficiency. We are becoming no better than the factory workers of the 19th century. We do not move from our desks. We have no change of task. The clean desk policy and the hot policy ensures that we have no personal relationship with our environment or the people sitting next to us.

Our politicians are obsessed with the idea that our schools and colleges should teach skills. They are no longer places for of learning, they are places for training. There is an important difference. Training is something one passively accepts without question. It is to enable one to be able to repeat a process like an automata. Dogs are trained to “stay”, soldiers are trained to kill. Learning is something that one does actively.

I heard a man on the radio say that Marx believed that capitalism survived because it was adept at producing goods but that this activity would eventually grind to a halt and communism would take over.

It certainly seems true that capitalism is better at innovation and production than communism and I myself had speculated that one day the inventions and efficiencies may grind to a halt. When we all have cars, flat screen TVs, iPods, hairdryers, toasters, sandwich makers and marble topped kitchens.

But it occurs to me that our society is moving into a new phase of production. We are now moving into production of virtualised goods. Music, movies, computers games etc. These are the stuff of leisure. If humanity had no need for work we would naturally make music, and sing songs, perform theatre and play games.

Work to Live

Work to Live

But now capitalism has industrialised our leisure time. It has taken our natural tendency toward leisure and play and forced us to pay for this. It has achieved this by dividing the production and consumption components.
Companies employ us to produce products which the marketing machine convinces are indispensable for leisure. At the same time that we must work to produce these products we must also work to buy the products. And of course a cut goes to the share holders.

I was discussing the undoubted increase in material wealth that has taken place in the UK over the past twenty years and a friend said that while it was true that the middle classes now took second cars for granted the real wealth and power stayed with the super rich the same as it always had.

 

There, I have just had an email back:

“Yes, yes. I started to go through all of your images to identify my favorites. In the middle of this my internet connection went out….. I have about 1/2 hour before I have to pick up my daughter ………..”

Forget Brave New World, forget 1984, what was it that King Crimson sang? “21st Century Schizoid Man”

Kwabana Lindsay

I watched a TV program recently about a Frenchman named Phillipe Petit who walked a tight rope between the two towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. He did this in 1976 and did not tell the authorities he was going to do it. He just snuck up there and ran the tight rope over and did it.


A fantastic achievement and, one has to say, a far greater achievement than destroying the two towers.
However, part of me has to say that I’ve thought about this tight rope lark before and it seems to me that if you carry a horizontal pole that is long and droopy enough then your centre of gravity would lower to beneath the tight rope. Add to this that by raising either end one could counteract any tendency for one’s body to tip sideways.
I guess that’s only part of the story though.
One great thing about living in Brighton is that there is always something happening. Meandering around the town centre on Sunday I came across a guy named Kwabana Lindsay playing violin on a tight rope. OK the rope was not as high as the World Trade Centre but then he carried no pole.

Kwabana Lindsay

Kwabana Lindsay

Driftwood

Theer’s was an interesting sculpture in Bedford Square in London recently named Driftwood by a student team comprising Danecia Sibingo, Lyn Hayek, Yoojin Kim, Taeyoung Lee, Suram Choi, Kyungtae Jung, Jerome Tsui, Feras El Attar, Rama Nshiewat, Camille Steyaert, Hisashi Kato and Ryan Phanphensophon.

Driftwood

Driftwood

Perseid meteor shower

On Tuesday the 11th August the BBC told me that the Persus meteor shower was occurring so about 10pm I nipped up toe Devils Dyke to get a better view. In my ignorance I had expected that I would be alone up there but I joined a train of cars trailing there way up the downs.

At the top there were plenty of people, fires were alight and bar-b-ques on the go. Some had tents and others just had camp beds under the starts. The sky was clear and we had a good view.

I hung around for about 45 minutes expecting to see a vague streak high up in the sky but when it came it was astonishing. A really bright and large fireball that seemed to whiz across the trees. Then later another. I’d taken a camera but had forgotten the adapter for my tripod and so my photography was limited.

I lay the camera on the ground and got this photo which appears to show a shooting star that I hadn’t noticed at the time.

I also got a fairly spooky looking photo of the moon and the grass.

Perseus

Perseus

Moon Over Devils Dyke

Moon Over Devils Dyke