Thursday, July 14, 2005

Polo, the mint with a holeThere must be an airshow. Helicopters this time.

Whilst trying to think of possible locations, I found the following headline: TV presenter opens shop.

Anyone else thinking Linda Barker and possibly DFS? Or more likely; Mark Curry and a Lego franchise.

Wrong. The star [the paper's words] was Andy Collins (I've no idea either). As if aware of that some of the readers might be a little slow to remember him, the paper prompts readers' memories with this description: who famously filled in for Les Dennis on Family Fortunes.

You know I obviously ought to get out more (or stay in more).

But better still, the famous filler-in also joined forces with Arsenal Football Club’s chef for a charity auction. If ever two men were going to share a stage whilst wondering who the other one is... (I assume the chef is male, but he's called Robin, so it's a case of not necessarily).

Via this BBC article on the future of cities I found the Squattercity blog (DEWISOTT), which has some interesting stories gleaned from elsewhere.

Which reminds me that I haven't been to City Comforts in a while, although last time I was bewildered by endless bickering over Kelo (which I think was some precedent setting legal judgement expanding the realm of compulsory purchase, but there are probably better sources than me out there).

But in an effort not to get sidetracked what struck me about the BBC's piece was the mention that China have hired one architect (and his firm presumably) to design 7 new cities. Part of me is stunned by the notion, part of me is in awe (and a wee bit jealous) and a significant part of me has a strong sense of foreboding. I've seen Le Harve and after that one-architect towns don't seem like such a good idea. I've also seen what some other architects have proposed for various places in China, where it seems the imagine that anything goes. Not that I'm referring to some of Herzog and de Meuron's models currently right down the far end of the exhibition at Tate Modern. The broken air bricks to provide "texture" (which also doubles as a grater) were particularly inspiring, as was the building designed by haphazardly stacking blocks which represent the space needed for various types of room (a case of form dictating function and probably blocking it).

Am I being remarkably thick, or don't H&deM have a website? And I'm now trying to fathom the intriguing notion of an H&M designed town.

Anyway, one comment which disturbed me was about the creation of parks to allow pedestrians to avoid ever having to cross traffic. Which to me suggests the architect (McDonough - the green roof on Chicago's city hall) intends the parks themselves to cross over the traffic. I'm just wondering about where exactly people transfer from being part of the traffic to being pedestrians. McDonough seems to think it's a case of never-the-twain-shall-meet, except one is the other; they change states. But if one tries to separate one state from the other, where does the change between them occur? On some dark abandoned underpass where the only other humans are in the cars doing 50, and so can hardly be counted as real actual people. Can anyone see crime being built in? Or is the only parking available in underground and multistorey carparks? In which case I hope the city is dense enough to render cars unnecessary for the actions of a reasonable life (and if that is the case, why bother providing parking spaces at all?).

Admittedly, I haven't verified the architect's claims on his website (as I can't find them).

While searching out the none existent site, I rediscovered the City of Sound blog, who has been reading the same bits of the Economist as I have (I do wish whoever it was wouldn't leave their copy about so I suddenly find I've lost half an hour, but know all about the ailing state of the pharmaceutical industry. It's like New Scientist; how do the people who ought to know about its contents get time to read it?), and been annoyed by the same missing clause.

I originally got to CoS through his photographs of the H&deM Allianz Arena in Munich (yes I'm struggling to avoid putting something really nasty about Allianz Cornhill in here, but I as I'm not supposed to know... Basically, er, I really can't say anything without causing or getting in trouble. Moving swiftly on...). Did you know that the University of Texas's tower has a different outfit for every occasion?

Ooh, excuse me for a mo, I've just found that CoS covered something my brother did.

In other news, literally for once, one of the odd side-effects of doing a photography course is that one starts paying more attention to any type of photography (and possibly the photographic potential of life, but that's for another time). Take the main photographs on the frontpages of newspapers (which tend to be less adulterated than those on the covers of magazines). I've begun to look at the photography more than the image, if that makes sense. I try to work out various aspects of it, or how I might have done it better (I'm allowed to do this because it's purely theoretical, and I'm unlikely to find myself trying to get my photographs of any newspaper). Or simply think "that's a me shot" when looking at something which I would take if I saw it (today's Telegraph cover photo - the crescent moon on top of a mosque's dome in amongst a line of Victorian chimney pots. The chimneys alone where quite interesting for their variations from the original standard. Frustratingly the only attribution seemed to PA. But thanks to the power of the internet [once I'd got past Pennsylvania and Public Address] I've found a small copy on the PA's images website).

New word for the day: iatrogenic [near the bottom of the linked entry, but read it all].


PS. [Showing my podcasting; that's sowing peas isn't it? roots] How does this whole trackback malarkey work? I know I ought to know, but have never really bothered, largely because I was always waiting until I wrote something good before trying to make people aware of it (and nothing is ever good enough).

PPS. My neighbour must be having a really relaxing time of it. Yet again my room smells of what my mother always used to think was incense (because she knew people burned incense at the parties in her youth and that's what the parties all smelt of. There's a certain logic to it, I suppose). It's like being back in the third year, when the flat below was virtually entirely Chinese and perpetually under the influence (I'm not sure if the two correlate). Yay for getting stoned by proxy. Anyway, I'm going now because I've suddenly got hungry.

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