245 Photos - Oct 12, 2011
Photo: And here's that jacket I bought back on Monday. I suppose it's silly to devote so much attention to a bit of clothing, but to me it's more or less equivalent to going on a trip and coming home with a working lightsaber or TARDIS. Happy sigh!Photo: Part of a giant sextant used in the Royal Observatory's past.Photo: And finally the (other) tourists cleared out long enough for me to get a shot of this sculpture that sits on the Prime Meridian line. It's been raining, hence the wet glisten.Photo: The Millenium Dome, again. Time for some Mad Science to happen with that thing.Photo: The Millenium Dome and London, seen from the grounds of the Royal Observatory.Photo: Edmond Halley's family tombstone.Photo: "You Are Here."Photo: Behold his feet, as his mighty thighs bestride the Prime Meridian!Photo: The Dolphin Sundial at Greenwich. This is just an awesome bit of kit, this is.Photo: The Altazimuth Pavilition at the Royal Observatory.Photo: A very nice building on the Royal Observatory grounds. Love the ship up top.Photo: I'm deeply ashamed to say I can't remember this guy's name at the moment. I think he was involved in solving the longitude problem...Harrison maybe? Did I mention I was on drugs?Photo: The Millenium Dome. It looks like the electrode-sprouting skullcap a mad scientist would use to finish off a brain transplant operation.Photo: Tourists at the Royal Observatory, being illuminated.Photo: From partway up the hill to the Observatory. The Queen's House in the foreground, with the Old Royal Naval College just behind, and London in the distance.Photo: A magnified shot of the Royal Observatory. The digital artifacts give it an almost impressionistic feel...or maybe it's just a really bad photograph.Photo: The Royal Observatory (and the Prime Meridian!) seen in the distance. I had gotten a little bit lost at this point in Greenwich; I had wandered from the wrong side of town to the Royal Naval College, struggled to find a way out, made it to the Queen's House; and suddenly I turned a corner, and there it was. A shining monument on a hilltop of perfect green.Photo: A statue. I forget who it is. By this point in the trip I'm exhausted, sick, light-headed, running on decongestents and adrenaline.Photo: The Old Royal Naval College. Truly a fabulous-looking campus.Photo: The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. It's being hosed down for some reason.Photo: Another shot of the friendly, unthreatenining Methodist Central Hall.Photo: According to the web site, this design was the winner in an anonymous competition. The goal was to make something non-intimidating and welcoming to the unchurched. The anonymous competition strategy makes sense, because when I look at it all I can imagine is that some poor man had a nervous breakdown trying to compete with Westminster Abbey.Photo: The houses of Parliament, seen from within Westminster Abbey.Photo: Westminster Abbey, seen from a lovely little garden found deep within Westminster Abbey.Photo: Another shot of that big-ass tower attached to the Houses of Parliament.Photo: What a lovely garden in the Abbey.Photo: Buttresses! You should see lovely rain...an English rain...in this picture, but my phone's camera isn't good enough to catch it.Photo: Buttresses! I just don't seem to get tired of these.Photo: The Thames, from a train.Photo: Battersea Power Station. Now all it needs is an inflatable pig with a giant dong.Photo: Down House.Photo: Even though Down House was closed, I had great fun because I met an older couple, from Turkey, who'd come for the same reason I had, to pay respects and bask in the reflected glory of an intellectual hero. We couldn't tour the house, so we went down to the pub and had a pint while waiting for the next bus instead.Photo: Down House.Photo: Just my luck, Down House was closed today. I should have triple-checked the web site before I got on the train. :-(Photo: The road to Down House, home of Charles Darwin.Photo: Downtown Bromley.Photo: Wested Leather Co., originator and home of the jackets used by Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. The Platonic Form of leather jackets, if you will. (And now I haz one.)Photo: One of those hedgerows just this side of a green field.Photo: One of those green fields beyond the hedgerow.Photo: Wested Lane. It's really beautiful. Even with the asphalt and the noise of the A20 in the background, there's something about the hedgerows and the green fields beyond and the chirping of songbirds that feels English in a Platonic sort of way.Photo: A memorial tree on Wested Lane, in Swanley. It reminds of the the memorial crosses we see by the side of the road in the US where people have died in car accidents.Photo: The Jehova's Witness Hall in Swanley. People of England: you can do so much better than this. Trust me.Photo: Walking down the road in Swanley, Kent.Photo: Jenny Holzer's work featured prominently in the exhibit about postmodernism at the Victoria and Albert museum. It seems an appropriate comment on the cultural and lifestyle lust brought out by our trip to London.Photo: Art!Photo: More people.Photo: As exhaustion from the museum-viewing death-march sets in, I become more interested in the people than the art.Photo: A fragment of  "Red" by Boris Mikhalov.Photo: It might be hard to read here, but I found myself nodding along.Photo: Video: Staircase III, by Do Ho Suh. It's a video so you can have the walk-around experience. I like the playfulness of this take on the whole negative space, fore/ground thing.Photo: Photo: I like this. It makes me think of the sea bed throwing up the horns, dude. ("Marine Object" by Eileen Agar)Photo: Photo: The champagne is tax-free! That that is: German socialism"--by John Heartfield. It's also American capitalism.Photo: Photo: "War and Corpses--The Last Hope of the Rich," by John Heartfield.Photo: From the Tate Modern.Photo: From the Tate Modern, a portrait by Diane Arbus. I have days when I feel like this.Photo: Picasso, from the Tate Modern.Photo: From the Tate Modern.Photo: From the Tate ModernPhoto: Art from the Tate Modern. I forget who the artist is, but I remember it was about the guy feeling distant from the women in a brothel he visited. My thought was, maybe the dude should find another context in which to be around women.Video: Protesters in front of St. Paul's Cathedral.Photo: Protesters camped in front of St. Paul's Cathedral. They've got porta-potties, gas generators for electricity...they're very well organized and very peaceful, as far as I can tell.Photo: Sturdy Helpmeet toasts your health with St. Paul's in the background.Photo: An inquisitive goose in St. James's Park.Photo: St. James's Park.Photo: St. James's Park.Photo: St. James's Park's flowering things.Photo: The Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to play an exhibition game at Wembley. For some reason they've set up their promotional event in front of the National Gallery.Photo: George Washington has been waiting a long damned time for a chance to see some REAL football.Photo: The Lord Protector and Head Neck-Chopper In Charge.Photo: Richard the Lion Heart.Photo: Another view of Westminster Abbey.Photo: The Houses of Parliament.Photo: The Houses of Parliament.Photo: Funky postmodern (hypermodern?) Japanese art.Photo: It's better than my photography allows.Photo: Buddha Shaka, which is to say, an attempt to realistically portray the ascetic Sakyamuni in contrast with the typically well-fed symbolic Buddha.Photo: Fudo Myo-o, the unmovable conqueror of personal demons.Photo: Hm,  forgot the name of this guy. Lots of arms, though.Photo: Kannon, a Bodhisattva of compassion.Photo: I love this landscape painting.Photo: A swordsmith's signature.Photo: Sharp, sharp, sharp. Check the ghostly hamon...Photo: Pretty, pretty sword.Photo: From the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. "Are you the god of fertility, or are you just happy to see me?"Photo: Pots from ancient Egypt. They remind me so much of the Navajo pottery on sale in Santa Fe....Photo: More pots. They're beautiful.Photo: How to get ahead in archaeology...Photo: Isn't that cool? That's just cool.Photo: Anubis would love to have that slice of bacon, you know.Photo: Dead dude...in a pot.Photo: The cultural melting pot of Greek-Roman-Egyptian-Jewish-Persian culture.Photo: A dignified-looking gentleman.Photo: A fascinating exhibit at the Petrie about the role of "scientific racism" and eugenics in early Egyptian archaeology.Photo: Eugenics...the conceit that aesthetics denote genetics.Photo: It's a big rock with pictures on it!Photo: Rocks with pictograms.Photo: Nelson's column. "Did you defeat the French navy, or are you just happy to see me?"Photo: The Olympic countdown clock in front of the National Gallery.Photo: Whitehall, or part of it, anyway.Photo: Westminster Abbey: the door to St. Margaret's.Photo: The sundials on Westminster Abbey.Photo: Westminster Abbey, the clock tower.Photo: Oh my God, look at the size of those buttresses!Photo: Arguably the world's best lawn.Photo: A very old abbot.Photo: Call that old? I'm a seriously old abbot, whippersnapper.Photo: Awww, man, I wanted to be the old one.Photo: One of many memorials to important people at W.A.Photo: A WW2 memorial at W.A.Photo: I wonder if "The Old Contemptibles" were anything like "The Battling Bastards of Bataan."Video: Listen carefully to the pretty music from behind the big solid door.Photo: Another dead dude at Westminster Abbey.Photo: Honor the honorable dead.Photo: The memorial for Edmund Halley of "Halley's Comet" fame. That's really cool.Photo: See, there comes a point when you realize that you should stop taking pictures of every damn thing you see.Photo: But I haven't quite reached that point yet.Photo: The lower stone is really very lovely.Photo: See the barbed iron guard rail in front of the collapsible picnic table? That's important. It tells you that the Anglicans don't fuck around when it comes to a pot-luck dinner, that's what.Photo: Oh shit, more English scenery.Photo: Saints on parade.Photo: Because if you're going to be trapped in God's company for eternity, you want a good sinner around to keep you grounded.Photo: The W.A. war memorial column, part 1.Photo: The W.A. war memorial column, part 2.Photo: The W.A. war memorial column, part 3.Photo: The W.A. war memorial column, part 4.Photo: Protesters outside Westminster Abbey.Photo: Westminster Abbey. Is that a war memorial or are you just happy to see me?Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: I love the inscription, which dedicates the Station to the employees who died in the war.Photo: Waterloo Station.Photo: Graffiti, in context.Photo: The Houses of Parliament, again.Photo: Is that Big Ben or is London just happy to see me?Photo: Sturdy Helpmeet enjoys the Eye.Photo: I think that's County Hall.Photo: All it needs is a flying pig with a humongous dong.Photo: Sturdy Helpmeet takes pictures while some dude also takes pictures.Photo: Even the Eye casts a shadow over London.Photo: Is that a giant pickle or are you just happy to see me?Photo: Another view of the Bicy--Eye.Photo: It's...a BOAT.Photo: The Houses of Parliament...and proof my phone has a digital zoom.Photo: It's the Bicycle Tyre...I mean, the Eye!Photo: Olivier brandishes his sword at the National Theatre.Photo: More graffiti.Photo: Mmmm, graffiti. Sturdy Helpmeet says it's state sanctioned grafitti.Photo: The Eye!Photo: A boat! And Parliament.Photo: The Houses of Parliament in the distance.Photo: I'm sorry, I meant "educational institutions" and "houses of rampant thespians."Photo: Nelson Mandela presides over a district of theaters and tourist traps.Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Baker Street station. It's really too adorable for words.Photo: I think in the US we'd have to have an alternate exhibit showing Adam and Eve riding dinosaurs.Photo: I love seeing Darwin get his props.Photo: Cavendish!Photo: Another sword.Photo: A Saxon blade replica using a version of the Damascus technique.Photo: Some of that old-school Viking shit, yeah....Photo: And Sutton I Don't Know's on third.Photo: Sutton What's on second.Photo: Sutton Hoo's on first?Photo: A replica of the Sutton Hoo helmet.Photo: Persian lion gets a piece of ass.Photo: Put this on your boat, and all the Ski-Doos will just fuck right off.Photo: An exquisite crossbow.Photo: The Bard.Photo: Charles I.Photo: Cromwell.Photo: In Russia, dinner plates you!Photo: I wonder how many modern products we can say this about...Photo: Some Jesus stuff, but the carving looks great.Photo: St. George oppresses the differently lizarded.Photo: "It's only a flesh wound, you coward!"Photo: Some Medieval knight mistook his sword for a junior-high textbook and scribbled on it.#Photo: Those weird-ass guitars used by heavy metal bands make a lot more sense now.Photo: A very early guitar-like instrument.Photo: Mad science, old school!Photo: The color on this is amazing. It probably doesn't show in the photo.Photo: More Minerva? I've forgotten. Looks good, though.Photo: Mithras really hates that stupid "Where's the beef?" line.Photo: "Tell me, son, have you ever seen a gladiator movie?"Photo: Don't mess with Minerva.Photo: Hadrian and Antinous. Antinous died, and Hadrian made his lover a god. The rest of us will be lucky to get a decent eulogy.Photo: Hadrian. I overheard a couple of Scottish women proudly talking about Hadrian's wall. "Yeah, the Romans were tough but they didn't like messing with the Scots, now, did they?"Photo: Another Roman woman.Photo: Some Roman women. We have lots of busts of emperors and statesmen, but not many of women.Photo: Another view.Photo: I love these more lifelike portraits.Photo: Hercules seems to really want one of those donut pillow things.Photo: Marcus Aurelius.Photo: Emperor Trajan, I think.Photo: It's hard to know how to interpret something like this, coming from another place and time. The exhibit narrative is anxious to reassure the viewer about the age of the younger man, but to me the interesting question is: should we think of this as a kind of rich man's porn, or should we read a deeper emotional connection into the scene? Or is it a bit from column A and a bit from column B? In heterosexual depictions of this sort, it's often easy to work from a presumption of patriarchal misogyny, but same-sex relations in the ancient world don't necessarily follow the same pattern (though of course they might, in any particular instance...maybe where great differences in class are concerned).Photo: Methinks the lady is skeptical. She walked all the way around it with an expression that said, "I'm not really seeing that, am I? I mean, no. Really?"Photo: I'm tempted to call this the Goblet of Porn.Photo: The freedmen portraits are uncommonly moving.Photo: "With my spear and magic helllll-met!" "Your spear and magic helmet?" "My spear and magic helllll-met!" "(His spear and magic helmet.")Photo: Time to DANCE, boys.Photo: Photo: "Am I going to have to turn this empire around?"Photo: Babylonian border markers? I forget. Groovy rocks, anyway.Photo: BlaxploiBuddha.Photo: Big, big Buddha.Photo: "To be fair, it's kind of cold in here."Photo: Not making this up: a "Crystal Skull." Of course, the exhibit info tells you it's a fake. I wonder how many people read the stuff written on the walls?Photo: Ptolemy I. Half Greek, half Egyptian, all god.Photo: Two Bodhidharmas, one Buddha.Photo: Athena has her game face on.Photo: That fabulous orrery again.Photo: More goodies. Artifacts that belong in a museum, or the plunder of empire? Or both?Photo: Hercules, I think.Photo: Is that...is that Voldemort?Photo: If this were your birdbath, you'd have the cockiest birds on the block.Photo: Zoooooos!Photo: See? Porntastic science tech.Photo: It's basically pre-20th century mad science porn.Photo: The "Enlightenment" exhibit, about the explosion of scientific and academic inquiry..Photo: Sturdy Helpmeet hangs with the cool cats.Photo: Now THIS is a museum.Photo: That little thing you have? That's not a museum.Photo: St. Freddie rocks out. Don't know if I can bring myself to watch the musical, though...sounds like it's an example of the opposite of the message it claims to promote.Photo: Oh Jeezus it's so pretty I could lick it.Photo: See? It's right there. Apparently there's also construction happening at our B&B. Didn't know that was going to be happening. :-/Video: Oh look, somebody parked a classic Aston Martin outside our bed & breakfast.Photo: The, um, sideyard of our B&B.Photo: The backyard of our cute little bed & breakfast (B+B Belgravia).Photo: Oh look, it's Londoners waiting for a train.Photo: Sturdy Helpmeet rides the underground overground.