European Election Day

4 June 2009

This morning I left home and went to work via my local polling station
in order to vote in the European elections. There are no local elections
this year. I hadn’t had a single European focused leaflet through the
door from any of the main parties. The Lib Dems sent something but it
was only focused on them cutting council tax: perhaps they forgot that
it’s European and not local elections here.

I did get leaflets from the greens, christians, socialists, christians
and an independent. The first leaflet I got, however, was from the BNP.
Now I cannot go into the detail of who I voted for, or why, but I did
change the habit of my voting life.

Of course people have rather varied feelings about the European
parliament, but one thing is clear: there are things we need to work
together on. We live in a globalised world with global problems and
often tense relationships, we cannot always stand alone. Tomorrow, it
seems to have been forgotten in the UK, is World Environment Day:
there’s a great example of where we need to work together and, if we are
to get anywhere in tackling climate change, it perhaps cannot always be
by voluntary global discourse. And, we shouldn’t forget, it is only 60
years ago that the second world war started in Europe. As my old German
friend’s father used to say, if we’re talking at least we’re not
fighting.

Importantly, I did vote, and urge everyone who can to do so, regardless
of who for. Apathy is, although arguably more understandable than normal
right now, one of the biggest risks to democracy. Even if you cannot
stand to vote for anyone it’s better to go to the polling station and
spoil your paper to register disapproval over apathy.

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The things you see…

26 May 2009

I decided it was time to post some of the random photos I have taken out and about on my mobile phone. These are all from London over the last year.

Sunset from Hungerford Bridge

Sunset from Hungerford Bridge

Dinner on Southwark Bridge

Dinner on Southwark Bridge

"Fake Club"

Fake Club

Giraffe on wheels, St Pancras/Camden Town

Giraffe on wheels, St Pancras/Camden Town

Police art

Police art

"Underground" car park?

Underground car park?

Religious followers

Religious followers

Rooftop religion in King's Cross

Rooftop religion in King's Cross

"Wait here, I have gone to get help" in neon

Wait here, I have gone to get help in neon


Recovering Doric

19 May 2009

Living fairly close to Euston station, and having known it for the last few decades as my gateway to London from my home in the midlands, it’s history fascinates me. The unlovely functionalist 1960s station is practical and large, it serves its function well, but it’s not got the romance, history or stories of other London stations. The Times art columnist said

“It gives the impression of having been scribbled on the back of a soiled paper bag by a thuggish android with a grudge against humanity and a vampiric loathing of sunlight. And the fact that it replaced a much-loved old station, wiping out the Classical portico of the Euston Arch, only compounds its offensiveness.”

Which is why I was fascinated to read that the Doric arch, or what remains of it (or most of it that didn’t end up forming a rockery in the back garden of the guy that demolished it), is being recovered from it’s subsequent resting place, thanks to the London Olympics.

Developing Prescott Lock to enable construction materials to be transported to and from the Olympic site in a more sustainable way than dirty road lorries has meant that the remains of the arch, which since 1962 have been basically blocking a hole in the tidal riverbed, are finally being recovered. More on the story here, here and here.

Although I am a town planner, I don’t have a strong conservationist streak. But the story of Euston, and the threatened near-by St Pancras, make you realise what a sense of pride and sense of place architectural history can give you. After one of the most shocking pieces of architectural vandalism it’s now hoped that the arch can be reconstructed, not in it’s original place (somewhere near Platform 8, apparently) but perhaps in the redevelopment of Euston station (possibly looking like the image below), or elsewhere. Even if you cannot stop progress, meeting the needs of future generations, and the ability to integrate architectural history into developing places, is an important challenge we need to grasp.


Bull! Lies!

13 May 2009

The last week hasn’t been a good one for British politicians. The expense scandal, whether claiming for bath plugs and feather dusters, second homes, moat clearing, swimming pools or porn, the Daily Telegraph has been ‘exposing’ the lies and bullsh*t of politicians claiming expenses within, or beyond, creating plenty of public anger.

Not a good week for politicians, especially when the European and local elections are coming up in June. Norman Tebbit even advised the public to protest by not voting for the big parties in the European elections.

Which is why I was interested to see the juxtaposition of a poster saying “make sure nothing stops you voting” with two posters for a mobile phone company in Camden Town station pronouncing simply BULL and LIES.

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Of course, one of the biggest risks of the expenses story is disillusionment with politicians in general, politicians of all parties, and voter apathy caused by lies and bull. But voting is an essential way of exercising you democratic right – so maybe we shouldn’t let lies, bull, or anything else, stop us doing so on Thursday 4 June.


Moving

26 March 2009

I hate packing. I hate packing for holidays – I can never decide what to take. I especially hate packing to move home – which is what I am doing right now (well, when I get some more boxes it will be). And moving house will mean lack of internet, for a short while, until I manage to get the new place hooked up. But, hey, I’m moving to a much better flat 🙂 The big haul starts tomorrow.


Saturday Afternoon, South Camden (PhotoBlog)

21 February 2009

After the fun and enjoyment of a Shoreditchy night out at Kill Your Pets and Trailertrash I needed a more relaxed Saturday. This involved wandering around the southern end of Camden Town, mostly, after a strong coffee at the Market (so strong the spoon stood up in it: see the picture).

Strong Coffee
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Chester Terrace. I like the attention to detail – there’s a full stop after the word Terrace
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At Regent’s Park Estate
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Different architectural styles at the Regent’s Park Estate
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New housing development on the edge of Regent’s Park Estate
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London Snow Blog: My Snowday in Pictures

2 February 2009

Well, I say snow day – I actually went to work. So did the people at the Guardian (apparently) who have brought us SNOW BLOG LIVE (really) all day long… including useful advice, such as how to walk in snow (like a penguin in case you wondered)

Here’s my day in photos, more here:

Camden Town, morning, 2nd Feb

Millbank, Pimlico and Westminster in the distance

Green Park

Camden and St Pancras, afternoon


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