september seems like the end of summer, but started with some of the best weather we've had this year, so i felt like a bike ride. i'm still waiting for the bridle path from staines to west drayton to open, so it started with the normal dusty trek up past the edge of the airport. a skeletal t5 (or are they building t6 or t7 as well looms immense and threatening over the surrounding countryside, but there are no decent views past the fences and screening trees. i push on up to harefield at speed before descending to the canal, only to find that i've picked the one bit of towpath that is actually closed for repair work.
so i take some other footpaths, and don't so much get lost as overcome
with uncertainty as one of these disappears in the middle of a gravel site.
i give up and take to the main road, soon to discover it's a mistake. eventually
i get back to the canal and cycle back along the towpath all the way to
west drayton to curse again the barred bridle path and the busy traffic
and bicycle hostile road engineering - now in the rush hour - past the airport.
After the initial militiary victory in iraq, the american government were determined that their friends would profit from the situation. lucrative contracts went largely to us companies that just happened to have friends and beneficiaries in the top level in the usa. capitalism is always a winner from wars, with arms suppliers laughing all the way to the bank, but this extended the gravy train rather more widely and rather too obviously. bush's cronies sell the arms that knock the infrastructure to pieces, then get high margin contracts to rebuild.
the iraq war fat cat tour of london aimed to visit some key sites to point out the profiteering from the occupation of iraq. it started at the shell centre (westen oil companies look set to make $2.5 trillion from iraqi oil over the next 50 years), then made its way across the new hungerford bridge to the cavell statue at the north east of trafalgar square (where i left it) and continuing to some other key sites.
there was singing from the strawberry theives socialist choir (the name
a reference to a william morris wallpaper design), who thoughtfully provided
the words for the internationale in case any of us had momentarily forgotten
them, (arise! ye starvelings from your slumbers, arise! ye criminals of
want... )samba playing from rhythms of resistance, and a couple of street
the tour of britain has so far lacked the public interest of the tour de
france, but a last day involving a road race around a mile course through
whitehall shoud have given it a boost. i only stayed for the warm-up event
with club cyclists competing on the same course. the crowding and the pace
made for some excitement, but for an outsider i think there needed to be
some way to make individuals more recognisable in the crowd.
up at the angel, it was the 19th annual canal festival, with singers and
other performers, boat trips, decorated boats and various stalls along the
towpath. it really did seem to be a very pleasant event for a sunny summer
sunday with everyone enjoying themselves. up on the street people were sitting
around the pub and being entertained, first by a three piece band, apparently
of cockney persuasion with a little dixie thrown in, then by some morris
the attraction that dragged me away was the promise of belly-dancing in walthamstow. walthamstow has of course a william morris connection (and an occasionally open museum) but there were no discernable signs of this. the first event that drew my interest was however a women's morris performing in the high street.
belly-dancing is one of those things i always wonder if there is more too
it than the obvious attraction. and i was obviously attracted, though it's
hard to think of any way to photograph it other than the obvious. the display
involved two solo performers of very different frame. if you don't have
much to wobble, the movements can be much more controlled, but to this male
eye are considerable less provocative.
i've never photographed a flower show before, and went to one in the city
largely because i've never been inside the guildhall before, although it
is some years since its rebuilding after the blitz was completed (fortunately
the bombs and fire largely destroyed the later additions and reconstructions
and left most of t the medieval parts. i went with paul baldesare, who has
made flower shows his more or less as garry winogrand annexed the fort worth
livestock show, but i didn't feel it was my kind of thing. Very little hands-on.
it was a nice afternoon, so i jumped up from lunch put the brompton on
the train to richmond and then pottered around kew, ending up going through
north sheen to richmond park and back to richmond
in the past few years we have seen a number of new foot bridges around
london. the redevelopment of paddington basin has afforded the opportunity
for a few more. visually it seems one of the more interesting of new areas
in london, and its location certainly helps. as a part of the redevelopment
of the area the old bridge over the great western mainline is currently
suspended in mid-air while a replacment is built.
the great river race is a recent annual addition to river activities, and it seems to have become very popular with many entries from distant parts of the country and abroad. most of those taking part in this handicap race seem to regard it as a fun event, although the distance from ham where i photographed the start to greenwich, even with the tide, makes it quite a feat.
the main interest is really in the many different types of boat taking
part, from ancient designs with a skin stretched over a frame and unshaped
oars to whaling boats, fishing boats and various modern designs for speed,
including paddle-powered dragon boats. i don't think the pedalos were officially
in the race, but i could well be wrong.
the following day i started out at east finchley donkey derby. i can't remember having seen one before, but have no desire to see another.
lady somerset road in kentish town was having a street party, along with
residents from a couple of adjoining roads. it all looked rather a nice
event, with kids having fun, setting up stalls to sell stuff for charity
or for themselves, childrens games, music, and, most importantly, a fairly
tasty-looking cheap lunch at the tables along the middle of the street.
the idea was for people to get to know each other, and it seems a very good
idea. perhaps every street should be closed to traffic for a party for at
least a few days each year.
the brick lane festival seemed less exciting, although again the main event
was eating at the many curry houses in the street. the only really interest
for me was in the capoeira performance by ginga de quilombo
thames day is one of ken's events that hasn't quite gelled yet, although
there were a few events and performances along the riverside it was perhaps
too strung out and lacking a real focus. of course i did go home before
the main events, as well as taking a break in the afternoon to walk around
bermondsey with members of london arts cafe. the main focus of the walk
were the former locations of many artist's studios in the days prior to
redevelopment when the area was full of largely empty warehouses providing
cheap studio space which allowed young british artists to work on a large
horseman's sunday is now an annual event, though this was the first time
i've attended. i never knew the hyde park pony club had so many members.
fortunately the rite was anglican, so everyone left the singing to the choir,
avoiding scaring the horses.
around the corner, a small group was remembering one of the heroes of the
second world war, swedish diplomat raoul wallenberg, who saved perhaps a
hundred thousand jews from the nazi holocaust in budapest, himself dying
in a russian jail. there are monuments to him around the world including
this one near marble arch.
in dalston, i found that the hackney mare de gras procession had been put off because of a murder in mare st
meanwhile, down in shoreditch a festival and car-free day was getting underway,
with the london school of samba dancing through the streets and other events
including the secretsundaze sound system.
leytonstone was also enjoying a car-free day, and one of the highlights
there was the rinky dink cycle-powered sound system, bringing back memories
of april's march to aldermaston, where this accompanied us on the last few
monday i had to come up to london for a meeting, and took the opportunity
to photograph a few buildings. also i've straightened out most of the nikon
lens distortion on one of these. i don't think too highly of nikon wide-angles,
not a patch on the zuiko or leitz lenses in this respect, nor up with sigma
or voigtlander/cosina either.
saturday was surbiton, an oddly isolated suburb of kingston, which has
a festival with a grand parade and a little old-fashioned community spirit
that i admire. pity about the rain though. the surrey starlets were impressive,
despite coming from chessington.
brighton isn't quite london, though it is london by the sea. we were there
on sunday to make sure the labour government knew we were serious about
trade justice. we wanted to get across the message that 'fair trade' isn't
fair when richer countries have all the advantages that wealth and position
gives in any bargaining position. the world needs trade justice.
some of my work gets put into nice organised websites.
this isn't meant to be like that, but you can see some of the rest at
and you can read what I think about photography at