A useful folly?

I still haven’t made up my mind about the Garden Bridge over the Thames, but this interview with the designer, Thomas Heatherwick, has nudged me towards the “yes” camp:

The Garden Bridge is based on the idea that the best cities are ones with maximum ‘walkability’ and are places where city-dwellers (those lonely students with their Kindles and iPads, for instance) can interact with each other. It’s a highly romantic idea — a folly whose purpose, if there is one, is to encourage purposelessness. Heatherwick envisages daydreams, proposals and writing taking shape on his creation, rather than soliciting or mugging.

Posted in Architecture, London | Tagged , , ,

Ornette Coleman at Ronnie Scott’s

1967. Benny Green was in the audience.

ornette coleman at ronnies

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The planners

How they tried to destroy Bath (my home town) in order to save it.  A “Look at Life” report from 1968.

Posted in Architecture | Tagged , ,

The perfect troll

Yes, the face is all too familiar.

dilbert dick from the internet

[Via Jonah Goldberg]

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“I said I was Jewish in the winter and Indian in the summer.” A child’s view of identity, from Mira Jacob’s photo-essay “37 Difficult Questions From My Mixed-Race Son”.

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Grand Palais, 1916

grand palais 1916 panh

“The Great Nave: Wounded Soldiers Performing Arms Drill at the End of Their Medical Treatment.” [@metmuseum via @RPanh]

Posted in France, History | Tagged ,

The future of journalism?

Are BuzzFeed, Vox and the other digital newcomers really as innovative as we like to think? Michael Massing, continuing his NYRB series on new media, is unconvinced:

When one considers the amount of resources that the sites I’ve mentioned have consumed, the level of attention they’ve received, and the number of people they employ, the results thus far seem dishearteningly modest. That’s especially so when compared with the consistently high-quality material produced by such traditional institutions as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian. These organizations are commonly referred to as “legacy” institutions—a gently derisive term that lumps them in with Blockbuster and Radio Shack as enterprises that, once thriving, were undermined by more innovative startups. When it comes to actual journalistic practice, however, it’s the media startups that in general seem the laggards.

Posted in Journalism, Media | Tagged , , ,


That year [1968], at the Reading Festival,  Arthur Brown was lowered onto the stage from a helicopter with his hair aflame. He’d just released a record on Track called “Fire” and this was a Kit Lambert publicity stunt. But Arthur jumped around too much and set the stage on fire. The gig was cancelled and there was no music, but the press coverage was good and the record got to No. 1…

Pink Floyd publicised themselves by announcing a psychedelic light show. Their manager at the time, Peter Jenner, explained how he made them some stage lights, which in those days was a completely new concept. “The group developed some polaroid effects, putting a polariser and analyser in the projector and stretching condoms across it, which gave good effects because they were very high quality latex.” One evening Pink Floyd’s van was stopped for a minor traffic offence. When the policeman peered inside he saw a young man cutting the tops off a pile of condoms.  “That’s our roadie,” group told him, “he’s crazy.”

Simon Napier-Bell, “Black Vinyl, White Powder”.

Posted in Music, Notebook | Tagged , , , ,

“Play it! Play it!”

Coming to the UK in the next few days: Bhi Bhiman. I love his Whiplash parody:

HT @RhiannonGiddens

Posted in Uncategorized

Everything has its price

In the week that FIFA finally seems on the verge of imploding, the FA announces the imminent arrival of “The Emirates FA Cup”.  Sigh.

Posted in Sport, Uncategorized | Tagged ,