Saturday, February 17, 2007

Something Old, Something New ... something that might be finished one day. Maybe.

I went to Fountain Studios in Wembley last night to watch an episode of the new series of BBC1 game show School's Out being recorded. Danny (Yes Man) Wallace was on form as quizmaster and the guests - Dom Wood, Tina Hobley and Graham Norton were good fun. Norton in particular was hilarious both on and off camera. But it was the new Wembley Stadium that most impressed me. It towers over the area and looks amazing. I know it's been delayed and has gone monstrously over budget (and still isn't finished), but it is a fantastic piece of architecture and the 'village' around it, including the tube train and mainline stations look equally spanky too.

I took the night time photo at around 9pm from the westbound platform of Wembley Stadium station. And when I got home, I realised that I had a photo taken from almost the exact same spot in 2001. How things have changed, eh? You can see just how much smaller the old twin towers stadium was (it barely shows above the now vanished trees). You can also see that they've demolished the old concrete bridge and replaced it with a sexy new stainless steel job with sinuous curves that mirror the stadium arch.

People moan about modern architecture but examples like the stadium and the City of London Gherkin and the proposed Shard of Glass do go to prove that a new thing is not necessarily a bad thing.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Snow Job

In an effort to beat my mate Joel in the race for the world's most gut-churningly bad (and vaguely rudest) pun, here are some shots of the snow here in Buckinghamshire. The first is the view from a Chiltern Lines train travelling between London and Wycombe. It's a hill just outside Beaconsfield and you can see the trails made by happy schoolkids who've ditched the hoodies and knives for sledges, toboggans and anything that will slide down a snow-covered slope.

The second photo is the view from where I live across the Hughenden Valley. You can just make out the memorial to Benjamin Disraeli showing pale against the trees at top left.

The final shot is my cul-de-sac with wife Dawn's bugglegum pink SMART Car half buried.

Of course, the TV and newspapers have been full of stinging accusations ...
"Why weren't the railways ready for this?!"
"Why do we cope so badly when it snows?"
"How come other snowier countries can cope?"
Well, that's the point isn't it? We're not a snowy country. This is the heaviest snowfall we've had in ten years and most Canadians or Scandinavians would laugh at how pitiful it is. I think people would moan a damned sight more if local authorities and train companies spent thousands of pounds every year (undoubtedly leading to higher local taxes and ticket prices) stockpiling expensive machinery and salt and grit on the off-chance there's an abnormally heavy fall of snow. And besides, does it really do the country any harm to let the kids have one extraordinary day off where they can forget peer pressure, teaching targets, brand name jealousy, gang allegiance, computer games, comparing MP3 players and mobile phones ... and actually enjoy being kids?

Sod 'hug a hoodie'. Grab the kids and build a snowman.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I've taken steps to kill the Spammers ...

I've got so pissed off with the spammers filling my blog comments with their spurious, inane shite that I've just migrated to the new-style blogger run by Google. So, from now on, I can refuse to let them post. Ha! Ha! Take that bloody Vikings and your spam, spam, spam. Meanwhile I've deleted most of it (some posts had up to 20 spam comments). I've left a few ... just to give you an idea of the kinds of toss they sent me.

The ground is thick with snow here in High Wycombe. A far cry from yesterday when I was on the west coast of Scotland near West Kilbride. Ok ... it was a bit nippy, but the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the views across the water to the Isle of Arran took your breath away.