Sunday, July 19, 2009

Plinths, Problems and Pleut

Hello everyone. I'm sorry that my blog has been ignored for so long; these past few weeks have seen the longest break I've ever had. There are excellent reasons for this, none of which I'll bore you with, but they mostly revolve around balancing work, home life and writing the new book.

On the subject of the new book, I'm getting rather excited about it. As regular readers know, I've spent a number of years working in a pioneering wing of the Met Police in London called the Problem Solving Unit. The name isn't strictly accurate as it's a very rare instance indeed when you can completely eliminate a problem. Our job mostly consists of reducing the impact of a problem on people's lives, and the problems we get called in to look at don't respond to normal policing methods. Over the years, we've come up with some pretty creative ideas (some of which have made the national press) and I'd like to think that we've made a difference. Along the way, I've met some extraordinary thinkers - both inside and outside the police - who have taught me some amazing skilsl and techniques. My new book is an attempt to capture all of that in a readable, easy to follow form that teaches the reader how to apply what I do to their own lives. As I say, it's all quite exciting. Now all I have to do is sell the bugger ... Meanwhile, my editor at Pan Macmillan is hard at work on getting Joined Up Thinking ready for its paperback release on September 18th.

So what else has been happening? Well, I applied to get an hour slot on Anthony Gormley's installation, One and Other. If you've not heard about this, Gormley is a British sculptor, most famous for his 'Angel of the North' and he was asked to create a piece for Trafalgar Square's empty fourth plinth. Over the past few years all kinds of sculpture have been featured there including Marc Quinn's wonderful sculpture of a pregnant Alison Lapper. Gormley, however, decided on a different tack. What's he's done is offer up his 100 days on the plinth to the British public. Which means that 2400 people, selected by a draw and representing a cross-section of the UK population will all get one hour on a very public platform. It's been wonderful to watch the eccentricity, passion and plain silliness going on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The One and Other website has a live video stream and I find myself popping back time and time again for a quick voyeuristic peek. There's nowt so queer as folk and the plinth has been much more interesting than any reality TV show. We've had people dressed as cows, turds, Britannia, Elvis ... we've had dancers and painters and paper plane makers. And when I walked past during the week, we had a posh girl who seemed to spending her hour chatting to her mates on her mobile. As I say, it is representative of the population and she was obviously representative of the chattering classes. As I type this, there's a lady in a white safari suit and sporting a pair of home-made angel wings, chatting to her friends on her phone over the tintinnabulation of nearby St Martin in the Fields.

The weather has been extraordinary too. We've had glorious sunshine of a kind we've not seen in many years and we've had huge, fantastic thunderstorms and, on a couple of occasions, torrential rain. One day in particular, the rain fell so hard that they had to close part of the London Underground network, Paddington Station was shut and the roof of Marylebone Station cracked. I was passing through Marylebone when it happened and managed to snap this shot of the indoor waterfall. Amazingly, despite the volume of water falling and the tremendous noise it generated hitting the hard stone floor, some people still managed to walk straight into it. Seconds after I took this, the chap in blue was soaked to the skin. If ever there was a reason to turn your i-pod volume down ...

Talking of the Tube, I took this photo (below) a couple of weeks ago at Lambeth North. It's so unusual to ever be the only person on a London Underground platform that I had to capture the moment. It felt a bit creepy if I'm honest and I had flashbacks to that scene in An American Werewolf in London. The commitments that have kept me away from my blog include a large number of public speaking engagements and many of them were in 'the dungeon'; an airless, lightless lecture room at the Met Police Forensic Labs in Lambeth.

Yep, that's me doing my stuff. and apparently describing the optimum size for a butternut squash. The next photo is also an unusual sight. I wonder how many people have ever seen this view of the London Eye? It's all held up by cables and here's the tether point on the South Bank. It was such an unusual and geometrically pleasing view that I took this shot.

I promise that I'll be doing a lot more blogging now that I've broken the back of the book. Thanks for popping by and bearing with me. x

And not a mention of Michael Jackson either.

1 comment:

Linda S. Socha said...

Great post and fun reading as always ( not that it must always be fun) Thanks!

Congratulations of your September book event!