diamond geezer

 Sunday, January 16, 2022

I took over 20,000 photos last year and did nothing with most of them, which seems a waste. So here are 1% of the photos I've taken so far this year in an attempt to be more productive with my unseen archive, along with some commentary and bonus links. Think of it as the 2020s version of boring you with my holiday snaps.

This is Beckton Park, as pictured on one of those sharp, crisp, blue-skied days midweek. I was particularly taken by the curl of mist lingering along one side of the park (as if billowed by a film crew attempting to make the area even more unsettling than it already is) and by the light frosty sprinkle across the adjacent football pitches. But the shot only 'worked' when I stopped beside the curved tracks left by a groundsman's vehicle, and that's the moment I decided I ought to be sharing photographs more often rather than storing them in obsolescence on a hard drive. You can see three others from that walk on Twitter, a couple on Flickr, and two dozen more if you break into my flat and guess my password.

This is the security perimeter that workers are busy installing outside our new City Hall in the Royal Docks. One does not simply relocate London's local government to a fragile glass building without first recognising the risks from drivers with malicious intent, hence the erection of this ring of jagged metal teeth [bonus photo]. It's just one of many signs that the refurbishment of the building is way behind schedule, given the original intention was to move in during the first week of December and later delayed to the first week of January. And yet an army of hi-vis minions continues to mill around the exterior lugging planks, manhandling scaffolding and dumping skipfuls of aggregate on the main approach, where further concrete blocks await as an obstructive deterrent [bonus photo]. I'd be surprised if Sadiq gets his feet under the table before next month, if he's lucky.

This is a rebranded cycle lane on the approach to Deptford Creek. It used to be Quietway 1 when that was introduced in 2016 but was renumbered Cycleway 10 last year in an attempt to bear down on over-complex nomenclature. Note how they've only repainted the text and not the symbols or arrows which are now getting rather faint. But cross the river and the Q remains visible because nothing's been repainted here, indeed it looks like the lettering says Q2 rather than Q1 and it's never been called that [bonus photo]. The discrepancy might be because one side of the bridge is in Lewisham and the other's in Greenwich and the latter are more lax with their signage responsibilities, or it might just be that London's cycle route network designations remain a poorly-thought-through over-complex half-baked ill-signed mess.

This is another cycle lane, this time on Burdett Road in Mile End. It's part of the proposed Hackney to Isle of Dogs Cycleway which was consulted on in 2019 but has never been built, so this line of posts is an interim measure to give cyclists some protection. Unfortunately they also mean buses can no longer get close to the kerb so this bus stop has been closed, and has been for months, forcing passengers to board or alight elsewhere. It's not an especially long walk but it's hardly a boon to travel. I see from the (deleted) consultation that this bus stop was pencilled in for permanent removal "owing to road and pavement constraints", along with two others along Burdett Road, so it seems to have been killed off early. Even on a broad road, the practicalities of introducing properly-safe cycle infrastructure sometimes require bus passengers to make a significant sacrifice.

This is Borough Yards, the retail/commercial/social hub that's being squeezed under the Cannon Street viaduct where Vinopolis used to be. I ripped the piss out of its sloganeering hype last year, you may remember. This month it's been partly opened up allowing access beneath the arches, so I popped into Soap Yard in the expectation of being wowed by "a vibrant new London destination". Thus far alas it's just a piazza with a boutique cinema and some faux-heritage brickwork, plus a bank of neon tubes that light up a parade of unhyphenated professions [bonus photo]. The only beguiling quirk comes from cartoon bodies drawn beneath face-like metal supports [bonus photo], but this place won't truly come alive until the arcades beneath the railway are unlocked in an attempt to flog you stuff [bonus photo]. Best come back later.

This is what the B120 looks like. I intend to subject you to its passage in the immediate future so please treat this as a teaser to get you in the mood. There won't be space for this mundane image amid the reportage, but it may help to make sense of the dustman anecdote to have seen this in advance.

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