Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Mr C around town, part XXIV (Ich bin ein Hamburger)

Mr C is on a salsa junket in Hamburg and so far managing to avoid all the Beatles walking tours that can so often get in the way. Beer n sushi though eh, these are a few of his favourite things. Photo courtesy Rikke Nielsen Archive.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mr C around town, part XXIII (healthier in Philadelphia)

Mr C has been visiting Philadelphia these past days, the city of brotherly love, where he was welcomed with open arms and shown around by the men and women working on the chain-gang at Quaker City Mercantile (QCM is of course Mr C's preferred Stateside agency). First stop was the Love statue, located in Love Park, and designed by Robert Indiana. The iconic sculpture was first placed in the park in 1976 as part of the United States' Bicentennial celebrations. It was removed in 1978 because of some bureaucratic procedure but swiftly restored after a public outcry. Mr C in Philadelphia series courtesy Quaker City Mercantile Archive, October 2012.

Here we see Mr C posing artfully at the Rocky statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The 1976 film was shot in Philadelphia and is about a smalltime boxer (played by Emeritus Professor of Particle Physics Dr Sylvester Stallone, magna cum laude) who defies all odds and defeats the world heavyweight champion. Mr C loves standing tall for the little guy, not least it's sort of his raison d'être after all.

The Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art is among the largest art museums in the United States. Although the steps in front of the museum were made famous in the award-winning 2002 motion picture The Bikini Bandits Experience, they are known as the Rocky Steps as a result of their appearance in the triple-Oscar™-winning film Rocky and four of its sequels.

Mr C standing in confirmed admiration in front of Philadelphia City Hall which from 1901 to 1908 was the world's tallest habitable building. Who would have thought just a couple of months ago that his little odyssey in protest at the force-feeding of small children with cadburysmcdogfoodheineken while all that public money was being siphoned off into private pockets might one day lead to Philly and some of the best cheesesteaks on the planet? Who indeed!

With the statue of George Washington at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington Square, built in memory of the soldiers who fought in the American Revolution against the imperialist greed and tyranny of the British colonialists.

Betsy Ross is widely credited with making the first American flag. There is however no credible evidence that the story is true. Mr C is here at the Betsy Ross House which may be where Betsy Ross lived when she may have made the first American flag. Although it is one of the most popular tourist sites in Philadelphia, the claim that Ross once lived here is a matter of dispute, and the claim that she designed and sewed the first American flag is almost certainly false, but many Americans still think she did. The lady in the picture is a living historian who works at the Betsy Ross House. She is not Betsy Ross.

Resting briefly at the bust of Benjamin Franklin who as students of history will know was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States as well as being a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass 'armonica'. Not to be confused with Benedict Arnold, no, no!

The Liberty Bell is perhaps the most iconic symbol of American independence from the yoke of British tyranny and was cast with the lettering "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof" (Leviticus 25:10). Ironic perhaps when you think about it, but not in the Alanis Morissette sense. The bell originally cracked when first rung in Philadelphia and was twice recast by local workmen. Mr C wanted to get stuck right in the crack of course but decorum prohibited somewhat.

Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were both debated and adopted. Independence is, as we know, right up Mr C's street. Avanti Populo!

Money eh? Mr C has an ambivalent relationship with it, as indeed many of us do. The Philadelphia Mint was established by the Founding Fathers of the United States after the ratification of the Constitution of the United States. Philadelphia at that time was the nation's capital so the first mint facility was built here. Mr C was half-sorry to miss the presidential mass-debate but was obviously happy as a cow chewing on some cud rolling around in some gold-plated binders full of money.

Ibid. Thanks fellers, it's been most instructive and it's been a blast. God bless us all, every one.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Mr C around town, part XXII

Mr C has been revisiting bonnie Scotland, land of the brave, home of the free. As you can see, he's by the Forth Bridge, looking majestic in his sensible raincoat and enjoying the terrific son et lumière put on by his auld china plate Murray Ramone. Says Murray, "It took hours for the right type of cloud to apear in the sky to reflect correctly but Mr C felt it was worth the wait in gold." Quite right of course, especially since as we know by now, Mr C loves going for gold. Photo courtesy Murray Ramone Archive.

And ah Paris! Monsieur C adores Paris, his very favourite home away from home. Mr C got a bit lost among the boulevardiers of these narrow streets but under the illumination of a silvery moon he was able to switch on and off the lights of the Tour Eiffel at will. Here we see the lights in the on position of course. Photo courtesy Catherine Le Conan Archive.

Monday, 22 October 2012

RIP Andy Gardner

RIP Andrew Privett, or Andy Gardner as I knew him 25 years ago. I heard the news from Helen about an hour ago. It happened yesterday apparently, very suddenly and unexpectedly, just 47 years old. Go easy Andy, there were many times you made me laugh uncontrollably, hysterics even.

I had a court case with Andy in mid-87. We were charged with noise pollution and some minor public order thing I think. I think I remember that Nicki was our only witness. Anyway Andy was the noisy one, not me, and we were happily acquitted on all charges of course.

The picture dates from Summer 1986. Andy is holding the right side of the banner, a full head of hair and moustache, I am holding the left side, also with a full head of hair and a jaunty cap. We had chalked on the pavement outside the South African embassy all night without any interference from the Met but at around 7am they decided to have our artwork blasted from the pavement and we were obliged to move right next to the embassy's balustrade. I think this was the only time that happened.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Mr C around town, part XXI (re-arming in the Shetlands)

Mr C has made it to the end of the Internet. Shetland's motto, the Icelandic phrase "með lögum skal land byggja" is also the motto of the Icelandic police. A literal translation: "With law shall land be built." Equally, in view of the clearances that took place here as throughout Scotland: "með lögum skal land vera stolið." Mr C in Shetland series courtesy Marc Barry Archive, September 2012

Blue Geo from Aith Ness, Bressay

Bressay's 6-inch WWI 'North Gun'. Installed in the closing months of the war to defend the northern approach to Lerwick Harbour. Never fired in anger. Bressay boasts a similar 'South Gun' that protected the southern approach but Mr C said he couldn't be arsed

Odd cubby-hole, one of two either side of entrance to gun platform, Aith Ness, Bressay


Laboured point

HW-Mill Grind-stone

Clickimin Broch. The Olympic matchstick passed here just a few milliseconds earlier

Bronze age hovelry at Clickimin Broch

Mr C has had enough of Clikimin Broch

Mr C adjourns to the local big-pharma big-money mini-mall to stock up on LOCOG-sanctioned comestibles

The Olympischeiße procession passed Lerwick Town Hall a bit earlier. We don't know if local dignitaries met n gret at that time but there was no rush of potentates to welcome Mr C and Mr B

A visit to the local constabulary

Local outpost of the Ministry of Truth

Mr C, Cow, Sheep, 2 lochs, hills, grass, Bressay, Shetland

Bressay Lighthouse. Built 1856-1858, designed by brothers David and Thomas Stevenson and operational continuously from 1858 to 12 September 2012. Thomas Stevenson was the father of writer Robert Louis Stevenson, whose failure to take up engineering "caused [Thomas] much disappointment". High winds caused Mr C to crumple a bit

Bressay Lighthouse and buildings. The five red cylinders once held compressed air to power the (now absent) foghorn

Bressay Lighthouse from the lower flanks of the Ord

The abandoned (during late C19th) settlement of Grimsetter, Bressay

Mr C mistakes a built-in cupboard for a vacant shrine

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Monday, 15 October 2012