Monday, November 19, 2018


I took myself to the Tate Modern yesterday, mainly to finally see the new Blavatnik Building, which used to be known as the Switch House. It opened more than two years ago -- so it's not so new anymore -- but I'd never been. Time to remedy that!

The building has an eighth-floor viewing terrace that wraps around the top, and it's free to get in. From there visitors can get 360-degree views of the city, especially spectacular on a nice day like yesterday:

The viewing terrace is somewhat controversial, because right next door to the Tate is a complex of glass-walled condominiums. Some of the condo owners are incensed that Tate visitors use the terrace to peer into and even photograph their apartments. It's turned into a haves-and-have-nots dispute, with some championing free access to the viewing platform for the common man and others arguing for the privacy rights of the homeowners. But you know, when you buy an all-glass condo, what do you expect? That's what curtains are for!

Still, the museum has signs up saying "Please respect the privacy of our neighbors," and when I was there a guard was standing on that side of the platform, presumably to stop people taking pictures toward the condos. (I didn't try.)

After the terrace I explored some of the galleries, which as usual featured fascinating displays of modern art, including a group of photos by one of my favorite photographers, Stephen Shore. There's a special exhibit now of the work of Jenny Holzer, including a powerful text-art piece called "It Is Guns: Students Talk Sense." Phrases concerning gun violence, and specifically the shootings in Parkland, Florida, flash on a video screen in rapid succession. In the USA, the screens were mounted on trucks and driven around major cities. I bet that put the NRA's panties in a knot.

Afterwards, I walked south and east and then north again, through Bermondsey. It was a good day for pictures, although the sun was low and bright. I passed this place and popped in for coffee...

...because with a name like that, how could I not?!


  1. Great pictures from the Blavatnik Building - such lovely, sharp light. Next time you go please zoom in on those exclusive apartments and get some intimate shots of wealthy people lolling about at home.

  2. How does the coffee shop get away with a name like that? Surely someone would have complained to the council or the government or whoever controls business names and had the name removed because it was "offensive" or "erotic" or some such silly reason. I am sure it would never be allowed in Australia - or at least, the conservative part of Australia in which I reside! As for me, though, I love it! And yes, why not have coffee there!

  3. When you can get views like this for free why pay to go anywhere else.
    That coffee shop name would go down well here in Brighton, we count ourselves to be trendy here, well, not me but most of the other inhabitants. lol

  4. Amazing photos! Now that’s an eye catcher of a name for a coffee shop, a new one for me lol

  5. London is certainly a city of contrasts, isn't it? The old and the new.
    Pretty cool place to live, it seems to me.

  6. Such a fabulous town, London! Thank you for the photos, they are splendid!

    Washington state passed laws in the last election to somewhat control guns, raised the age to 21 for semiautomatic rifles ( every one needs one) and to have locks on guns as well as safes, with ammo in a separate area- big deal, common sense, but the NRA has brought a law suit against Wa State, claiming that it is unconstitutional-
    The coffee shop has the best name ever! To the NRA, have a big cup of Fuckoffee

  7. Great photos! They are the updated version of the ones I took two years ago. Now I know how that "pregnant" building turned out. It was under construction when I was there. I was one of those people who broke the rule about photographing the condos. There was no guard when I was there but, that sign was up. I would have to go in that coffee shop too with a name like that. And, I don't even drink coffee!

  8. Love the views from that platform. What a grand sight that must be especially on such a beautiful clear day. That coffee shop name is wild. I am surprised they could do that.

  9. I'm not sure what point the coffee shop management was trying to make, beyond having phonetic fun, but yes, how could you not stop in? :)

  10. A few different groups should have been thinking when they put these buildings up. The buyers should be thinking too.

  11. I assume the condo was there first but they had to know something would be built there sooner or later. And do they think people with telescopes aren't looking in their glass walls? The Tate modern is...modern.

  12. Walking around London is simply fabulous and I miss that.

    Do they serve tea in Fuckoffee?