Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Up Willesden Way

Yesterday I finally shook off my lazy inertia and took a long photo walk, to the northwest through Willesden Green. I hadn't been up that way in years and it felt great to get out on the street, even with most shops closed and fewer people out and about.

Above is my favorite picture from the day. I like the red reflection from the passing bus and the little white sign in the window at upper left, which you can probably barely see: "End racism!"

I ran into a colleague, Miles, on the Willesden high street and had a (socially distant) chat with him. You'd be surprised how often that's been happening lately. You'd think in a city the size of London I'd be unlikely to see people I know, but I suppose many of us from school live in this general vicinity which makes the probability greater. I've run into one couple, both teachers, about four times now -- they're going to think I'm stalking them.

I see that we have a 40 percent rain chance on Thursday! Woo hoo!

I finished "Lincoln in the Bardo." I really liked it, but I can see how it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. It's very surreal, but so imaginative.

Last night, prompted by my recent book "Amnesty," about an immigrant in Australia, we watched "Mission: Impossible II" with Tom Cruise. The book alludes to that movie, which is set in Sydney, several times -- the main character sees it in his home country, and it comes to represent for him all the wealth and excitement Australia has to offer. I was thinking I'd never seen it, so we streamed it, and we got about 3/4 of the way through it before I realized I'd seen it after all! (Which says it all in terms of how good it is.) Talk about a let-down, and a waste of £4.99.


  1. The top picture is very Reedesque. You could make a whole photo book of people walking by shopfronts. Seriously though - the presence of one or two human beings really perks up what might otherwise be mundane compositions. There'a sense of urban life and energy contained in your passing characters.

  2. Tom Cruise once is bad enough! That’s a great photo. I love the details you appreciate. I do the same and then wonder if anyone else even notices. So, thanks for your great shots. Hmmm... maybe I’ll download Lincoln in the Bardo. Won’t read Amnesty. References to Tom Cruise just piss me off.

  3. I agree with Mr. P. A person in the picture does indeed add interest. I've noticed that even pictures with an animal in them can do the same.
    You should be so glad you're in Britain now. It feels like this country is about to blow. It's scary, Steve.

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed Lincoln - it's weird, but weirdly compelling :)

    Love the arsehole sign!

  5. I bet it felt so good to get out for a long walk. I'm wishing I could do the same thing. I've just finished three books, all different but all good in their own way. I might have to do a post about them. One good thing about this pandemic is that I've certainly been reading more and the list of movies I've seen keeps getting longer and longer.

  6. Glad you got out for a longer dogless walk. and Tom Cruise, the forever boy, he's finally starting to look a little long in the tooth.

  7. A good walk gives lots of good photo ops.

  8. I just love your photo opportunities. One never knows just what will capture your attention. I love both of those shots. The second one made me chuckle.

    It is great that you have run into people. Now the teachers, I am still shaking my head. I guess that now it is getting warmer weather and people are not working that they are just doing things that they now have time for.
    I wish I could get out and walk again. I really miss it but my legs start cramping before I can go a full block.

    Give Olga a special treat and a hug. Take care and stay away from Tom Cruise movies. That man is really weird. Have a great day/evening.

  9. I haven't seen a Tom Cruise movie in years but I must say I did enjoy "Risky Business". That ought to tell you how old I am. I began watching a series of CNN specials my wife had recorded awhile back "Race for the White House". Yesterday I first watched the Obama-McCain campaign and then the Reagan-Carter race. They're both fairly shallow but enjoyable.

  10. A good long walk is the best way to balance these crazy times. Takes our minds off the drumbeat of news and lets us see something new and think about other things. Nice to run into friends on the way. Social distancing and still connecting.

  11. A long walk is great medicine for mind and body.

  12. YP: I actually HAVE made photo books of my favorite street shots, including plenty of people in front of shops! I find that including a person (or an animal -- some living thing) in a picture animates the shot and provides a sense of scale. It doesn't even matter who the person is or what they look like, though obviously the more interesting the better!

    Mitchell: If you download it, I'd recommend an e-book as opposed to an audio book. The book is written in many different voices, and I can't see how an audio book would work.

    Ms Moon: Absolutely -- animals work too! I'm glad I'm not there, it's true. But as I've often said, we have the same problems here. In fact just a few weeks after we moved to London in 2011 there were race riots related to a police shooting. We saw people burning things in the street. History repeating itself, right?

    Bug: It WAS compelling, definitely. I got a kick out of that poster too!

    Sharon: Yeah, this is a great time to be a reader!

    Ellen: Tom was cute back in the day, but then he got a bit creepy.

    Red: Absolutely. Hopefully I'll be able to get out and do more.

    Beth: I don't mind OLD Tom Cruise movies. I'm not sure how I'd feel about seeing him onscreen now. He's lost his appeal for a lot of people, hasn't he?

    Catalyst: "Risky Business" is a GREAT movie. I was in high school when it came out. I remember it well!

    Robin: I hope people realize that when I don't talk about current events here, it's not that I'm avoiding them or ignoring them. I'm simply trying to reflect my life, personally, and provide some relief from that "drumbeat."

    John: Looks that way! People are out and about more here, that's for sure.

    Jenny-O: It is! Essential medicine, even!

  13. I like the top photo. The name K.D. reminds me of k.d. Lang. I just love her singing. Now I'm off to the next post, hugs, Edna B.