Friday, January 21, 2022

Deco Lines and a Garden Party


I snapped these pictures on my walk to work yesterday morning. This Art Deco block of flats stands above a Waitrose store near the Finchley Road tube station. It's a pretty cool building. A couple of my co-workers used to live there, but I never visited their flats so I've never been inside.


As you can see, we had clear skies yesterday and it got pretty cold last night.

I finally took the Christmas lights off the avocado tree. I toyed with the idea of leaving them up through the dark months until spring, but somehow they seemed a little silly after the Christmas season ended. Besides, as I told Dave, if we leave them up all the time they won't be special!

(That's also my main argument against having a martini every night.)

Also, I noticed that our local council has replaced the once-viney tree, which as you know unfortunately died last year. I'm not going near this one. Even if that damn vine comes back I am steering clear.

I'm sure you've seen all the controversy about Boris Johnson and his perfidious government having an unmasked garden party at 10 Downing Street in May 2020, at the same time that the entire UK was on lockdown. While the rest of us were told not to mingle and to stay home and to not go anywhere unmasked, Johnson and his cronies were sitting in their garden with spritzers. This revelation has infuriated the British public (or at least Johnson's opponents) to such an extent that his government is in jeopardy.

Dave and I have been amused and perplexed because of all the disastrous things that Johnson has done -- from promoting (and then mismanaging) Brexit to spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a ridiculous plan to build a bridge across the Irish Sea -- this is what threatens to derail him. I understand why people are angered by the hypocrisy, but honestly, having an outdoor cocktail hour during lockdown just doesn't seem that terrible. I suppose people are using that event to hammer Johnson about all those other issues. Dominic Cummings, Johnson's erstwhile-aide-turned-political-enemy, is behind a lot of this opposition and he's certainly no saint himself.

Anyway, I have no insight here except to say I'm intrigued by the vehemence of the public reaction to this story. Maybe I'm just too cynical. Are people really surprised that Johnson is a hypocrite?

62 comments:

gz said...

Beautiful shot of the building.. including the sun and shadows!

It's not just Johnson's opponents who object to his behaviour....

Annicles said...

Hello, I read every morning but don’t normally comment as I am rushing to work. I think that the party gate scandal is being seized on because all the other scandals have somehow managed to slide off him. This one is sticking and is therefore being pursued despite its silliness. There’s a certain satisfaction in seeing such a silly. self-centred and self-serving man being toppled (fingers crossed) by such a ridiculous issue.

FranfromHove said...

Dear Steve. I am not at all surprised that Johnson is a hypocrite. I met him once at a charity event years ago. He was late as usual and carried an overwhelming sense of entitlement. I will not list his disgusting behaviour over the years. Suffice to say I despise the man. His recent actions are just the tip of the iceberg. You may think they are not so terrible, but to everyone that lost a loved one, those who worked or volunteered throughout the lockdown and the millions who kept to the rules, it is like being slapped in the face and laughed at for being stupid enough to care. Sorry Steve. Rant over. Delete this comment if you feel it's over the top.

Moving with Mitchell said...

That IS a beautiful building. I’m intrigued to know what the apartments are like. As for Johnson, it seems to me that people are simply latching onto this latest idiocy in hopes it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Steve Reed said...

That's true. Some of his fiercest opposition is from within his own party, which makes it especially powerful.

Steve Reed said...

Welcome! And yes, I think you're right -- this is really about more than the party. It's about all the unsavory stuff he's done.

Steve Reed said...

Not over the top at all! I think that's exactly how many people feel. And you're right -- certainly people who lost someone to Covid or labored through that dangerous period as an "essential worker" will feel this betrayal most strongly.

Steve Reed said...

And it just might be!

Andrew said...

Very lovely deco lines. A pretty penny is the phrase that comes to mind.

I am not sure that we have had a politician as bad as that buffoon who has survived. Looks like you may have a new leader soon, with great hair, a snappy dresser and very rich.

Boud said...

Too bad you haven't been able to see inside the deco building. I wonder if it's the same vintage as the one we used to see in the Hercule poirot mysteries.

I think partygate is just the tipping point of an abusive regime. Or what they can make stick, like tax fraud for Capone.

Beth Reed said...

I don't know much about the man but I do understand the people's anger towards a Garden Party during a time when so many essential workers were battling Covid restrictions, family's losing loved ones and doing what they can to stay safe and he was just thumbing his nose at the rules as if he were above them.
But the same here in the U.S. and everyone wonders why we cannot get a handle on this horrid virus. The rules apply to everyone, but a certain few think that they are entitled, and it isn't just Johnson that is a hypocrite for having the party but applies to everyone that attended as well. They should have just said, Thank You but No Thank You and stayed their butts at home.
Ooop's sorry I didn't mean to rant. Have a great day. xx

Edna B said...

That's quite a building. I don't think there's anything wrong with an outdoor cocktail party. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

Colette said...

Perhaps exposing hypocrisy is a more effective organizing tool than presenting the issues. You've made me think.

Bob said...

It seems quite funny in politics that the huge blunders somehow get a pass, and then something else comes along and takes someone down. But I guess the anger at locking up an entire country while the PM parties smacks a little too much of Nero fiddling while Rome burned, or Marie Antionette suggested cake.

e said...

I wish you could get inside and see what the flats are like...Nice shots of the outside!

Wilma said...

I'm with e - get inside! I wonder if any of the flats for for sale or lease and featured on an estate agent's website.

Ms. Moon said...

I think we ALL agree that that is a very handsome building!
It's hard not to compare Boris to Donald in many ways, one of which is that they seem to get away with the most horrendous and unbelievable things. But not even garden parties where many people got covid brought Trump down. I swear- the only way he's going to be stopped is if he gets convicted for his financial crimes and put in prison for them. Hell, I'm not even sure that would do it.

Bindu said...

That building photos are nice. Did Johnson got covid after that party?

robin andrea said...

I think we're just in a era of utter buffoonery. Ignorance rises to the front page of screaming headlines. The 24/7 news cycle and internet have propelled stupidity as fast as it can with more speed awaiting our covid doldrums. That doesn't mean Boris Johnson isn't a stupid schmuck. He is. Having an outdoor party is probably at the low end of his offenses.

Ellen D. said...

Politics is just nuts these days! I can never imagine how these buffoons got to their positions of power. There are so many smart, sensible, caring people in the world - why aren't more of them in charge?!
I watched "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" the other night and I wanted Jimmy Stewart to come and save us from Trump and Mitch!

ellen abbott said...

I see you are switching to UK English, flat not apartment. Soon you'll be calling sweaters jumpers.

The Padre said...

Enjoyed The CrackBook Interview There Brother - Keep Snapping Photos From What You See

Cheers
P.S. Olga Girl Is Ready, Ready For A Nap

Sharon said...

Given the fact that 50% of Americans think Donald Trump is a savior and never lies, yes I can believe that people are surprised that Johnson is a hypocrite. Now if only some little insignificant tidbit like that will pop up and take down our monster. One of my friends texted yesterday "when will Trump be perp-walked out of Mar-a-Lago?" It's a vision many of us are dreaming of.
I love that art deco building and the morning sun on it looks great.

Margaret said...

I like Sharon's comment. Part of me enjoys seeing people who are so arrogant and inept being taken down by an idiocy of their own making. However, it also creates a lot of political chaos which I don't like. Apparently I'm the only one who isn't a fan of Art Deco? ;)

The Bug said...

I agree with Mary Moon - it's hard not to compare Mr. Johnson to Mr. Trump, but apparently we are a lot more tolerant of our bad politicians than the Brits are.

Kelly said...

Call me cynical, but I think most politicians are hypocrites AND liars. They say what they think the people want to hear, then do whatever they want to do. That goes for both major parties.

I keep a string of lights up in my kitchen year round just because it makes me happy.

Linda Sue said...

yes, what Robin said- the age of buffoonery , while the earth burns.

Allison said...

I guess it's the "lock down for thee, but not for me." The man had zero concept of how that would appear to all the people locked in their houses.
Is there a rental agency that could take you through a vacant flat? You could pretend to be a potential renter.

am said...

Thank you for this post and the good discussion it inspired. My first time commenting here.

What FranfromHove said about it being just the tip of the iceberg rings true. All that we know about these politicians and find deeply unsettling is only the tip of the iceberg. Having said that, all is not lost. Except that I don't find the word "evil" helpful, I find these quotes heartening. I'd use something along the lines of "the state of being when the mind is disconnected from the heart."

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant."

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)


“All the goodness and the heroisms will rise up again, then be cut down again and rise up. It isn’t that the evil thing wins — it never will — but that it doesn’t die.”

John Steinbeck

Sabine said...

Wonderful pictures of the art deco building.
I think people can look away from all sorts of corruption and overspending and lobbying but to act against the British "we're in this together" spirit (thionk of WWII etc.) is a much bigger crime to most.
The actor Rory Kinnear (I admit I am a fan) buried his sister on the day of the No 10 party and wrote this:
"Their actions feel like direct assaults in the face of my family’s, and all of our shared national, tragedy. To me, and I’m sure many others, the revelations of the manifest and repeated failures of those in power to understand, empathise or show solidarity with what the people of this country experienced during that time have released from the body politic a stench so toxic that I can’t see how they will be able to put it back in the bottle, no matter how desperately they try."

Have a read of the full opinion piece here:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/12/rory-kinnear-no-10-lockdown-party-buried-sister

Red said...

Nice mix of laugh or cry. I like the decal building. Johnson is just plane reprehensible.

Janie Junebug said...

I like the look of that building with its curves. Some American politicians have also faced scrutiny for having gatherings when we were told not to do so. Boris reminds me a lot of trump so it will be find with me if he goes away.

Love,
Janie

Debby said...

Hypocrisy was the hallmark of the trump presidency, and everyone seemed perfectly happy to overlook it.

Steve Reed said...

Wait -- are you thinking of someone specific? Who?

Steve Reed said...

The Hercule Poirot building is on Charterhouse Square and I've blogged about it before! I think if you search "Charterhouse" on this blog you'll find those posts. I imagine the Finchley Road building is from the '30s but that's just a guess.

Steve Reed said...

I agree everyone who attended is complicit, but some of them may have felt they HAD to attend for work purposes. I think "thumbing his nose" is the key -- people feel disrespected and condescended to when their leaders don't abide by their own rules.

Steve Reed said...

Under normal circumstances, no, but this was during a time when the rest of us were forbidden from gathering -- even outdoors.

Steve Reed said...

I think people really chafe when they perceive that their leaders are exempting themselves from the pain and inconvenience they're inflicting on others.

Steve Reed said...

That's exactly it. I feel like Johnson has done so many awful things that are far more destructive to the country -- but perhaps they're harder to understand than him saying "let them eat cake"!

Steve Reed said...

I have a feeling the interior is probably very uninteresting. Just a hunch.

Steve Reed said...

OK -- you inspired me and I looked one up. It looks like it has good bones but I will never understand why people don't clean and organize their space before taking real estate photos.

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/properties/104752523#/?channel=RES_BUY

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, I'm not sure either. I think Trump's supporters would content that any prosecution is simply the "deep state" trying to thwart him from his true path, which is ordained by God. (!)

Steve Reed said...

Johnson DID get Covid at some point, and in fact he was hospitalized for it. But I don't remember if it was before or after that event. I think it was before.

Steve Reed said...

I know I'm a media person by training, but I think our 24-hour news cycle is very unhealthy. We all need a breather from the constant onslaught of news.

Steve Reed said...

I think the process is so corrupted by money and ego that "regular people" couldn't or wouldn't participate.

Steve Reed said...

"Jumpers" always makes me think of those bibbed overalls or skirts girls used to wear. Weren't they called "jumpers"?

For some reason when I'm talking about a British building, "flat" seems like the word to use! I would never call an American apartment a "flat." Weird, huh?

Steve Reed said...

Glad you caught my video! Moment of fame! LOL

Steve Reed said...

PS -- Olga Girl IS napping as I write this.

Steve Reed said...

As I said to Ms Moon above, even if he WERE perp-walked out of Mar-a-Lago, his supporters would believe the Deep State was unfairly persecuting him. The depth of people's delusions about Trump is unbelievable. People genuinely believe he is on a divinely ordained mission from God.

Steve Reed said...

Well, not everyone can like every architectural style, right? I like it more in Miami Beach where it can be dolled up with fantastic colors, but it's interesting here too. To me, anyway. :)

Steve Reed said...

And Trump is every bit as dismissive of everyday Americans as Boris is of working Brits.

Steve Reed said...

I'm with you on the cynicism. In America I think a huge part of the problem is the system -- politicians are constantly fundraising so they feel they can't afford to say what they really think. They're beholden to the people/corporations/parties who give them money.

Steve Reed said...

I don't think I've ever seen politicians better suited to the word "buffoon" than Trump and Johnson.

Steve Reed said...

I don't even think he thought about how it would appear to the outside world. He never expected them to see it. Wilma (above) inspired me to look up some apartments online in that building, which is known as St John's Court. Virtual tours are available!

Steve Reed said...

Yes, those are good quotes. I often say that despite all the terrible stuff happening around us day to day, I think we ARE moving forward as a global society. I rarely use the word "evil." I just don't think things are that easy.

Steve Reed said...

Thanks for the link! It's true, the British really value that sense of being united against a common enemy.

Steve Reed said...

He really is. I still think he's better than Trump, though.

Steve Reed said...

The question is, who will we get in his stead?!

Steve Reed said...

Well, when the hypocrisy is being pointed out by the media, and you don't trust the media, then you double-down on the politician you support, right? I don't know how to reach people who simply disbelieve everything that doesn't fit their narrative.

Wilma said...

Thanks for the link. What a totally boring interior! It does not live up to the exterior at all!

Pixie said...

I looked up the flat too. Wow, what a depressing looking place and in desparate need of updating and still almost 800,000 pounds or 1.36 million Canadian.

Steve Reed said...

And that's why we rent! :)