Misguided

Jul. 11th, 2009 05:10 pm
rhythmaning: (Armed Forces)
Last month, I spent a couple of weeks on holiday in the States with [livejournal.com profile] frankie_ecap. Needless to say, this was not without controversy (sorry if you can't this, these are locked posts!).

I like travel – I like exploring new places, I like going back to places I know and wandering about; and this time, we were in New York, a city I know better than any other city I haven't lived in, I would – I get to visit New York every couple of years, staying with friends. (This trip will undoubtedly get written about sometime, but experience shows me it might take a year or two... - not least cos I have about seven hundred photographs to process first!)

Image4



I went to New York in October 2002 – a year after 11 September 2001 (you're smart, you'll have noticed that...) - then (I think) in 2005 and again in June 2007. In 2002, I avoided “Ground Zero" - it felt too raw: there were shrines all over the city, remembering firefighters who were missing, there were posters all over the place with details of missing workers from the World Trade Center, and tattered flags all over the city, left out in all weathers as a sign of defiance.

In 2007, I did go to the site of the WTC, because I was doing stuff in the surrounding area and it seemed churlish to go out of my way to avoid it; it was a chilling, moving experience.

So I do react to the events of 11 September. So far, so good.

Thing is, this trip I had a guide book with me. Indeed, I had several: new guides to Washington (earlier in the trip) and Philadelphia (later); and two to New York: one, the Time Out guide, dating from 2007, the other, the Lonely Planet, from (I think) 1997.

I like guide books: they are just that – guides. I have used the Lonely Planet guide many times – I have several editions, going back to the 1980s. I like the layout, the way they work, the feel - the very vibe of the book.

It is, though, a guide book. I know it is old, but I am adult, I can cope with that: the world changes, jazz clubs and restaurants close and open; and the guide book is a way to help me navigate the city. Not infallible, obviously, and used with caution – because neither the guide nor me – nor the city – are immortal.

I also took bus and subway maps, kindly provided by Manhattan Transportation Authority - if you're ever in New York, stop by a subway station and pick up a free bus map: the best map of the city you can get, free. The maps I had I think dated back to my 1997 trip, too – I think they were from 1993 and 1995 respectively.

The age of the Lonely Planet guide and subway and bus maps didn't bother me. Some things had changed – the World Trade Center, for instance – restaurants opened and closed, neighbourhoods moved up market or down; perhaps some changes to the subway, maybe different routes on some buses.

[livejournal.com profile] frankie_ecap saw it a bit differently, of course. This is partly because she used my subway map to plan a trip on the only bit of the network that had significantly changed: in the midtown area, one of the routes had been renamed, and, had she relied on my map, she'd have ended up somewhere she didn't want to be. Still she had the wherewithal to check her route on a subway map in the station, and she saw that the old map was wrong, and avoided getting lost. Still, it was my fault for lending her my map... She found ALL the changes on the bus map, too, sifting through it route by route, highlighting how it might have got her lost (had she wanted to take every bus in Manhattan...)!

She then extended this argument to the guide book itself.

When we'd arrived in New York, we went for a long walk, and sought food near where we were staying; I looked at my decade-old guide book and suggested a local diner, and steered us right there. So the one time we relied on the guide book, it worked – it came good when it needed to.

However, [livejournal.com profile] frankie_ecap felt that simply using a guide book that discussed the World Trade Center as a tourist attraction – since it was a tourist attraction when it was written – was somehow wrong: disrespectful to the dead, to the city, to the past; a sacrilegious act.

This became a major point of contention, as if by using my old, friendly, workable guide book I was doing great wrong.

Thing is, I know the city had changed: like everyone else, I saw the tv footage. I know something historical happened; but that doesn't change the whole city: I know the context. And I can live with that:it is a guide, not an instruction manual1. The world had changed, the time of the guide book is different from now, but the guide still holds, by and large.

For me, knowing there is hole in the book wasn't a problem; knowing there was a hole in the ground, the result of some murdering terrorists was the problem. That the book reminded me of that actually seemed right: an act of rememberance, for how the city – the people and the place – used to be.

Image29




1I was going to write “not a map..." but thought this might be counterproductive...

Twenty Four

May. 3rd, 2009 01:19 pm
rhythmaning: (violin)
I wrote this back in 1991, as a letter to a friend; I recently came across it and enjoyed reading it again, so I thought I’d post it here, too. I recently moved back into the area, and I have been making the same journey. The sights are the same, twenty years on, though the buses have changed…

The everyday thing - this happens everyday - every working day, anyhow, and a few times at weekends too. Going to work - a simple process, but fascinating: watching the world go by. It interests me, this process - partly because I see motion and movement as crucial to my character - one reason perhaps I will never truly settle (until, perhaps, I find someone with whom I want to settle?) - and I define myself in part by movement, by walking, and by watching things change as I move. (They move too, of course, in their own speed, in their way; sometime watching me change as I pass by.)

There are two ways to get to work, and each of those has two alternative routes. I prefer the bus, but when if I am busy at work, I will take the tube; it gets me there about half an hour earlier, and is more hurried, more intense, so I think I may arrive at my desk slightly more flustered, but more ready to do battle with the phones and computers.

DSC_0008 cut



The bus: the bus down to the office leaves from South End Green, five minutes away. I walk passed nurses coming off their night shift, looking tired, almost hostile, as if the world has just been too painful for the last twelve hours that the one thing they can't bear to see are the trees in the sunshine. I walk passed the smell of freshly baked bread - always tempted to go in and buy a donut - and across the zebra crossing; I cross the road arrogantly, daring the cars not to stop - though they always do - and I barely look at them.

Cut for length; lots of words but no more pictures... )

Trains

Feb. 2nd, 2009 10:53 am
rhythmaning: (whisky)
I'm going to London next week.

I bought my tickets online last week. I was hoping to do a circular trip - I want to go to London, on to Oxford, and hence back to Edinburgh.

The ticket to London cost £24; a ticket to Oxford £4.

The ticket from Oxford to Edinburgh was going to cost me £109.

I won't surprise you to learn that I am going back the way I came. Not as easy, but almost as quick.

Trains

Feb. 2nd, 2009 10:53 am
rhythmaning: (whisky)
I'm going to London next week.

I bought my tickets online last week. I was hoping to do a circular trip - I want to go to London, on to Oxford, and hence back to Edinburgh.

The ticket to London cost £24; a ticket to Oxford £4.

The ticket from Oxford to Edinburgh was going to cost me £109.

I won't surprise you to learn that I am going back the way I came. Not as easy, but almost as quick.

Planes.

Jan. 16th, 2009 10:56 am
rhythmaning: (Default)
Yesterday, I read a post on by Steven Johnson on Boing Boing about the good news that there hadn't been a major fatal aircrash in the USA for seven years.

In the evening I watched the news in horror and then relief as they described the fate of an Airbus A320 as it crash-landed in the Hudson River.

Amazingly, everyone on the plane was safe.

Today, Mr Johnson promises never to refer to aviation safety again...! Although he is still right - there were no fatalities.

Planes.

Jan. 16th, 2009 10:56 am
rhythmaning: (Default)
Yesterday, I read a post on by Steven Johnson on Boing Boing about the good news that there hadn't been a major fatal aircrash in the USA for seven years.

In the evening I watched the news in horror and then relief as they described the fate of an Airbus A320 as it crash-landed in the Hudson River.

Amazingly, everyone on the plane was safe.

Today, Mr Johnson promises never to refer to aviation safety again...! Although he is still right - there were no fatalities.
rhythmaning: (whisky)
For those of you who don't believe they exist...



(I tried posting this in a comment and it didn't work, but it works fine here!)
rhythmaning: (whisky)
For those of you who don't believe they exist...



(I tried posting this in a comment and it didn't work, but it works fine here!)

A1 OK

Oct. 25th, 2008 09:04 pm
rhythmaning: (cat)
After watching Strictly Come Dancing, I caught up with a tv programme I recorded a ten days ago, about building a stream locomotive. From scratch.

I like steam trains. I'm not obsessive or anything. But I have been watching a lot of BBC4's recent (and ongoing) series of programmes about steam trains.

Tonight I watched Absolutely Chuffed1, about a group of men who decided to build an A1 class locomotive. It took them eighteen years or so, and three million pounds.

And it made a really good tv programme. There was a lot of the Titfield Thunderbolt about the enterprise: a certain professional-amateurishness and the fact that everyone kept telling them that it would never work.

It did; and I wish I had been there.


1Although the programme is still on iPlayer, I have no idea how long it may stay there, since usually programmes only stay for a week - and it is over seven days since this was shown...

A1 OK

Oct. 25th, 2008 09:04 pm
rhythmaning: (cat)
After watching Strictly Come Dancing, I caught up with a tv programme I recorded a ten days ago, about building a stream locomotive. From scratch.

I like steam trains. I'm not obsessive or anything. But I have been watching a lot of BBC4's recent (and ongoing) series of programmes about steam trains.

Tonight I watched Absolutely Chuffed1, about a group of men who decided to build an A1 class locomotive. It took them eighteen years or so, and three million pounds.

And it made a really good tv programme. There was a lot of the Titfield Thunderbolt about the enterprise: a certain professional-amateurishness and the fact that everyone kept telling them that it would never work.

It did; and I wish I had been there.


1Although the programme is still on iPlayer, I have no idea how long it may stay there, since usually programmes only stay for a week - and it is over seven days since this was shown...

Trains

Oct. 23rd, 2008 10:35 pm
rhythmaning: (cat)
There has been a long series of programmes on BBC4 about British railways; I have seen a few of them.

Tonight, there was a fascinating programme about the British Transport Film unit – wonderful, artful propaganda – brilliant films; a film by BTF about the Elizabethan, a non-stop express between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh Waverley – yes, non-stop, which you don’t get now (still, it is a couple of hours quicker today) – a lovely film, although the rhyming script was irritating – but they took some lovely footage, especially of the cliffs between Berwick and Waverley (the houses are still there!); and now, an old Michael Palin film, travelling from Euston to Kyle of Lochalsh – a very young Michael Palin.

It almost makes me feel nostalgic…

Although the footage of men checking the rails before the Elizabethan sped through fifty years ago seemed a little tasteless given that the report into last year's train crash in Cumbria accused train companies of not doing this now.

(These programmes are on over the next few days, as well, at obscure times of night. I'd have posted a link to the series, which as been running for a couple of weeks, but the BBC seem not to have a web page for it.)

Trains

Oct. 23rd, 2008 10:35 pm
rhythmaning: (cat)
There has been a long series of programmes on BBC4 about British railways; I have seen a few of them.

Tonight, there was a fascinating programme about the British Transport Film unit – wonderful, artful propaganda – brilliant films; a film by BTF about the Elizabethan, a non-stop express between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh Waverley – yes, non-stop, which you don’t get now (still, it is a couple of hours quicker today) – a lovely film, although the rhyming script was irritating – but they took some lovely footage, especially of the cliffs between Berwick and Waverley (the houses are still there!); and now, an old Michael Palin film, travelling from Euston to Kyle of Lochalsh – a very young Michael Palin.

It almost makes me feel nostalgic…

Although the footage of men checking the rails before the Elizabethan sped through fifty years ago seemed a little tasteless given that the report into last year's train crash in Cumbria accused train companies of not doing this now.

(These programmes are on over the next few days, as well, at obscure times of night. I'd have posted a link to the series, which as been running for a couple of weeks, but the BBC seem not to have a web page for it.)
rhythmaning: (cat)
A couple of weeks ago, I spent an hour or so in the York Railway Museum. I have been there before – a couple of years ago.

I think York Station is one of my favourite buildings. Train stations are strange places – leaving loved ones, arriving in new places – but it is the roof and the curve of the platforms that I like most. I have spent some strange moments there – lost between arriving and departing – but it is a great place (not least because it is halfway between home – Edinburgh – and home – London…).

I have taken these pictures before, back then, but this is how I saw it now…

DSC_0012 DSC_0136

Read more... )

rhythmaning: (cat)
A couple of weeks ago, I spent an hour or so in the York Railway Museum. I have been there before – a couple of years ago.

I think York Station is one of my favourite buildings. Train stations are strange places – leaving loved ones, arriving in new places – but it is the roof and the curve of the platforms that I like most. I have spent some strange moments there – lost between arriving and departing – but it is a great place (not least because it is halfway between home – Edinburgh – and home – London…).

I have taken these pictures before, back then, but this is how I saw it now…

DSC_0012 DSC_0136

Read more... )

rhythmaning: (sunset)
I am on the train heading down to York, to meet someone to tak about business.

It is a glorious day. I love this journey: I am sitting by the window on the east coast side, and the scenery is just stunning: cliffs until Berwick, castles and islands until Newcastle.

It is just glorious.

Even though I have made this trip many many times, it never fails to excite me.

We have just passed Alnmouth, where we spent a lovely week a year ago: this makes me very happy, and very sad.

(I must post my photos of that week sometime: spectacular dawns over the beach; and castles lit up by the setting sun. It was glorious.)

Edit: And I forgot to mention the music! I am listening to Bruckner 8 loudly on my iPod, and it is stirring and emotional and in tune with the landscape. It all just fits so well. And now you know!
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I am on the train heading down to York, to meet someone to tak about business.

It is a glorious day. I love this journey: I am sitting by the window on the east coast side, and the scenery is just stunning: cliffs until Berwick, castles and islands until Newcastle.

It is just glorious.

Even though I have made this trip many many times, it never fails to excite me.

We have just passed Alnmouth, where we spent a lovely week a year ago: this makes me very happy, and very sad.

(I must post my photos of that week sometime: spectacular dawns over the beach; and castles lit up by the setting sun. It was glorious.)

Edit: And I forgot to mention the music! I am listening to Bruckner 8 loudly on my iPod, and it is stirring and emotional and in tune with the landscape. It all just fits so well. And now you know!

Knoydart

Sep. 27th, 2008 04:57 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I spent a long weekend on Knoydart. Everyone says “on Knoydart”, because although not physically an island, the Knoydart Peninsular – the Rough Bounds - is effectively cut off from the rest of the UK: there are no roads connecting it to the road network, so you can either walk twenty miles from Kinloch Hourn at the end of a very long, winding and marvellous single track road, or you can get the boat from Mallaig, a forty-five minute ride across rough, storm swept water.

The large group I was with – over thirty of us – chose that option.

Actually, the sea was flat as a pancake: barely a ripple. The sky was dark and overcast, but the weather was ok, there was no breeze at all, and the views from the boat were wonderful.

P8220014

P8220020

P8220015



More mountains and words beneath the cut. And a bit about Hogwarts... )

Knoydart

Sep. 27th, 2008 04:57 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I spent a long weekend on Knoydart. Everyone says “on Knoydart”, because although not physically an island, the Knoydart Peninsular – the Rough Bounds - is effectively cut off from the rest of the UK: there are no roads connecting it to the road network, so you can either walk twenty miles from Kinloch Hourn at the end of a very long, winding and marvellous single track road, or you can get the boat from Mallaig, a forty-five minute ride across rough, storm swept water.

The large group I was with – over thirty of us – chose that option.

Actually, the sea was flat as a pancake: barely a ripple. The sky was dark and overcast, but the weather was ok, there was no breeze at all, and the views from the boat were wonderful.

P8220014

P8220020

P8220015



More mountains and words beneath the cut. And a bit about Hogwarts... )

St Pancras

Mar. 17th, 2008 10:01 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
...And I took a lot of photographs at the new St Pancras station. It wasn't a station I knew - it didn't really go to anywhere I wanted to go - but the redevelopment makes it rather special.

DSC_0077

DSC_0082 bw

...And even more pictures... )

St Pancras

Mar. 17th, 2008 10:01 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
...And I took a lot of photographs at the new St Pancras station. It wasn't a station I knew - it didn't really go to anywhere I wanted to go - but the redevelopment makes it rather special.

DSC_0077

DSC_0082 bw

...And even more pictures... )

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