I ate the last Smint today.

Although I’m not sure if you eat Smints plural. You put one in your mouth, where it takes its sweet time dissolving. You can’t find them here in the states. The last Smint came from a tin I bought in London - and I know where.

First, we have to walk across this bridge.

That’s quite a complex. Rewind the clock a bit . . .

That’s 2008, and those are fairly recent. So the entire view of massive buildings is a recent addition.

On the other side of the bridge, you're in Vauxhall. Pass the Underground station that looks like a spacecraft whose crew compartment is an RV . . .

Head down the road . . .

(Again, rewind 14 years. Wow.)

Turn to the right . . . .

. . . and there it is.

I remember this place because I had time to kill, waiting for daughter to finish with friends and join me at the Tate. I’d run down my phone battery, and while I had a charger - of course I had a charger - I didn’t want to start charging now, because it would be a long day. So I just bought some Smints and walked back across the bridge and sat in a park for a while, watching the pigeons. A moment unplugged and unbothered the likes of which was quite rare.

So I’ll keep this tin, and use it for something else, and it will always remind me of one of my favorite days on one of my favorite trips

Now, this year's Above-the Fold Kul-chah Feature, or ATFKF.

Allegory of the Disaster Year by Jan van Wijckersloot (1673):

There's a lot here.

In this allegorical painting, a young Orangist shows a regent, wearing a nightcap, an allegorical drawing. In this drawing, the Dutch lion is pictured inside a Dutch garden or "Hollandic Yard", a traditional symbol for the safety and integrity of the province of Holland adorning many of its public buildings. The lion is presented as weak and defenseless, his seven arrows (representing the provinces) dispersed and sword broken, while the fence surrounding the yard has already been broken down

  "At the top of the drawing, a French cock, perched atop three fleurs-de-lis and four conquered arrows crows triumphantly."
  An awful tiime for the nation. So what explains this expression?

From the museum site: "The lesson is that the regents should have listened to the Orangists' concerns about the threat of Louis XIV of France."

Could that be the artist demonstrating his own political beliefs, looking at us with a told-you-so smile? No: the fellow who's looking at the drawing with dismay, that's the self-portrait.








Thirteen thousand souls, and from the picture above, a good prospect for one of those neutron-bomb downtowns. Well, let's amble.

Not, as we like to say, or rather hate to say but must, a rather auspicious start.

At least we got the OUMB out of the way. Let’s see what’s here; this is a two-week visit, so there must be a lot.


When you’re 14 and playing a city-building game and spend a lot of time arranging the potted firs just so


Is this a remnant of the ancient building itself, before it had its face ripped off?



You ask yourself: do they still exist? They made a lot of cool stuff in the 80s. Really well-styled electronics.


“And a fir . . . right here.”

It’s a bank. It’s also a very nice mid-century modern building.

Those gold accents always brought a lift to a building.

Then there’s the other style of mid-century office building, which had only itself to blame if subsequent era’s additions kept with the theme of “colorless and devoid of personality.”


On the exact opposite end of the modern spectrum: this lively little box.

Everything about it says fun and hamburgers and coke and maybe a dance.


I’m inclined to think “new construction,” albeit in the late 40s or early 50s, rather than a renovation. It’s unusual to see new buildings on the corner. Usually the structures on the corner lasted forever.

Quite modern, but unloved


“And another fir . . . here.”

Great old facade, but the emptiness suggests a stasis that’s lasted a long, long time.

The cornice says it’s old. The rest of it says “the architect wasn’t slapped enough and made to feel the shame he so richly earned.

Honestly, it looks like it’s crapping out that corner column.

“I knew that bank would go bust. It was too narrow.”

I’m walking out limb-wise and saying it was all new, in the 50s.

An attempt at urban renewal, or perhaps two five-and-dimers right next to each other?

Why did I split this up? One of those situations where I bait you with dull stuff then knock you out the next week?

Stay tuned. (I don’t know the answer right now; haven’t looked at the next folder since I set it aside.)






That will do. If you think today was Urban-centric, wait until you see tomorrow. But! You'll learn something. Two things!



blog comments powered by Disqus