Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “london”

Seemingly meaningless Graffiti. Any ideas what it means?


Whilst traveling one comes across a lot of graffiti. Some of it great, some pure art, some vandalism and some of it simply strange.

I have no idea what these sets of graffiti mean. One was painted on a park bench and the other on a metal container .

Berlin is Clean. No rubbish. No mess. So why are Merton and Kingston not the same? A change in direction for Recycling and Rubbish collection is needed in Europe


Each day social media is full of posts about the rubbish and mess that abounds in Merton and other localities. I don’t seek these posts they are there in their droves . Just search for #muckymerton and see what emerges.

The pattern is too familiar. Fewer collections of any type, rubbish dumped at bins , rubbish just dumped. End result is a total mess and more rats. I have seen more rats this year 2018 than in the combined 20+ years I have been living in the area. This is not even mentioning the mess foxes make . Take a walk through any Merton area around midnight to 5 am and the foxes are having a party. They are breeding well and in our area Monday night is festival night for them. Folks put their rubbish out for a Tuesday collection and the foxes firstly collect it then spread it over whole streets. We must accept that we are partially at fault here as asked to put rubbish out by 6 am . And everyone loves getting up at 6 am to do this.

Merton has been trialling things that are certainly unconventional. In the face of ever increasing mess and litter in some areas and parks they are removing waste bins and replacing them with , well, nothing.

I am no refuse disposal expert but then clearly neither are the council. But what I do see is other cities and towns in Europe that are devoid of rubbish and clean despite having far more citizens and visitors. Earlier this year I wrote a post on Ljubljana in Slovenia where underground rubbish and recycling bins provide an excellent solution.

https://arcticterntalk.org/2018/06/26/recycling-made-easy-in-ljubljana-a-lesson-for-uk-councils/amp/

The collection is also simpler with workers not having to handle any of the lovely rubbish and recycling.

What prompted me to write this article today is Berlin. This is summer . Tourist peak season. Temperatures around 34c . Yet walking to some business appointments there is no rubbish. Bins are either empty or certainly not full. Containers like small skips allow rubbish and recycling to be collected. Maybe the mentality is better too. Less fly tipping and discarding aimlessly of rubbish. Simply Berlin is clean. Whatever systems are used and funded Merton and other councils could do worse than learning about and adopting .

Following my post on Ljubljana I learned that such underground recycling and rubbish collection facilities are available in parts of Southern Spain and Northern England. This is not futuristic thinking its plain common sense and needs funding and adoption.

To me the way things are going in Merton, watching rats run free next to roads , rubbish piled up and bins overflowing, we have a system that is not working and in many regards is not unlike London in the 1700’s. Whoever decides , funds and is accountable is failing the residents. The better step is adoption of change , not reducing collections . Look for alternative options. Otherwise, I can see legal challenges from residents who pay their council taxes. We are traveling right now in the wrong direction.

The Cost Of Airport Food Is Outrageous . 20£ For A Burger at Arlanda Stockholm Airport


Travellers have little choice often to eat in airports. Having to arrive hours before a flight, airlines rarely serving free food and a mandatory queue at passport control afterwards. So it might be reasonable to expect two things. A choice of food options that are not dominated by Gordon Ramsay, Sushi and Caviar bars. As one gets in Terminal Five. Trying to buy a humble cup of tea or coffee can be impossible . A second expectation is that prices are equitable. Things are now getting out of hand and travellers have every right to protest.

At Arlanda airport last night a sports bar , O’Learys, nothing special if I am honest was wanting over 20£ for a burger . Ribs would set you back 27£ and a steak would cost you not much under 40£.

How can these prices for food that looked inferior to Burger King be fair? Put it another way. Family of three. A burger meal and drinks would be costing around £75. If the children asked for chicken strips that too is around 25£. Vending machines would then sell you chocolate bars such as Twix for £2.

Other airports are no better. London City Airport charges extortionate amounts for average food.

The regulators need to look into this. Just as service stations charge 20p per litre more airports should be prevented from operating this unpleasant pricing cartel .

Why in Music Photography Do You See so Many Black and White images?


Anyone browsing the internet for band photos or even looking at the walls in venues will  find various music photos of bands or musicians. The non-photographer might presume that the use of BW is solely to convey an old fashioned image that may take folks back to days of London clubs like Marquee. That may partly be true, as BW does convey a meaningfulness to a shot that colour may not. However in the majority of cases BW may be the end product because the lighting conditions are so complex.  Lets get this straight. I do not consider myself to be a gig photographic expert but merely someone who has photographed bands in the real world. If you are fortunate enough to shoot at the O2 or large venues then things will be very much easier and lighting friendly. So whats the issue?

Two Year Break

Two Year Break

  • The venue is essentially dark. ISO speeds under 12800 are not so common and as we know that leaves a potentially grainy image.
  • Lighting is variable across the stage and is rarely if ever even. So the light conditions on the stage may often be divided into 9 different squares or more.
  • Lighting colour also varies with usage of multiple coloured lights and different lighting colours in different parts of the stage.
  • Traditionally the photographer gets three songs to take their shots. I have no idea where this magic number comes from
  • Not all, and in fact few small venues , have photographer areas at the front, so often one is mingling with a pushing/heaving crowd, that for reasons that have escaped me sometimes throw beer everywhere.

So the working constraints are harder than many presume, that includes fellow photographers.

On the positive side gigs are rich in photographic opportunities with band members rarely looking dull and movement can be amazing. I would encourage all photographers to do a few gig shoots, the smaller bands are usually more than happy to use photos after, hence building reputation.

Two Year Break

Two Year Break

Renegade Twelve

Renegade Twelve

Two Year Break

Two Year Break

Two Year Break

Two Year Break

Renegade Twelve

Renegade Twelve

Renegade Twelve

Renegade Twelve

Renegade Twelve

Renegade Twelve

Renegade Twelve

Renegade Twelve

Idol Dead

Idol Dead

Idol Dead

Idol Dead

Idol Dead

Idol Dead

Waffle Jacks American Diner Wimbledon


This is a great place to have a breakfast or lunch. American style food at fair prices. Nice atmosphere .

Sausage bagel can be recommended especially in a jalopeno and cheese bagel . Waffle with ice cream and golden syrup was also far from shabby !

Wage Bills In Championship


Just seeing these numbers make one realise two things. It’s not all about money. Some teams with big budgets do badly and little old tinpot Brentford do rather well. One example might be Norwich with a wage bill triple that of Brentford or Middlesbrough which approaches five times that of Brentford

Fall Out Boy At O2. Beyond Brilliant


It’s more difficult than one can imagine to entertain 17,000 folks with the right mix of songs.

Even when these folks are avid fans. Fall Out Boy contrived to do this brilliantly . A few reasons why

  1. Only one excellent quality support band . Against the Current. No need for multiple poor bands to fill time, these guys played maybe 35 minutes and were great
  2. The stage set was unique in that the background to the band was an ever changing colourful visual .
  3. The band played 2 songs effectively on a raised stage in the middle of the auditorium. Meaning that even those souls in the Sky got some close ups . A walkway also allowed the band to dance through the crowd in a kind of sensible non contact crowd surfing.
  4. The set list was a mixture of old and new with even the odd almost acoustic number
  5. They sounded great. Vocals were superb and the sound very complete.
  6. They played 90 minutes so not overdoing their welcome including an excellent encore.

All in all a great evening in what is now London’s best large music venue

Black and White Photography. The Forgotten Art


Just looking through magazines and newspapers it seems colour photography is the only form needed. But take a moment to consider the change that comes into a photograph when it is viewed in black and white.

Some key aspects to good black and white photography include

  1. Choosing a suitable subject matter. Not all subject matters lend themselves to black and white format. No precise rules exist .
  2. Focus. Generally a good depth of field of minimum f 10. Clarity of the image can be critical in its interpretation
  3. Contrast. In general terms a little greater contrast can be helpful. Not at all an absolute rule though as you can see from one of my examples below.

Here are a few examples of recent photos where black and white has changed the whole aura and interpretation of a photograph .

Sometimes my aim is to deliberately convey an old looking feel that the photo could have been taken many years ago.

These photos are in fact some of my favourite photos from last year .

Black and white photography allows so much experimentation that it should be considered routine in any Photoshoot .

Russian journalist death in New Malden. Counter Terrorism unit leading investigation


After the death of 61 year old Russian journalist Nikolai Glushkov last night , police are treating his death in Clarence Avenue New Malden as unexplained. The counter terrorist unit are leading investigations. They are not linking it to the recent Salisbury incident.

Mr Glushkov was allegedly a close friend of Putin critic Boris Berezovsky, and had said he did not believe Mr Berezovsky’s death was due to natural causes according to a personal friend on Facebook . Damian Kudryavtsev.

Will be interesting to see how this story progresses . This is not the first unusual death in this town in recent years .

New Malden In The Snow


New Malden is not really famous for anything although due to the fact that around 75% of the UK Korean population live there, the Korean restaurants are highly rated.

Waking up to a blanket of snow this morning there was more than a modicum of surprise that South Western Railway had a far better service than normal. Maybe it was the right kind of snow on the line. Fewer commuters than normal braved the station . But as per usual some of the driving was horrific especially on the ungritted roads. The major roads like A3 were fine but many of the smaller residential roads had seen less salt than a hypertension clinic.

The blue sky though made the world look a happy place and the dogs were loving the snow.

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