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tiremola

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About tiremola

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  1. tiremola

    What The Tories Have Reduced People To...

    There is something of value there, if they do demolish it. It is very likely one of the steam preservation societies would love to buy the old railway carriage and restore it. This recently happened at the Bluebell railway, with a bungalow that was composed of two old carriages. A friend of mine, Kathryn Ferry, was in the course of writing a book on the history of the bungalow, [i recommend it] and I showed her the pictures on their website of the demolition of the building, and the retrieval of the rolling stock. She was saddened by the loss of the picturesque bungalow and did not seem to share the joy of the railway enthusiasts. Unlike this one, it was rather pretty. I had seen it from the point of view of those ruthless volunteers, devoted single-mindedly to the restoration of past engineering wonders... It could be the subject of a philosophical exercise about identity - Was it a useful bungalow built from two redundant railway carriages, or was it two historic railway carriages sadly relegated to composing a bungalow?
  2. tiremola

    Great House Photos

    No, in fact, it's quite subtle. It is aimed cynically at the really savvy middle-class home-buyer, who knows that that the piles of tish in each room are only a temporary phenomenon, and that when you get possession of a Grade II listed Georgian detached family home for a cheap price, you can put it all the contents in a skip and rejoice in a bargain. However, in their eagerness for a cheap deal, and feeling happy at their own cleverness, they fail to notice that this neglected dump is actually overpriced all the same.
  3. tiremola

    Carpetright Warns Of Lower Profits

    I have to walk past a depressing Carpetright store everytime I am on my way to the shops in sunny Haywards Heath. In spite of the fact that there has always been a sale on [always at least 30% off!, or so they say] since it opened at least ten years ago, I never see any customers in there. I simply cannot imagine how they have kept going. Mind you, exactly the same applies to the Laura Ashley shop on the opposite corner.
  4. The historian Jan Piggott told me that he thought it was faulty electric wiring – apparently it was badly in need of replacing. The fire broke out at night in the Ladies toilets, and by the time Sir Henry Buckland and his daughter Chrystal [not Crystal - apparently Wiki is wrong here] discovered the blaze, and called the Penge fire brigade, it had too great a hold. The fluff and flammable debris accumulated under the wooden staging was said to be another factor, rather like the Kings Cross tube fire. Some years ago, I was giving a lecture on the designers Owen Jones and Christopher Dresser at the Dulwich Picture gallery. I talked about Jones's work at the Crystal Palace, and inadvertently nearly caused a fight in the audience. I said that we had an enormous amount of plans and illustrations (including photographs) of the original, and we could very easily rebuild it accurately. To my amazement, this was a very controversial thing to say, as there were fanatical re-builders in the audience, opposed by equally fanatical opponents of doing such a thing. I still think it would be a good idea to rebuild, for a lot of reasons, but I am more careful as to where I would say it. As for a down-market collection of stalls, that was true of part of it, but the absolutely amazing Ancient Egyptian court had just been restored in 1935, and if that had survived, it would still be a major tourist attraction.
  5. I have been paid in pheasants. I once did some research on Ottoman male costume in the 1840s for an art historian friend, and she gave me two pheasants that her husband had shot in exchange. They had a freezer literally full of them in their stable block. I cooked them [the pheasants] and they were OK, but the lead shot is a real threat to the teeth when you are trying to eat them. They were cheap in my local butchers, when there was a glut of them. Keeping them just to shoot them en masse always seemed a bit odd. It did not seem that sporting, as they are bred for the purpose and are a relatively easy target. If you wanted to eat pheasant, you could just breed them and strangle them, or do as the locals do in Norfolk – hit them with cars, as they are too stupid to get out of the way on the minor roads which run between the shoots.
  6. Thanks for that. I did not know about the Leicester Coffee and Cocoa Shop Movement – the buildings look very imposing. The most famous examples of the tea and coffee houses founded because of the Temperance movement were in Glasgow around 1900. They were Miss Cranston’s tea rooms designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh – they still look avant-garde even now. Turkish coffee houses were alcohol-free as a matter of course, although exactly why merchants in Britain switched from using taverns to conduct business in is not really clear. There were discreet places that served alcohol in the major cities in Turkey – they were known as `koltuk.’ This word has three meanings 1. Armpit 2. Armchair. 3. Out-of-the-way drinking den.
  7. I once published an article on historic Turkish coffee houses. From the illustrations of them (all that now survives) they were highly decorated in a very ornate style. When comparing them to British coffee houses, I discovered that the first ones in England were founded by businessmen, Turkey merchants, who had been based mostly in Smyrna, as it then was. Once back in England, they imitated the culture, (but alas, not the exotic buildings) of the merchants’ coffee houses in the Ottoman Empire, where business deals in currants etc. were traditionally made. So from business to business…
  8. tiremola

    Copyrights And Ethics

    It is much more complicated. If a private individual or a museum/gallery bought a picture from the artist or his/her agent, they may have also obtained the right to reproduce that particular image from the artist. Each case has to be assessed on its merits. Most museums/galleries do not allow high-quality photography suitable for reproduction by members of the public, so they also maintain copyright in the photographs/image they make for themselves - and charge appropriately for reproduction rights. If you want to keep copyright in the pictures you own yourself, you can do exactly as the institutions do above. However, the law is uncertain about people making copies of the actual picture in a museum, a drawing of a drawing for example, if it is for educational purposes, or if they take a casual photograph (if photography is permitted in galleries) as a souvenir and not for gain. Strictly the public are not allowed to make exact copies of things in copyright, but it is difficult to enforce. Copyright caused endless problems for me when I was a curator. If you are the holder of the copyright, you do not have to do anything, as theoretically the galleries/owners are supposed to forbid reproduction without your permission. Good luck with that. Volumes have been written on copyright law, and it has grown more complex in recent years. By all means soak the poster/postcard manufacturers for what you can get, but they do not pay very much unless your artist is famous and fashionable. I think in practice you won’t be bothered very much one way or the other, unless your artist was Andy Warhol/Georgia O’Keeffe or similar. If it were me, I would charge the commercial organisations a fee, but allow everyone else permission to reproduce for nothing.
  9. tiremola

    Ready For Xmas

    The little hand towels/face squares seem to be curled up in the manner of table napkins on a plate – which is why I surmised that one of the owners had worked in a hotel, or as I should have said - a restaurant. I think Winkie may have something there – perhaps the festoons over the bed indicate a retired theatre set designer, although the interiors I have seen by such folk tend to be much more over the top.
  10. tiremola

    Ready For Xmas

    The more you look at the individual photographs, the more eccentric elements the property appears to contain. The explanation for the towels is perhaps that one or both of the owners has had experience in running or working an upmarket hotel. They now do holiday lets in the weird `Middle Earth’ buildings. The objects that appear as part of the room dressings are not your ordinary IKEA either. They suggest to me that one of the owners is/was an artist or designer. The old buildings look very attractive from the outside, although the rest of it is not to my taste. As for the turkey, does my memory falter, but was there not a fashion for keeping Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs as house pets, with a large pig-flap (as opposed to cat-flap) in the kitchen? A turkey seems almost manageable by comparison.
  11. Muswell Hill? I remember it well, having briefly lived near Alexandra Palace in the 1980s. It once was a boring area, with poor transport links, but with some big and relatively cheap Victorian houses, ideal for gentrification. This duly happened, as people who would have preferred Hampstead or even Highgate, had to make do with a poorer relation. In the late 1990s, papers like the Guardian ramped it up, insinuating that the Broadway had become bijou and vibrant, full of what they now call “creatives,” with shopping to match, where once there had only been a Sainsbury’s. In my opinion it has only two claims to real fame. One is that Tim Martin’s very first Weatherspoons-type pub was in Colney Hatch Lane, (I used to drink in there) and the other is that Dennis Nielsen the serial killer (he was a Guardian reader) lived in Cranley Gardens, until he was sussed by Dyno-Rod. It looks like the inflated property market there might be going to pop, because without the twig-filled shops and prosperous “creatives”, Muswell Hill will revert to being the boring suburb it always was.
  12. Dyson was a student at the Royal College and primarily a stylist. He introduced an existing technology for industrial dust extractors into vacuum cleaners, using the vortex thingy principle. (You can tell I am not an engineer, although like Bloo Loo, my father was a skilled toolmaker.) Dyson’s real success came because he styled his cleaner to look like an extreme example of post-modernist design, i.e. hideous brilliantly coloured plastics and weird-shaped components. He had obviously seen examples of the Italian Memphis design group for furniture, and it made his machine look like nothing else on the market at the time Combined with cunning marketing, and skilful self-publicity, mugs with more money than sense bought them, as they quickly became fashionable. I never bought one as I could not afford it at the time, and now that I can, they are rivalled in performance by other, cheaper makes. Dyson is right that we need good engineers and designers, but I doubt if his college idea will go anywhere. The saddest thing to me is how skilled the apprentices used to be, and how long it took to be that good. They were too successful in a way, and now automation can do more accurately what they amazingly did by hand and with the most primitive of hand tools. We have come a long way since Maudsley designed and built the first precision screw cutting lathe by hand.
  13. If spoken rapidly, it does indeed sound like bet chee. The hard k sound and the ch coming together can produce a t-like sound. Have you been back to Ankara? It’s more than a bit different now. Night watchmen were a hang-over from Ottoman times. Probably the whistling was done to reassure the people who had paid for the service, that their guards were actually out there on duty, and not hiding somewhere. A similar thing happened in London before Peel’s reforms introduced a police force. The watchman used to call the hours in the street, mainly for reassurance to the good burghers.
  14. I think it is spelled bekçi – pronounced something like bekchee - a sentry, night watchman. Only really wealthy Turks have privately employed watchmen and bodyguards these days. Everyone else has to rely on the Zabıta or normal police. They are armed, however, and the private bodyguards are usually armed to the teeth.
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