All posts by Kevin

Platform with a view

While waiting 15 minutes (!) at the peak of rush-hour for a train one day this week, I had time to capture this view of the sky, including a few of the aircraft in it. London is served by five airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and London City), and during the day at least, the sky is always full of aircraft. By holding my iPhone up to the sky, the Plane Finder AR app shows me each flight’s details in real-time. Incredible.

A iPhone screen shot of the Plane Finder AR app.
Plane Finder AR screen shot.

A Foggy Day (in London Town)

A photograph of Millennium Bridge, London, in the Fog.
Millennium Bridge in the Fog.

It’s a foggy, foggy day in you know where!

With apologies to George and Ira Gershwin—and Fred Astaire—who introduced their song in the 1937 film A Damsel in Distress.

I was a stranger in the city
Out of town were the people I knew
I had that feeling of self-pity
What to do? What to do? What to do?
The outlook was decidedly blue
But as I walked through the foggy streets alone
It turned out to be the luckiest day I’ve known

A foggy day in London Town
Had me low and had me down
I viewed the morning with alarm
The British Museum had lost its charm
How long, I wondered, could this thing last?
But the age of miracles hadn’t passed,
For, suddenly, I saw you there
And through foggy London Town
The sun was shining everywhere.

Bright Star

Just watched the International Space Station pass directly over the UK. It was 263 miles up, travelling at approximately 17,000 miles per hour. In and out of sight in only 6 minutes. Amazing sight.

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A Better Class of Vandal

The following graffiti has been scrawled on the bottom of a platform sign at Gunnersbury Underground station:

To be joyous is to be like a madman in a world of dead ghosts.

Turns out it’s a misquote of Henry Miller, who apparently stated:

To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.

Silly mistake. Whoever heard of a dead ghost? Nevertheless, the scribe was obviously reasonably literate … for a vandal.

Red letter daze

Two years ago I suggested that the true nature of management was widely misunderstood in the UK (see Management is a dirty word). Last month a short, but revealing, comment in the Guardian provided more evidence that business may well be a victim of its own bad press.

In the last year or so, Rachel Elnaugh has become one of the most recognisable female entrepreneurs in Britain. She was one of five judges on a BBC television show called the Dragons’ Den in which aspiring entrepreneurs presented their business plan in the hope that the judges (aka the “Dragons”) would invest in the project.

Unfortunately for Ms Elnaugh, her own business (Red Letter Days) went into Administration this summer, and she became the subject of much criticism in the press.

Last month she was interviewed for the Guardian from which the following excerpt was taken :

There’s no such thing as a nice businessperson, she believes, although for the first time in the interview she’s aware she might be saying something controversial. “You’re not there to be namby-pamby and nice, you’re there to make the business work.”

It’s quite astonishing to hear a recognisable role model such as Elnaugh express such a negative view of her own occupation. The implications for her self-esteem are frightening, and you know the problem is serious when it so clearly comes from within.