This, believe it or not, was the view from my hotel room last weekend, the seventh floor of the Ibis Excel, Royal Victoria Docks, London. As I was checking in, the girl behind the counter – really, she was about 16 – was asking an older staff member something like “we have a view left, shall I give him a view, would you like a view, sir?” She wasn’t kidding, either, and I soon had the camera balanced on a coffee cup, with long exposure set to go off after the timer, so my hands were off the camera as the shutter went. (Click for 1024×768 JPEG.)
I’m wondering about getting this one done as a poster, since I’ve remembered to keep the full-resolution version. The blue object in the foreground is one of the towers holding up the footbridge over the Docks, which has another marvellous view towards Canary Wharf, provided you aren’t discombobulated by puddle-jumpers on the glide path into London City Airport.
Last night’s Bill Nelson gig was excellent, with a full band set mixing his solo work with the Be Bop Deluxe years, a whole era of his that I’m not actually that familiar with. I only recognized one-and-a-half tracks; the half was Sister Seagull, featuring some guitar lines that Bill taught to Stuart Adamson while producing the Skids, but strongly reminded me of Stuart’s later Big Country work. The other song was Ships In The Night, which I clearly remember hearing as a kid, perhaps when it first came out, even. Is it possible for a song to arouse instant recognition after 20+ years? It was something of a hit single at the time.
After careful consideration, I held back on any major purchases, even the Alesis Micron synthesizer: I can make better use of the software I already own, actually, even if the hardware synth is more immediate. I needed some assistance to avoid buying a camera, however. On Sunday I walked by the Jessops main store on New Oxford Street, and they were having some kind of open day: a representative from Sigma was there, showing off their lenses and their current Digital SLR, the SD10. I investigated it a while ago, and still have some reservations about it, but one proved unfounded: it’s big, but not too big, and not as heavy as I’d been led to believe. With a fairly expensive telephoto lens attached, I could point it at anything near and far, and focusing was smooth and near-instant.
The Sigma rep was enthusiastic and happy to answer my strange questions, and I left him telling me “Jessops have a special SD10 package offer at the moment.” OK, so today I went back to Jessops to check out the offer, and get a price, since their catalogue shows the SD10 without prices. Their reponse? “We don’t sell the SD10.” OK, so much for Jessops, and more time for me to find the kind of bargain price that can get me over the one particular obstacle that nearly always keeps my wallet in my pocket: I don’t actually need the object in question!