Have you lost a parrot?

Some would say that “blogging” is a phenomenon of the Internet age; of “New Media” and all that. But in actual fact we all know that it’s been around for a long time. “Citizen journalists” have left their mark everywhere, in every time. From prehistoric cave paintings, to the modern day “graf” that graces our urban landscape. Telling stories of life as hunter-gatherers, to life in a society with limited choice as to what channels to market ourselves through.

The Internet is simply plotting a trajectory through these classic human communication cycles:

Publish -> Interact -> Transact – > Collaborate

The “traditional” media forms still thrive in their uniquely localised forms. At the “publish” end of the spectrum it’s “For Sale” signs stuck on the rear and side windows of private cars parked in the suburbs. At the “collaborate” end of the spectrum it’s like geo-blogging:

Have you lost a parrot?
Message posted on a telephone pole in Kingsbury, London NW9.

Tube of tranquility

I love my local tube station. It’s located at one end of a country park designated as nature reserve of some significance. It’s hard to believe that a large open space typical of ancient Middlesex pasture and haymaking meadowland can be found in suburban London. Over the centuries, generations of local town planners have had the foresight to preserve some green spaces in the neigbourhoods of London and the people in my area are lucky to have one so close by. Although, had London been successful in it’s bid to host the 1988 Olympics our local country park would have been developed into the athlete’s village …

A few tranquil moments waiting for the tube train to arrive.
Kingsbury, London NW9. Jubilee Line, Zone 4.

Standing on the platform. There’s only six minutes between trains. But it’s six minutes of countryside tranquility. Insects, birds, butterflies and bees. If you’re in an unlucky six minutes, then the idyllic setting is sometimes punctured by a plane on a flight path in or out of Heathrow, or the wailing of a police siren on the High Street outside the station.

Elephant weekend

This one is for Katy. On Saturday morning I saw this picture in the “my contacts� area on the Flickr homepage that caught my attention. A few clicks later I was reading about it on the owners blog. And from there I clicked through to more information about it. Like most people, weekends are a precious time off for the Route 79 posse, so what we choose to do at weekends is important. It is a definite sign of the times when you decide what to do with your family on a Sunday morning based upon something you stumbled upon in Flickr the day before.

And what a spectacle it was. The most utterly breathtaking, magical, fantastic …. er …. “thingâ€? I’ve ever seen in London. All around there were crowds and crowds of people. Kids laughed and screamed, and grown-ups were reduced to being kids again – it was just simply brilliant!

Many will have heard by now of The Sultan’s Elephant – and Flickr has it as one of the hottest tags this week – there are thousands of pictures of the spectacle over there.

Like seemingly everybody else in Central London over the weekend, I took pictures on my mobile phone. I’m trying out the new Nokia N80, (3 megapixel cam, WiFi, better-than-QVGA-display, full-web-browser-based-on-Safari, Flash Lite etc.) which will start shipping on the networks in the UK soon. I’m still trying to get to grips with the phone and how best to comfortably use it as a “blogging� tool.

The elephant stopped so that the Sultan and his hareem could have some lunch and champagne. Right in front of where we were stood watching in Piccadilly. There were many uniformed police officers embedded in the crowd. One of them was an Asian police officer. (North American readers: Asian = South Asian)

Police officer struggling to contain the crowd near the elephant that drove London wild.
(Taken with a Nokia N80 on Piccadilly near Sackville Street at Sunday lunchtime.)

The megapixels in mobile phones are going up. It is fascinating to be able to see levels of detail in pictures that are taken in very different context to conventionally composed pictures. For example: take a look at this picture. It was taken in Islington from the back of a moving car – looking back through the rear windscreen. Now click on the “All Sizesâ€? button just above the picture and select the “Originalâ€? size. Marvel at the detail. But also notice how the face of the scooter rider on the right is blurred. This is 3 megapixel espionage at the very limits.