Elusive Optics

Waiting for an all-stations Westbound Met Line train on the platform at Moorgate tube station; strange globular prism-like and reflector-like fixtures spotted on walls and columns in strange locations. Some above head height, some at about knee height. On the opposite platform as well. They’re obviously participating in some sort of optical detecting and sensing, but it’s difficult to work out what exactly.

I conclude for now that the orange glows and light beams are detecting trains and/or people. Counting trains and people, perhaps by the breaking and un-breaking of light beams. Some kind of automated surveying. Why Moorgate? And why some other stations, but not others?

Later and across the river, there’s a Foyles bookshop set into the frontage of Southbank Centre. It’s the first time I’ve been into Foyles since the early ‘90s. In fact the first time in a Foyles that’s not *the* original Foyles on Charing Cross Road which I remember fondly for the pre-Amazon-era, primal running up and down stair-wells in my springy Hi-Tecs, dodging people doing the same. And many misspent hours hiding in quirky corners reading books (as opposed to buying them) and marvelling at the small, but expanding, range of O’Reilly technical manuals that were just oh so hard or nigh impossible to get hold of anywhere else at the time. Those were the days.

These are the days of the empty hand.


Victoria Embankment from Southbank around half-hour after sunset.

The Foyles on Southbank could have been a Waterstones or a WHSmith. Made a mental note to visit the relocated Charing Cross Road one.

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