Tag Archives: statue

The Duke’s permanent adornment

Monday 8th May 2023, 10.25am (day 4,274)

Duke of Wellington statue, 8/5/23

This statue of the Duke of Wellington stands in Glasgow, and since the 1980s has famously been adorned, a lot of the time anyway, by a traffic cone. Not specifically this cone, as until fairly recently the city council would dutifully remove each one as it appeared, but another would invariably return not long after. More recently everyone seems to have decided that this ‘tradition’ is not only harmless, but actually interesting and ‘ironic’ in a sort of postmodern way. Local Glaswegian sense of humour, ho ho, isn’t it quaint. I saw a guide going on about it to a group of tourists today, for heaven’s sake.

However, I think what it really is, and certainly what it started as, is pure mockery of the rich and powerful, and of Authority generally, and frankly I think we would benefit from a lot more of this kind of thing — particularly after the weekend just gone. The horse’s jauntier crown can be read a little differently, perhaps.

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Sidgwick Site, University of Cambridge

Friday 21st April 2023, 1.00pm (day 4,257)

Sidgwick site statue, 21/4/23

Over my three days in Cambridge I seem to have avoided capturing anything about the sociability of the conference I’ve been attending. So be it. The Sidgwick site is the utilitarian side of the University, none of this medieval architecture stuff: faculty rather than college buildings. But it was a decent place to spend half a week. Clare thinks this sculpture looks like ‘Minecraft Man’, by the way.

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Sackville Street Gardens, Manchester

Friday 17th February 2023, 2.00pm (day 4,194)

Sackville St Gardens, 17/2/23

Chosen as much because this was the year’s first outbreak of cherry blossom — at least, in my sight. The position of the photographer on this shot was carefully chosen — Alan Turing’s statue is visible, the litter bin is artfully concealed.

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Desperate Dan, and others

Wednesday 21st December 2022, 11.45am (day 4,136)

Desperate Dan, 21/12/22

The Winter Solstice was spent getting the Christmas shopping done in Dundee, which among other things, is the home of D. C. Thomson, publisher of the famous (in the UK, anyway) comics the Beano and Dandy. The latter no longer comes out except as an annual, but for the 75 years that it was published, the character Desperate Dan was in every issue: and here is his statue in the city centre. The other shoppers don’t seem bothered, though.

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Antique shop

Tuesday 28th June 2022, 3.30pm (day 3,960)

Antique shop, 28/6/22

More junk, like yesterday. But no one would come in if it were called a ‘junk shop’, so the word ‘antique’ is employed to give these various discarded pieces of trash some cachet. But it’s all for show. Take the false teeth visible to top right, for example. However old they are, I doubt they would be employed by a set decorator for some period movie.

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Unseen corner

Wednesday 24th February 2021, 11.15am (day 3,471)

Graveyard, 24/2/21

This little graveyard perches on the hillside, across the valley from my house. With a powerful enough pair of binoculars, it might even be possible to see this diorama from our bedroom window. But until today, it had gone unseen. There’s nothing else to do but explore these nearby hidden corners.

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A veil of cobwebs

Wednesday 20th June 2018, 12.25pm (day 2,491)

Cobwebbed statue, 20/6/18

This statue in St. George’s Fields wears her cobwebs before her like a veil. This park used to be a cemetery: London does give good cemetery, amongst other things (see Highgate). It’s one of my favourite little spots in London but not as tranquil as it could be at the moment thanks to building works, which proliferate, increasingly, everywhere. Maybe that’s why she wears the veil.

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Tuesday 24th October 2017, 10.30am (day 2,252)

Gagarin, 24/10/17

Well, if you hit a theme, sometimes it’s worth continuing it. From yesterday’s post-Soviet-style statuary to the real deal today, the monument on Leninsky Prospekt to Yuri Gagarin, first man in space. Whatever you think of the Soviets’ attitude toward economic issues, it’s hard to deny they did good statuary.

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Monday 23rd October 2017, 7.25pm (day 2,251)

Khatchaturian, 23/10/17

Here I am in Moscow again, a place I seem to find impossible to avoid for very long. But I guess I’ve got used to it down the years. In the centre there remain many picturesque little lanes (flanked by real estate worth billions of roubles, no doubt); here, on an extremely cold evening, I found what looks like a piece of Soviet realist art but this monument was in fact unveiled in 2006. It commemorates the composer Aram Khachaturian — you might not have heard of him, but I virtually guarantee you’d recognise his Sabre Dance.

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Professor Schuster

Tuesday 4th April 2017, 10.45am (day 2,049)

Schuster bust, 4/4/17

Found myself in the Physics and Astronomy building on Manchester today, named for Arthur Schuster, physicist and coiner of the term ‘antimatter’ whose bust in the foyer currently sports a rather fetching pink bow tie and fluffy rabbit ears. And why not.

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