So when are you going to let me in?


One of our cats, who sometimes thinks that using the cat-flap is beneath her dignity and comes onto the kitchen windowsill demanding to be let in. She has clearly been reading PG Wodehouse, who argued that the reason cats have such a superior attitude is that they know that the ancient Egyptians worshipped them as gods.

Phones, photography and the Snapchat factor

This morning’s Observer column:

Living and working, as I do, in a historic city that is swamped by tourists in the summer, I regularly get the opportunity to do some photo-ethnography. You can tell someone’s age by the kind of camera they are using. Elderly folks are still using point-and-shoot compacts. Middle-aged folks are sporting “prosumer” digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) from Canon, Nikon, Fuji and Panasonic. But as far as I can see, everyone under the age of 25 is using a smartphone, possibly with the assistance of a selfie stick.

This is partly because the main reason young people take photographs is to post them on social media, and smartphones make that easy to do. But that’s not the whole story. Those who are more serious about photography tend to upload their pictures to photo-hosting services such as Flickr. Guess what the most popular camera for Flickr members is? Apple’s iPhone – by a mile… Read on

Ludwig’s shadow

Ludwig's shadow-blogsize

Ludwig Wittgenstein is buried in Ascension churchyard, and his grave is visited by many people every year. The old gravestone was very worn and it’s been replaced with this appropriately austere one.

Larger size here

CORRECTION A learned reader emails to say that “it’s the original stone, not a replacement. But it looks quite different in its restored state and, especially, with the lettering picked out in black. An exhaustive account of the restoration can be found here“.

I’ve also discovered that I didn’t know the difference between a gravestone and a ledger stone :-( It’s such a salutary thing to have smart readers.

Just one (more) Cornetto

Just one Cornetto _ blogsize

Venice, Friday.

I never see a gondola without thinking of that ludicrous (but very funny) ad for Cadbury’s Walls Cornetto ice-creams. On my first visit to Venice, years ago, I was walking along an alleyway when I heard someone singing ‘O Solo Mia’ in the distance. I came round a corner, found myself at a canal and there was a gondolier singing to his American tourist clients as he punted them round the city. For a moment, I thought I must be hallucinating. But it was real: parody made flesh.

The guy on Friday wasn’t singing. Mercifully.

Larger version here.