Blog archive July 2009
this evening on the tube, an indian guy with three dissimilar bags got on and put one on the seat next to him [it was full of prescription drugs]. some tourists got on and all found a seat except one woman. suddenly a bald white man sitting opposite the indian guy said loudly "take your bag off the seat so the lady can sit down" and started to rebuke him "this is england and in this country we take our bags off seats for ladies". the indian guy became quite irate and yelled back "english people don't speak to others like that". they traded variations on this at increasing volume. the woman was embarrassed and moved away. and i thought to myself, in england if someone's bag is on the seat we look at them disapprovingly but say nothing for fear of causing an embarrassing scene. but of course i said nothing.
just trying moblogging from my new lg km900 iphone clone. Last time i attempted this was in 04 when i couldn't get the email-enabled components to line up. It awaited touchscreen browser enabled phones. The hardest part now is zooming the screen to touch the little links.
my new nooka watch reminds me of 'paradigm' by pippo lionni:
the large dots are the hours, and the horizontal bar consists of thin vertical lines each representing one minute, with small dots giving five minute intervals - so the exact time can be read. but i tend to just glance at the proportion of the hour remaining, as one reads the angle of a traditional minute hand. an analogue clock face is an efficient use of a clockwork mechanism, but the dot-matrix and linear readout could always have been done mechanically - one imagines a medieval version where the hours are rotating pictures of the twelve apostles, and the linear display is a pilgrimage of animals. but really i was just after something futuristic.
i wasn't allowed to stay up in the small hours to watch it live, but i remember coming downstairs as early as possible in my pyjamas to watch the fuzzy grey shapes bounce around on the screen. [the step onto the surface happened at 3.56am british summer time, hence the date of this blog post.] and then they went to bed in the lunar module, and we had breakfast.
on june 24th i was passing the guildhall on my way back to the office, and paused to photograph the brutalist wing which i've always liked. then i noticed the harry potter style dudes under the porch. moments later the lord mayor and his entourage arrived in three rolls royces. notices in the courtyard told me that this was for the annual election of sheriffs. i moved as close as i dared to take photos, and when they'd entered i turned my attention to the rolls royces.
There are two Sheriffs of the City of London. The Sheriffs are elected annually by the Liverymen of the Livery Companies, and it is a requirement for a Lord Mayor of the City of London to previously have served as a Sheriff. They are elected at the Midsummer Common Hall by the Liverymen by acclamation unless a ballot is demanded from the floor which takes place within 14 days.
The title of Sheriff, or "Shire Reeve", evolved during the Anglo-Saxon period of English history; the Reeve was the representative of the king in a city, town or shire, responsible for collecting taxes and enforcing the law. By the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, the City of London had Sheriffs, usually two at a time; the Sheriffs were the most important city officials and collected London's annual taxes on behalf of the royal exchequer; they also had judicial duties in the City's law courts. Until 1130, the sheriffs were directly appointed by the king; however, London gained a degree of self-government during the 12th century, including the right to choose its own Sheriff, a right which was affirmed in an 1141 charter by King Stephen.
In 1189, an annually elected mayor was introduced as chief magistrate for the City of London (along the lines of some European cities of the time such as Rouen and Liege); this change was reaffirmed by a charter granted by King John in 1215. As such, the Sheriffs were relegated to a less senior role in the running of the city, and became subordinate to the mayor. However, the mayor (later Lord Mayor of the City of London) generally served as sheriff before becoming mayor, and in 1385 the Common Council of London stipulated that every future Lord Mayor should "have previously been Sheriff so that he may be tried as to his governance and bounty before he attains to the Estate of Mayoralty"; this tradition continues to this day.
it's good to be working in the city again. i realise how much it's inspired the smallritual.org urban spirituality stuff, most obviously this.