On Monday, in the Guardian, I read Charlie Brooker’s piece about having a security block put on his credit card by his bank while he was in New York. This has happened to me before, so I went into a Nat West branch to tell them that I’d be going away to Mexico. The Nat West woman told me that she weas sorry, there’s nothing she can do to stop the security block because the process is automated, so even if I tell them that I’m going away, they can’t do anything to stop it blocking my card. Joy. I’m now looking forward to that nice, lovely, expensive, and utterly avoidable phone call that I’ll have to make. Grrrr. So I decided to get some Mexican money while in London.
After trekking all over Soho trying to find a Bureau de Change that stocks pesos and coming away empty-handed, I went east to the fancy financial area where I found one almost instantly. I’ve only ever been to that area of London once in my life, back when I was on a college trip and we went to look at the then-fairly new Lloyd’s Building.
But, as I’m sure most Londoners are sick to death of hearing about, there’s a newer, fancier building just around the corner at 30 St Mary Axe, which is a pretty damn cool address, and far nicer-sounding than The Gherkin, especially ’cause it looks absolutely nothing like a gherkin; if anything, I’d be tempted to nickname it The Pine Cone. And it’s a building that’s made its mark on the London skyline and, I guess, will be something that is a nice shorthand silhouette that says “London,” just as the London Eye does. It’s amazing, really, that two such new structures have so easily slipped into the skyline; it makes me wonder if the London skyline was graphically weak one before.
To tell the truth, I’m not really a big fan of this building when seen from a distance on the skyline, but after seeing shots of it close up and from ground level on David Dimbleby’s wonderful series “How We Built Britain,” I was intrigued enough to take a look for myself.
And from the street, I think it looks rather nice indeed.
I also went back to have a proper look at that building I took pictures of the other day, that several commenters helpfully identified as “Space House” at 1 Kemble Street. It looked even nicer today with sunlight on it and a slightly darker sky behind.
And this is how it looks from the end of the street, near Covent Garden.
And here’s a graffiti-ed sign on the same street that made me chuckle guiltily.
So, in 24 hours I’ll be on the aeroplane. Just gotta pick up a few last things, have a haircut, and have a goodbye drink with a few friends. Next update will likely be from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Adios, for now.