Friday, 7 October 2016


Off to Cordoba, which is a short train ride from Seville. Like much of this part of Spain it resembles Morocco, but less hardcore. It is searingly, bakingly, shakingly hot in October, as if designed to weed out and evaporate any British people who visit the place, but I am made of sterner stuff, and furthermore I have a sun hat.

I laugh at the sun! Because I have a sun hat. The sun has made the planet Venus inhospitable to all known forms of life but it has no power over my head. The atmosphere of Venus is hot and full of carbon dioxide. Imagine you're trying to get to sleep, but it's cold, so you pull the blankets over your head, but then you have to make an air channel so you can breathe, and then periodically Soviet space probes invade your blanket. That's what Venus is like.

I have found that if I tip my sun hat at women and call them "m'lady" they enjoy that - they laugh and laugh, and laugh. I have some advice - instead of directly asking women if they have a boyfriend, ask them a question about their boyfriend. e.g. "You are very attractive, YOUR BOYFRIEND is a lucky man".

If it turns out that they don't have a boyfriend, follow them around until you become their boyfriend. It has not worked for me yet, but there are still some places where the local police do not recognise me.

The Kodak sign has become a legacy symbol, akin to the floppy disk icon

In the limited time I had in Cordoba I made a beeline for the main event, which is the Mezquita. This is a fascinating building. It's a former mosque with a cathedral built in the middle of it. One moment you're walking through a forest of pillars, the next moment you are confronted with a cathedral.

The effect is striking. I'm not sure it works. The cathedral is very tall but not very large, and when I was there the whole place was packed with tourists, including me, although of course I am a traveller, because I rough it, e.g. I wash my socks in the hotel sink. I am better than the other people. On a scale of ten, I am seven or eight out of ten - they are three, or fewer.

As in the previous post I used a Fuji S5 and a Peleng fisheye lens and some software. The lighting conditions made me wish that Fuji had persisted with the S5's SuperCCD SR sensor. Even at ISO 1600 the camera can retain highlights like nobody's business, but it gets very noisy. Alas the S5 was the end of the line. It has aged well, resolution notwithstanding.

I'm in two minds as to whether a tripod makes a person a tourist or a traveller. On the one hand a tripod is genuinely useful, on the other hand it smacks of trying too hard. It's the kind of thing a landscape photographer might carry around, and no-one wants to be a landscape photographer. They're nerds.

Furthermore the combination of rigidity and mass required by a decent tripod makes it difficult to transport a tripod abroad, and of course most places frown on tripods. I remember trying to set one up in the toilet of a Burger King on the Edgware Road, and despite the fact that there were no signs forbidding tripods the security guard insisted that I leave. This was when I still had trouble with the old drink. We're friends now.

But if God had intended for mankind to remain sober, why did he make the world so bad?

This is snek. He's just outside Seville's Santa Justa train station and has presumably been around since 2010. I wonder what graffiti artists think about council-endorsed graffiti. The council tends to pick the most skillful artists, and their work persists for several years - but graffiti is a transient art form, and without constant regeneration and replacement it loses its power to shock, it becomes part of the furniture, unnoticed, anonymous.