Friday, January 26, 2007


"... in which I was foorth growne; and more kindely love have I to that place than to any other in yerth ..."
- Geoffrey Chaucer (The Testament of Love).
I was born in London back in the days when everything was brown and orange, when winter's fulfilled their promise of snow and a half pence was valued currency in any sweetshop. We were still at risk of being washed away with the evening tide because there was no Thames Barrier. I would later stand beside General Wolfe (Admiral to me) looking out over the city as the docklands took shape and from the art room of a sixth form college I watched Canary Wharf gradually take its place on the city's skyline, slowly rising against a montage of setting suns.

Somewhere beneath my feet there lay Jack Cade's Cavern, rumored to contain an effigy of the Horned God. And he sounded like a reasonable chap to me...
"And here, sitting upon London-stone, I charge and command that, of the city's cost, the pissing-conduit run nothing but claret wine this first year of our reign."
- Henry VI, part 2, Act IV, Scene VI (Shakespeare.... from whom we also get the line "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers")
Through my college years that pissing-conduit ran more than just claret wine. I liked my stories of rebellion, but I loved more, and still love, the city that lay hidden beneath the streets.

At the end of 2001 I traded London for Nottingham. A city also filled with local legends of revolution and highwaymen and with history beneath its streets. I've been back to London on occasion, mostly for work meetings, but I have not traveled underground since 2001 (opting instead to walk from St. Pancras, over the River Fleet, to Soho via the British Museum... and Gosh! comics of course). I've been on the District Line, when I visited my mother with my wife and son (in September I think it was) last year, but the District line isn't quite like the Northern Line or the Victorian Line which takes you right down into the belly of the beast.
"Hell is a city much like London - A populous and smoky city."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley.
So I hopped on the Victoria line to get to a meeting regarding a project I can't talk about. Gone was the daily ritual of squeezing onto one of these tube trains in the morning and at the end of the day, each day, and I couldn't be more glad of that. I was so out of practice with it all I even forgot how to use the ticket machines, much to the delight of the people behind me.

After the meeting I then wandered over to Picasso Pictures to say hello to everyone at HQ there. It was lovely to see familiar faces once again, people, though I work with on a regular basis, I miss the company of. I've been a director there for almost 10 years now, and most of us have got married, had children, all that sort of thing. It feels like family. I was also pleased to finally meet new people I'd only ever spoken to on the phone (as many meetings are conducted via conference calls). On my journey home I realized that whilst I may have left London, London hasn't left me.

One final touch of nostalgic bliss for me this week arrived on Thursday when I started experimenting with textures for 3D elements in Flash. The images below are part of an animated flyby imported straight into Flash from Swift 3D. It is something I have wanted to do since I first saw the Battle of Yavin in Star Wars: A New Hope. There's something rather therapeutic about making planets, albeit as simple as the results I've achieved are (this is just a small step in a new direction for me; I can't wait to get properly stuck into star maps and heavenly nebulae). I think I now see what Slartibartfast* saw in it all.

*no prizes for guessing the link between Slartibartfast and the Battle of Yavin.


Andrew Glazebrook said...

The Death Star has cleared the Planet,the Death Star has cleared the planet !

I do like your planets,only in pics like this can planets be so damn close to each other and look right ! :)

I. N. J. Culbard said...

Many thanks. Worlds collide!!! Something about the color of the main planet and the blue tinted star map reminds me of the 1950's.

Andrew Glazebrook said...

Yeah it has a very Forbidden Planet,When Worlds Collide era look !! Sweet work !