Saturday, February 24, 2007

Millbank Tower and MI6 security

St. George WharfChintz is how today's post will start. I'll set the tone by mentioning that a shop down the road from me does massages for babies (I wonder if they finish them off?). This website is a mucho classy advert for the expensive pieces of real estate at St George Wharf (the horrible thing to the left of this paragraph. 'Horrible' puts it a bit strongly as the tiered effect is pleasing to the eye, but the colour and the space age penthouse roofs are like a deranged chess-set let loose on the horizon.)

Last night we went to a new pub across the river from work for Katie's welcome drinks. Disappointing turn out, but an upstairs bar worth visiting; decked out and lit like a ballroom. I left at about 10.30 and took my time walking back to Pimlico tube along the river and across Vauxhall Bridge.

It was then that I had my first brush with the authorities in the course of pursuing the truth behind London planning.


When taking these photos of the MI6 building I was approached by a security guard who asked what I was taking photos of, and why. I simply gave him the honest answer that I write a website documenting changes to the Lonodn skyline, and he seemed happy enough. A more rigourously trained security guard might have questioned me as to what changes to the skyline I had in mind with my ruthless, bomb-laden Terrorist mind (should "Bin Laden" change his name to "Bomb Laden"... for the sake of clarity?), but he was a trusting old soul.
Purple building next to MI6
Purple building next to MI6
I went a bit mad on the whole photographing brightly lit buildings thing. By the end of the walk I was even resorting to photographing dimly lit buildings. Next I'll be cutting the photos with rat poison and Heroin.

So that this post isn't a complete ramble (Like last night's drunken Icke-fest) I will talk a bit about Millbank Tower, where I work. It's much maligned; it's Andrew Marr's least favourite building (but he is a git, so don't take too much notice of what he says). People at work also tend to think it's ugly, but I'm not convinced.

The shape of the building is great, I feel. I've been looking for pictures on the web to illustrate, but no joy. I will have to use words instead: The tower's floorplan is the same shape as a squashed Chewitt. If you squeeze two opposite sides then the other two sides bulge outwards. Every time I notice the Tower's shape I think of squashed chewitts and I wonder if something along these lines was the inspiration for the architects.

Overexposed Millbank TowerThe glazing is admittedly drab and depressing, but that can easily be fixed, as they're doing with the old London Stock Exchange

Here's a few Millbank facts I've gleaned:
  • The Labour Party, contrary to popular perception, never occupied any space in the tower itself; the party rented two floors of the base at the south of the site.
  • The Conservatives now plan to move in (I'm already planning how I can subtly piss David Cameron off in the lift.)
  • The BBC ran an obituary when Labour left millbank, even though the'd only been there about 4 years!
  • The tower inspires people to take photos with the camera held at strange angles. One photo inspred this comment: "I really regret not buying that bag when I saw it yonkage ago!" Quite!
  • The arials and dishes on top of the Tower appeared in the "guesswhereLondon" Flickr challenge thing.


Sweetpea15 said...

Welcome to the world of blogging little bro :-) I know it's a bit late, but then you've only just told me about it.
Haven't had a chance to read much yet, but I love what I have read so far, in fact it has brightened up my morning no end. You really do have a way with words that I can only dream of ever achieving.
I love the photo's too, are they all your work? if so they're amazing, is there no end to your talent?

Jenny said...

Who thinks Millbank Tower's ugly? Give me their names and I'll go and beat them up. I think it looks pretty striking from a distance, particularly from Lambeth Bridge.

Some people who work here have been known to call it the Tower of Doom, though.

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