Finally, after a month, I went back to work today. I was to report to the Control Room to pick up my new security pass. Given what happened last time, I didn’t hold out a lot of hope. At least I knew to get a temporary pass from security this time.
So, like the simple fool I am, I walked into the security room and asked if my pass was there. The pleasant enough guy tells me I’ll have to go and ask in the actual Control Room. I have no idea what the difference in the two security rooms is. I went anyway. Here I was told there was no pass waiting for me. I smiled a smile that hopefully conveyed the fact that I was not at all surprised. I was told to return to the security room.
Once there, the pleasant guy gives me a reassuring smile and then hands me a daytag – it will get me everywhere I have to go, it just doesn’t have my name and photo on it. I thanked him and went downstairs.
When I told Nick he was surprised. I told him there was no need to be, recalling what happened last time. He told me the guy had reassured him it would be there. I told him that’s what happened last time.
Anyway, I left Nick to fire off all manner of emails regarding my lost pass and set to work. It’s been so long, my password had expired! Not that that is the problem it once was. I went back into the world of shipping.
Possibly the most interesting thing I discovered today was the fact that Apple didn’t have the first App Store in London. This honour goes more deservedly to one Alfred Apps, an optical engineer and instrument maker, whose shop was at 433 The Strand back in the 1870s. His shop was called Apps and people would go to him for precision instruments.
I couldn’t find a lot of information on Alfred but his shop was quite popular. He made a few one off jobs for inventors which eventually found their way into the Science Museum as well as the usual across the counter stuff. Other than Alfred, there wasn’t really anything else to write home about.
At lunchtime I popped over to the V&A which was surprisingly crowded. I wanted to check out the new David Bowie exhibition but I couldn’t find it. I did, however, find this little chap.
Meet Death as a Drummer. Hideous but enjoying himself thoroughly, by the looks of it. It was made by a German chap called Joachim Henne in around 1675, give or take a decade either way. It’s made of elephant ivory and is about five inches high. It’s amazingly intricate.
Death has been quite a popular subject for artists down through the centuries. There’s a theory that great calamities like plague, famine or war (I assume our drummer is a war one) can result in a sudden jump in instances of him appearing. It’s interesting that for the Aids epidemic of the 1990s, death as the grim reaper was used in TV advertising. I guess it shows how universal the image is.
We’ve seen a lot of death images (not just Satan or hell) when visiting churches in Europe and he’s nearly always smiling. It’s nice to see someone who enjoys his work so much. However, what I don’t understand is who is he in a western religious sense? God, Satan, Jesus, angels I understand but Death? It’s bad enough that God says that people shouldn’t pray to anyone except for him and then adds the holy trinity and a whole bunch of saints and angels and the virgin Mary, without including a physical condition such as Death. It smacks of iconography of the worst kind if you ask me.
Okay, death comes to us all but then so does birth. I’ve never seen an artistic representation of some strange figure purporting to be Birth. At least I’m not aware of it if I have. Given that Death is more often represented during the bad times, you’d think that old Birth would be there for the good. Though, as we all know, religion tends not to dwell on the good things too much.
I’m thinking that Birth could be represented as an egg with arms and legs and a jolly round face…a bit like Humpty Dumpty. Actually, entirely like Humpty Dumpty. Well, before he falls off the wall, of course.
But enough of such silly things…on the way back across the road I spotted a new sculpture by Tony Cragg (I mentioned him a while back – the one’s with the big globs of caramel and chocolate). It is called Ferryman. I can’t explain it.
And then, as if by some odd, divine coincidence, I saw a poster outside a church on the way home. It was one of those cheesy ones that’s not quite funny and not quite cute but trying to be on both counts. It was a picture of a very cute squirrel with the words “God is nuts about you” written next to it.
At first I inwardly groaned…nuts, squirrel, yeah, ha, ha. But then I thought about it. Is the poster saying that God is a squirrel and we are all his nuts? Because if that’s the case, we all know what squirrels do with nuts. They either bury them or eat them.
It made me shiver…and steer clear of any squirrels I saw as I walked home through the park.