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PaulAA

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  1. PaulAA

    Glasgow School of Art

    There's a film, John, which follows an imaginary flight over the ruins of Warsaw in 1945, for which an electronic model was meticulously built about nine years ago, from as many available image sources as the production team could source. Each building/ruin was created as a 3d digital form (a couple of my staff volunteered to contribute to the modelling) and the effect is quite arresting: The irony is that the old town (visible centre frame at 3.40) was not as badly destroyed as the Muranów district (at 2.30), where the ghetto was located. Here, the occupiers pursued a policy of total destruction and there is practically nothing left of the pre-war city here, nor any attempt to recreate it. In the centre of this district is a rather fine classical revival brick church, which the Germans used as a repository for their stolen goodies and which was virtually the only building to survive more or less intact. At frame 3.08, I live just to the right of this church. For political reasons, the post-war policy of reconstruction looked to create a new, model, city and the reconstruction of the Old Town was a concession which received very little official support. The majority of Warsaw was planned along fanciful (and surprisingly decorative) soviet lines, celebrating both the toil and the art of the common worker. The first communist leader of the country, Bierut, instigated a process of study and design to fulfil this ambition and the administration even published a magnificent tome describing the background and multi-layering of the process and ambition. I managed to get hold of a copy of this book and it really is quite remarkable. Unrealistic, but remarkable. Some parts of the plan were built and these little pockets of 'Social Realism' are much-prized living districts around the city centre, with high ceilings, lots of light and generous public space. The greyness of Warsaw comes from the darker period after Bierut's unexplained death, by which time the coffers had run dry. This period damaged the city irreparably with the creation of huge slab-sided housing estates delivered with little planning sensitivity, and the insertion of the Palace of Culture and the grim central railway station into the city fabric. Paul
  2. PaulAA

    Popping a somewhat different hood

    Ooh, this is good. I bought a Rega Planar 2 in about 1989 and it is still going strong. I lent it to my sister when I moved to PL and keep meaning to reclaim it. She has it mated to my (even older) NAD 3020 and a truly excellent pair of Rogers LS4 speakers. I think for a budget system it doesn't get much better. Over here, I went from NAD to Cambridge Acoustics and back to a budget NAD again - it simply does what it says on the tin. I had a pair of (Danish) Audio Dynamics, which are almost as crisp and rich as the Rogers, but currently have some French thingies, which do not please me. Change is in order and I might simply do a midnight swap with the in-laws, who acquired the A-Ds by default, to replaced their ancient Tonsils. Paul Edit: "... Frenchies thingies..." - it always seems there is some spotty geek in Android HQ, who fiddles with the spell corrector algorithm to his own amusement.
  3. PaulAA

    Glasgow School of Art

    That's not bad, John I can think of much worse examples. In the 'starchitect' league, recent additions to the genre include Liebeskind's Dresden Military Museum (jagged spacecraft crashlands on earth) and Hadid's Antwerp Port House building (blind sea monster humping a piece of classical revivalism), all pressaged by the Oxford Shark, which did it so much better, thirty years ago. It is bad form to speak ill of the recently departed, so I won't mention Will Alsop's Toronto School of Art. When I get to a computer, I will post some pictures. Down in Bavaria, there is a university town, Eichstatt, of fine classical buildings, which was extensively worked on by an architect called Schattner in the '70s and '80s. It is an exemplar of the addition of new to old and a demonstration of what we seem to have lost the courage and skill to achieve in the 2000s...
  4. PaulAA

    Glasgow School of Art

    Both although I am reliably informed that I am better at the latter than the former.
  5. This one's for you, Nick, in the spirit of The Builders, when O'Reilly opines that there is always somebody worse off than yourself and Basil responds "I'd like to meet him. I could do with a laugh." So, not content with being partially burnt down, the Mac has taken the radical step of getting itself burnt down a second time, only this time more successfully. Which has provoked much debate in the effete architect-class about what to do with the still-smouldering ruins. The walls are still standing, but they may not be stable. The building was meticulously surveyed digitally after the last fire and, together with much original documentation, it could be rebuilt in exact detail. Except that it would lack the patina of history and the smell of sweaty student ingrained in the fabric of the building. These days, when architects have a go at replacing an old favourite with something new, the brickbats fly. They seem to be not very good at capturing the public imagination. So there seem to be three distinct choices: - rebuild it exactly as it was on the day it was completed 100-odd years ago. This is the common approach to restoration in much of Europe, perfected and accepted in the wake of WWII. - use the ruins as a memorial and delicately insert something new inside, to emphasise what is original and what is not. - knock it down and start again, preferably with some expensive starchitect flown in for the benefit of his ego... oops, slipped onto a bit of a hobby horse there. Whatever the decision, it will be the wrong one. That is a given. In the meantime, we can mourn the passing of one of Britain's great pieces of late19th/early 20th century architecture. Paul
  6. PaulAA

    Health.....

    I was a fairly regular blood donor until I settled in Poland twenty-odd (or twenty odd...) years ago. The blood of anybody wirh a history of residency in the UK between c.1980 and 1990 (I forget the exact dates, but there is a prescribed time period) is rejected because of a perceived risk of CJD. Paul
  7. PaulAA

    Health.....

    All the best, Nick. Sounds like Auric's aim was good, but Oddjob's bedside manner left something to be desired. Having quipped about wind on Friday, I've just returned from an unscheduled stay in hospital, commencing with an A&E admission on Friday evening with the most excruciating and debilitating pain below my ribcage. A passing event and nothing compared to your experience, but a reminder of the difference between the so-so GP service in Poland and the chaotic but invariably excellent care in hospitals. Paul
  8. PaulAA

    Health.....

    Nick Over-the-counter No-spa (with added Drotaverine!) is excellent at easing the, erm, passage of trapped wind. Usually with amusing polyphonic accompaniment. Paul
  9. PaulAA

    Health.....

    Good man - vodka-martinis all round. Question is, are you up to Pussy Galore?
  10. PaulAA

    Land rover Disco 3 electronic parking brake

    Take heart - LR are transferring Disco production to Slovakia, so quality is bound to improve
  11. PaulAA

    Health.....

    Just a question of whether that searing plasma stream is silicone or mineral-based, eh.........
  12. PaulAA

    Health.....

    Nick All the best, but the guy at the controls does look a little like Auric Goldfinger, no..?
  13. It does indeed - thanks, Kev. Does anybody have an opinion about Bel-Ray DOT 5? It seems to be the only stuff I can get hold of here - twenty-five quid for 2x 360ml. Paul
  14. But not a problem with DOT 5 silicone, which is completely non-hygroscopic and has an almost indefinite service life.
  15. Alan, you card... thing is, I had the remains of a bottle of DOT5 from repairing the damage done after the last Cock-Up (different mechanic, lest rotund, same beaming smile: "I've gone one better than DOT 5 and topped it it with DOT5.1"), but could I find it? I dismantled the whole cellar shelving, car boot, "my" corner of the utility room, etc... nothing, nado. I'm going to buy one of those 'break glass in emergency' cabinets and mount it somewhere prominent. Thanks, Darren - that's helpful. Oddly, I'd assumed that it would be a diagonal split in the braking system, rather than fore-aft. Time to break out the Haynes. Which reminds me of a recurring observation when watching those car porn vids on YT - the ones where Elmer from Arseville dismantles the front end of a Mercedes SLS seemingly without the aid of instructions... does he instinctively know the car this well, or is there a greasy Haynes just out of camera shot..? Paul
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