Friday, March 31, 2006

Blue is a very sensual, indulgent colour, one that Klein used well. Some people say it's unfair of artists to use it because it's so eye-catching, too easy. The above, I believe, was not intended primarily as art, just plain bog-standard tiling in a public toilet, but they still went the extra inch by putting black filler in the gaps. White, cheaper, would have looked horrid. Someone deserves praise. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Winter comes to an end, the slush begins. For the next month or so, Estonians will wander the streets with soggy socks as cars squirt fountains of grey snow soup from rutted roads and muddied puddles. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

And at the other end of the scale: modern, unlovely, cold and military, the pure-line school of architecture. Why? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Not really sure about this one. My SO (significant other) thinks it's Russian-style, and maybe it is. I am not at all qualified to pronounce on architectural niceties like this. Decorative wooden houses do seem to be the norm in northern countries... Other than that? Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 27, 2006

Another building in Kadriorg Park, this time not residential: it's one of the past gatekeeper's lodges (is it? asks my lady friend Actually I don't know, but that's what it looks like and that's what the book now says). Today, ahem, I think, it's used by one of the Tallinn art museum departments. Well, the one on the other side of the road is, that I know: it's one of the restoration division's premises (confirmed by lady friend, can't be wrong). Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Somewhere in between are the old wooden houses that Estonians still love. "They're warmer," they say, "they breathe". Possibly. Despite the flammability, they are very appealing, if they're kept up well. This one, in Kadriorg Park, is. So is its freshly-painted next-door neighbour (awaiting fairer weather for photo session). More anon. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Same building, from the other side. Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 24, 2006

And as to whether the new spoils the old, it depends on the old. Many of the central Tallinn buildings were put up for their functional, rather than aesthetic, qualities. In today's architecture, like it or not, the aim is to combine the two, generally successfully. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 23, 2006

This is the Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Luckily, Soviet alternative competence reconfigured the directive to mow down the old town and build workers' (was it?) housing or other proletarian delights, and the old town remains. Generally, with one or two minor glitches, the "town" has managed to preserve its heritage well, and the new buildings that go up down-town go down well. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tallinn, like many other former Eastern-bloc cities, is building like crazy. The town centre has 8 skyscraper projects at various stages of advancement, and residential buildings are springing up everywhere. Caveat emptor.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

An empty bottle. The French, for fairly obvious reasons, have a word for it: "cadavre". Seems also there's a new drug going around, purer, better refined, a killer. My neighbour found a body in the park while jogging last week. Choose your speed.
What's wrong with "Blog This!" these days? Anyone know? Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 20, 2006

Try again. I already uploaded this photo a few hours ago, but Picasa's been malfunctioning the past few days. Can't recall what I said, but basically it was to show that not all's gloom and frozen toes round here. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Estonians are a tree-loving, tree-hugging and tree-burning people. Like smokers obliged to carry cartons of snout about in their shirt pockets, Estonian drivers make sure they're never without... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I now have 3708 photos of specifically Tallinn icicles (group and individual portraits), but not all are satisfactory, by far. This one, on the other hand, is a new species as yet undescribed by science. I therefore wish to name it a pokucle in honour of Edgar Valter, Estonian artist and story-teller, who died 4th March 2006 at the age of 76. One of his best-known works, the Pokuraamat, the Poku Book, describes the life and adventures of the little people of south Estonia who live inside sedge grass, the Pokus. This is what I imagine they look like in winter if, by chance, they come to town. Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 17, 2006

After months of hardship traipsing across the bleak and barren landscapes of downtown Tallinn, I have come to the tragic, but oh so human, conclusion that there's no such thing as the perfect icicle. Nevertheless, as my own small contribution to iciclology, I offer the present specimen. Today was one of Estonia's first days of thaw (the local weather has a very hesitant personality, changing its mind more often than I my socks), and the sun shone lazily over the spires and other pointy rooves to sculpt the present set of celestial dentures. Tomorrow, 'twill be gone. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Moon, almost full. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Not that I'm religious, far from it, but I really love the trompe-l'oeil of flatness the spire gives, just like some of those corner buildings in France. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

It has been calculated that the concrete used to construct the Itaipu dam in Brazil (one of the seven wonders of the technological world, no less) is enough to build a staircase 82 cm wide, bannisters and all, to reach the moon. Why bother? Isn't it always a matter of perspective? Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 13, 2006

Yes, it's FIBIT! Fashion Is Back In Tallinn. Estonia, land of blondes (among other things, of course) and one of the highest ratios of models per capita (or should it be per corpora) in the world, puts on regular fashion shows to entertain its malling masses.
Here we are in the recently-constructed Viru Keskus (or Viru Shopping-Centre, Viru being a poetic/archaic/mythological name for the country in question), acme of human evolution, the sanitised and insect-pure jungle of our desires. Spend! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 12, 2006

After the string of W&Ws, a few in colour are needed. This one comes from behind the local supermarket one late summer late afternoon.
It's also a delaying tactic: I'm trying to find the perfect icicle. It's hard. Getting the light shining in the right direction where the best ones grow precisely in the shade is tricky indeed. But I persevere. Patience please. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Since I'm on a food binge, this here is Mannavaht: an Estonian delicacy made from a mixture of fruit juice such as apple, cranberry or black chokeberry (the latter not very pleasant, leaves dry taste in mouth), water, manna-croup semolina all whipped up together and eaten with milk. QED. Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 10, 2006

Joyeux anniversaire!
Joyeux anniversaire!!
Joyeux anniversaire Eric et son ParisDailyPhoto blooooo-og!!!
Joyeux anniversaire! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Another snowy day and the sun in my eyes. The cold is a fiction that kills: beautiful, pure and pitiless. From a distance, from a photo, there is even a sense of warmth. Tonight, off to buy nappies for my baby, I walked out gloveless. There was no wind and, being otherwise suitably dressed, my body felt warm even. Less than five minutes later, my hands were in pain. Gloves on. Still, I love it. And nature, our environment, is the hand that sculpts us. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The rumours of Madonna camping in Kadriorg Park are just that: rumours. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

You guessed: I love the snow. Actually, I was on my way to Siberia when I got waylaid in Estonia. But I love the heat too, so warmer climes will give their warmer pix...
This is also in the park where I live, Kadriorg, but in the other direction - townwards - to the picture posted Sunday. Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 06, 2006

More snow, with grafitti. Posted by Picasa