Thursday, 12 May 2022

whistle-stop tour

Also available in audio form, 99% Invisible presents a thorough-going appreciation of locomotives, ranging from how the dining car gave us the curious dimensions of the diner and a Scott Joplin rag-time composition on the intentional ramming together of two engines and the temporary city that sprung up to watch this train-wreck to theory and praxis of Japanese railways.

Saturday, 23 April 2022

chunnel

Though later inaugurated by the respective heads of state over a century later, on this day in 1867 Queen Victoria and Napoleon III jointly reject a proposal from surveyors and engineers Aimรฉ Thomรฉ de Gamond and Henry Marc Brunel for a mined railway tunnel from Dover to Calais, an idea that was revisited several times before its eventual completion.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

facial recognition

Via Super Punch, we learn that one unique gashapon in Tokyo’s busy Shinjuku station is proving quite popular with commuters for vending capsules with the ID photos of strangers (though ostensibly fellow passengers) over the chance to connect on whatever social level with the crowd, unmasked. Those behind the concept are poised to launch the next series with people submitting their pictures to be added to the anonymous mix.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

rolling stock

Retelling the story of the “Little Engine that Could” with love-interest and with due inspirational credit given to Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, the Andrew Lloyd Weber and Richard Stilgoe musical spectacle with all principals and dancers portraying locomotives on roller skates had its debut on the West End in the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Following a year-long run on Broadway, the show came to the industrial city of Bochum in 1988, and hosted in a custom-built theatre (designed like a skating rink) has become the most attended musical in Germany, still running and seen by over seventeen million. Much more, including the original cast recording of the musical numbers and various performance highlights at the link above.

Monday, 31 January 2022

6x6

christian pirates cable access show: a cavalcade of 1980s cult lunacy  

the conroy virtus: a novel proposal to transport the Space Shuttle that never got off the ground

h salt esq: the fish and chip fast food franchise empire that never quite materialised 

look book: a revival of the conversation pit—see previously  

il fait beau dans l’mรฉtro: a 1977 jingle for the Montrรฉal subway  

chock-a-block: an omnibus round-up of 159 British children’s television programmes you may have forgotten about—see previously

Sunday, 23 January 2022

underground, uniform

A prominent sportswear label has partnered with London’s Public Transport Authority to produce warm-up football kit for a local club inspired by the disruptive moquette used on the Piccadilly Line, whose home pitch is the namesake of one of the route’s stops. More from Dezeen on the design collaboration at the link above.

Friday, 7 January 2022

tetsudล-eki

Via ibฤซdem, we are directed towards a really engaging visualisation of the precision feat of civil engineering behind the transit systems of Tokyo and environs (see also)—animated in realtime (so activity may vary throughout the day) with schedules, further information and street-cams to complement the blocky trains and buildings.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

ferrocarril

Reminding us of the escalator that ascends from the valley to the summit of St Moritz and other similar locomotive attractions, we could appreciate this bit of colourful infrastructure to revitalise an older resort hotel on Gran Canaria without completely razing the existing building. Studio Lopezneeiraciaurri was commissioned to renovate the complex and included a yellow funicular to transport guests up and down, turning this relic from the 1970s into the most modern property around and serving to help us realise that experiential and novel people-movers have an established history as tourist draws.

Friday, 15 October 2021

8x8

day-walker: monster lore invented by Hollywood—via Miss Cellania’s links 

tastes like pencil-shavings and heartbreak: niche Chicago liquor Jeppson’s Malรถrt  

vermithrax pejorative: dress up as Galen (Peter McNicol) from Dragonslayer plus other obscure, vintage costumes—via Super Punch  

modelleisenbahn: real-time model railroading with Hamburg’s transit system—via Maps Mania 

hedge rider: an etymological celebration of wizards, witches, warlocks and more 

๐Ÿ•‰: chanting, harmonised breathing and parasyphonic sounds  

mundane outfits: revisiting a tradition of dressing as highly specific yet relatable, everyday, social faux pas—an unfancy dress ball held in Japan and Taiwan 

the calls are coming from inside the building: a lampoon of the haunted house film trope

Sunday, 10 October 2021

7x7

pov: more superlative drone photography 

true facts: Ze Frank (previously) assays the mosquito 

awesome mix, vol 1 & 2: the video game adaption of Guardians of the Galaxy has a stellar soundtrack  

baby, you are so money and you don’t even known it: a quarter of a century on, in defence of Swingers, the Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau vehicle that has more heart than one might have remembered  

social justice kittens: a 2022 calendar from Liartown, USA (previously)—via Web Curios  

the montauk project: spelunking in the mothballed secretive military base, Camp Hero, that inspired Stranger Things 

hop on, hop off: in honour of the Year of the European Rail, photographer Albert Dros documents his ten-day train journey across the continent

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

peoplemover

As a space-saving and universally-accessible alternative over stairs, underpasses and elevators to ford an obstacle, usually train-tracks, the system invented by engineer Emil Schmid first transports passengers up vertically, sideways and then down again in one fluid motion. A couple of these engineering marvels (see also) remain in operation at Bahnhรถfen in Altbach, near Stuttgart, and in the Rummelsburg district in Berlin. More at Miss Cellania at the link above.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

7x7

pyroclastic flow: paintings of the 1776 eruption of Mount Vesuvius (previously)—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

don jumpedo in the character of harlequin jumping down his own throat: an apology for the man in the bottle

twist and bend: superlative balloon art recreating iconic classics 

eisenbahnbetriebsfeld: a model railway in Darmstadt used to train train traffic-controllers  

store-brand: Kmarto table wine  

licorice pizza: a trailer for a 1970s coming-of-age film set in California’s San Fernando Valley—via Waxy

social justice: artist Kerry James Marshall designs new stained glass windows for Washington’s National Cathedral to replace Confederate ones

Monday, 27 September 2021

l’train ร  grande vitesse


The first public, commercial run of France’s intercity high-speed rail service, TGV, transversing the some three-hundred and seventy kilometres between Paris and Lyon in just under three hours began on this day in 1981 with some seven hundred seventy passengers. To combat the conception that the train was meant to be a premium for business travellers, initially the tickets were offered at the same price as parallel conventional lines, which would have taken the better part of a day to make the crossing, and hailed with the promotional slogan that “Progress means nothing unless it is shared by all.”

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

7x7

lowering the bar: a trial lawyer’s endorsement in a whiskey ad illustrates by-gone regulatory period in the US 

blotter art: an LSD museum in San Francisco 

spraycation: Banksy works appear at UK seaside towns Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft  

middle-age spread: comprehensive study finds metabolism stable throughout life and crashes after sixty—via the New Shelton Wet / Dry  

bureau of land management: a celebration of the striking landscape photography of Bob Wick  

o’zbekiston line: a tour of Tashkent’s underground galleries—see also 

 kriegswaffenkontrollgesetz: gentleman outside of Kiel fined for unregistered Panzer

Monday, 16 August 2021

mind the gap

Featured on Open Culture, we quite enjoyed this audio-sampler of departure and arrivals announcements and assorted warnings, jingles beeps and chimes of mass-transit systems from around the world. While I am grateful for the luxury of choice, I am not quite yet comfortable to go back to taking public transportation regularly but am looking forward riding the bus again and leaving the driving in more capable, punctual hands. Passing by the Bahnhof pretty regularly, I’m often within earshot of the familiar, reassuring bing-boom (I am looking for a single ideophone that embraces all of these automated audio signals) of the train doors closing. Much more at the link up top.  What is your local onomatopoeia?

Monday, 9 August 2021

9x9

form follows function: a Bauhaus poster generator—see previosly—via Kottke 

reddy made magic: a gallery of images plus the Walter Lantz theme song for mascot and industry shill, Reddy Kilowatt   

dining car: vintage railway menus (see also) illustrate the evolution of American cuisine—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

ฮด ฮด ฮด, can I help ya, help ya, help ya: a guide to joining the right sorority this fall  

jeux de la xxxiiie olympiade: the upcoming Paris games will be sustainable and moderately priced—see also  

attention k-mart shoppers: Americans emerge from the pandemic less patient, less empathetic than before and the service industry culture that fuels the cruel fantasy  

cycles pour animaux: a 1907 patent for a bicycle for horses to amplify their speed and le cheval-vapeur 

divergent association task: help science gauge creative reflexes by thinking up ten words as different as possible (in English only for now)  

betaplex: colourful retro cinema space in Ho Chi Mihn City recalls Saigon’s Art Deco architecture

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

on the clock

Through the lens of some of the artefacts of the transitional era when the railways began not only to collapse space but time as well and the attendant need for standardisation and synchronisation 99% Invisible (which one can read or listen to as a podcast) takes us on a tour of some of the remnants and malingerers of that period when the world suddenly grew a lot smaller and more interconnected. Especially notable is the introductory clock of the Corn Exchange in Bristol that made an early concession to locomotion by adding a second minute hand to its face to mark London time, with local time, lagging (see also here and here) by around ten minutes according to the reckoning of high noon. Much more to explore at the links above.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

sleeper car

Via the always interesting Maps Mania, we learn more about the happily resurgent phenomenon of night trains (previously) whose network could once again connect the continent and in response to shifting attitudes, expectations and environmental awareness—including legislation to outlaw short-haul flights where alternative and less polluting modes of conveyance are possible. There’s an informative article and even an interactive route-planner to plan one’s future over-nighter and experience waking up in a new city. 

 

 

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

port authority trans-hudson

Though entertained throughout the 1940s and 1950s as a vehicle for urban renewal and to stimulate development, New York governor Nelson Rockefeller felt he had not gathered the sufficient and sustaining political and public will to sign the bill directing the construction of a World Trade Centre for Manhattan until this day in 1961 and fraught with zoning and controversy, not completed until twelve years later—almost to the day. The project, intended to rehabilitate the Port Authority where ridership was declining, displaced New York City’s Radio Row, a warehouse district that had existed since the 1920s which hosted many electronics goods stores and was a driver of innovation by proximity and saturation as well as affecting many tenants and small businesses in the dense waterfront neighbourhood. Many of the affected protested that the city should have gotten involved in a prestige project masquerading as social stimulus.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

7x7

a tree grows in brooklyn: a map of New York’s great perennials  

no wine before its time: an interview with the director of Orson Welles’ infamous commercial for Paul Masson’s California champagne  

foley artists: the talented individuals who help make supplemental sounds for nature documentaries  

what level of wood panelling is this: McMansion Hell yearbook 1979—previously  

riding the rails: the portfolio of Wang Fuchun (RIP), celebrated photographer best known for capturing the narrative train travel  

schwarzschild radius: the Event Horizon Telescope—previously—takes another picture of the black hole  

hempire state: New York poised to legalise cannabis