Archive for Gherkin

9. The Chrysler Building

Posted in 12 Days of Johnny Mackintosh, Buildings, New York with tags , , , , , on January 3, 2010 by keithmansfield

“We’re in the Chrysler Building – Nymac owns the top few floors.” p. 118

My favourite building in London is obviously the Gherkin; in New York it’s the gorgeous Chrysler Building. I took these pictures on my phone when last there in summer 2009. Some action in Johnny Mackintosh: Star Blaze takes place inside the building but, try as I might, I was only able to spend time in the lobby.

To be sure I gave a reasonable description of the upper floors, it was fascinating to read about the building and its construction which briefly led this architectural wonder to become the world’s tallest (overtaking the Eiffel Tower), before its ugly nearby sister took over. The spire on top of the building was constructed in secret inside the main body, and only revealed and added on once a nearby building, also attempting to become the world’s biggest, was completed.

The art deco Chrysler building has beautiful gargoyles and its radiator grill top section. Nowadays, builders rarely leave room for either design or craftsmanship – I can’t fathom how some of London’s skyscrapers are allowed to be put up when their simply steel and glass cuboids. If something’s to dominate a city, it’s got to be worth looking at. As I sit at my desk writing this, I have the lights of the Gherkin in front to the left and those of the newer Bishopsgate tower on the right. Sadly, some very dull buildings are going up in between, but at least they won’t obscure the view.

2. London Gherkin/Spirit of London

Posted in 12 Days of Johnny Mackintosh, Space, star blaze with tags , , , , on December 27, 2009 by keithmansfield

“When on Earth, Johnny’s ship took the place of the real Gherkin and stood at the heart of London’s financial district”, p. 3

Welcome to the second day of Johnny Mackintosh. I took this shot with a disposable camera flying into London City Airport. Even though the photo doesn’t do it justice, I’ve cropped it to include the Bishopsgate Tower (a new skyscraper at the very top of the picture) which, from many vantage points on the ground, looks curiously two-dimensional.

When I was writing Johnny Mackintosh: Star Blaze, I’d often work long into the night, say until three or four in the morning. Bishopsgate Tower was being built at the time and glancing up from my notebook I’d see the lights from welder’s torches sparkling in different places through the dark.

Of course the best thing about the photo is the great view of the Spirit of London (I made sure I snapped this when Johnny and Clara were here on Earth, so the original London Gherkin has been folded away into hyperspace and what you’re seeing is Johnny’s actual spaceship). She is magnificent and doesn’t look out of place anywhere in the galaxy.

Now we’re two days after Christmas I’d suggest getting to work on those thank you letters so you’ve plenty of time for reading once Star Blaze comes out. Tomorrow, we’ve back in space but very, very nearby.

The Twelve Days of Johnny Mackintosh

Posted in Book news with tags , , , on December 2, 2009 by keithmansfield

Johnny Mackintosh: Star Blaze publishes on 7th January 2010. Traditionally, the twelve days of Christmas run through to January 6th, by which point the decorations have come down and it’s all well and truly over. Don’t despair. What more exciting thing to look forward to than a new book?

To get readers in the mood for the next instalment of Johnny and Clara’s adventures, I’ve created a series of twelve images that give the flavour running through the new story. Of course they won’t give anything away, but they’ll run sequentially through the new book, giving an idea of where my two heroes end up. I’ll be posting them, with an accompanying explanation, every day from Boxing Day through to 6th January. After you’ve unwrapped all your presents and eaten enough turkey that you’re fit to burst, make sure you drop in here on 26th December to witness the new story begin to unfold.

The image here gives you an indication of what to expect, but I’ve since replaced it with a better one. This superimposes one of my photos of the Spirit of London (some readers may think it’s the London Gherkin) against a Hubble Space Telescope star field.

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