Thursday, 22 October 2009

Watching Me, Watching You

Took these photos. Seems that whenever you turn a corner in Blighty these days there's guaranteed to be a camera and a several technicolour signs. No impact on violent crime/ arrest rates.

In modern Britain, it is regarded as a sign of mental illness to have a hobby, so needless to say, numerous blazer clad types and traffic wardens give funny looks to the nutter who snaps Masonic symbols and CCTV cameras with his own camera. One thing I've discovered is that they loose interest in their self-appointed civic duty to monitor conformity levels if you sing doo wop songs. Just murmur 'white port'n' lemon juice, whoo what it do to you' and they quickly start minding their own business.

Whether they've decided I'm harmless or that they risk GBH by monitoring my behaviour, I don't know.

Anyway, in some cases the metaphors are better than I could have imagined. I especially like the one of the gargoyle under the CCTV (never noticed the gargoyle before; I suppose as a horrific protrusion it can't compete with the concrete and polymer 'makeover' the highstreet had)). I liked the one as well of the camera and the model, symbolising how our society is so narcissistic and obsessed with beauty that we are oblivious to the harsh reality. There is something tragicomic about the boarded up little shack with the CCTV sign outside it. It seems a perfect symbol of Britain: the tinpot spirit on a dilapidated shack.


  1. Nice work, Gregor. Personally, the cameras don't bother me but the fact that others like yourself object to them is fair enough, I'd say.

    There is a fair bit of irony that in the square named after George Orwell in Barcelona there is a CCTV camera installed there. It was (and still seems to be) a bit of a popular spot for drug dealing.

  2. Thank you for your comment Brett. I object to CCTV surveillance on principle, yet what really strikes one in modern Britain is just how many cameras there are. In this small town, I don't think that there is a street without a sign.

  3. What exactly is the principle that you hold that is the reason for your objection to the cameras, Gregor?

    I'm not sure why, but I have a slight uneasiness about them but it is not strong enough to lead me to really oppose them. It is the potential for their misuse that is the strongest argument but I'm still not sure why you are so disturbed by them and their number.

    I think that they are no real deterrent to crime but can be useful in prosecuting cases that might have been impossible to prove.

  4. Hi Brett
    I think that people should have a right to walk around without being monitored. We are given our freedom by God and who is to take that freedom away from us?

    Most footage is very poor quality so far, but I think that having so many cameras and signs is a symbol that the state has given itself the right to monitor us.

    But I find it intrinsically creepy: it is like having a stalker.

  5. Do you have the sense that god is watching you too?

  6. Absolutely. He wouldn't be God otherwise. Yet it is different from CCTV cameras.

  7. Because CCTV cameras can be used to enforce whatever man regards as moral and normal (CfHitler/Stalin), whilst God loves all and judges us by our capacity to change and love rather than our capacity to conform and do good.

    Furthermore God is perfect, whilst man is a deeply imperfect creature.

    Probably there is not much of value to say to someone who doesn't believe in God to explain why it is that one can be extremely private and love freedom yet accept that we are always scrutinised and will ultimately be judged.

  8. I was planning to publish something similar on my blog, after checking all the CCTV cameras that I photographed in the UK...

    I will surely link to this page :-)

    This obsession with surveillance is one of the most frightening aspects of contemporary Britain...

  9. @Bogdan
    Great to hear from you as always. The thing is that up north it has changed drastically, even since you were here!!!!

    How greatly I think we'll be punished for putting our trust in princes, the sons of men.

  10. Things have changed (for the worse) even in the past 15-18 months???

    I remember having noticed (and writing so on my blog), that in the Scottish Highlands there were not as many cameras as in other parts of Britain.

    It seems this is no longer true :-(

  11. Dearest Bogdan
    I'm now a proud Nonos!!!!!!!!!!

    I'll try and email some pictures.

    As for the cameras, sadly, Inverness is now saturated with CCTV; often they are in the silliest places as well.

    Best wishes