Light & Dark

by neel

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Presenting lighting, theatre and weather: formerly from the hills of Yorkshire, with bits and pieces of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and trips to Edinburgh; when the music stops, where will neel end up?
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Weblog: Enlightening Times
Email: neil at notlikecalvin dot com

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Scottish Parliament

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M'good friend Kat and me wandered down the Royal Mile to visit our local Democracy Centre.

Apart from this quite-famous side of the building that houses the MSP's offices, the outside of the Parliament really isn't up to much; even the public lobby on the inside (once through metal detectors and luggage scanners) is more gloomy than groovy.

But our advice is to front the cash for the guided tour and get to see all the really quite funky interior spaces. Sadly there's some conflicting opinions/signage over whether or not you're allowed to take photos, so this and some of the rather minimal frontage is all I got.

But the inside is fab.

beth says:

woah that's crazy

20th Jul 2005, 21:56

Helen says:

Very nice.

[Rotates the PowerBook to cover all angles.]

Beth spots me and says: "Are you looking at neel's picture?"

20th Jul 2005, 21:56

Helen says:

OK, I give in... what are they?

(Balconies? Gated windows?)

(I preferred it sideways.)

20th Jul 2005, 21:57

neel says:

They are, according to the architect, "contemplation pods": each of the 208 (I think) MSP's-who-aren't-a-minister gets one in their office to sit in and think about how to make things better.

Famously, they were one of the "controversies" (in the eyes of the Scotsman newspaper group, at least) surrounding the construction of the building, in that the window seat isn't quite designed for those elected representitives of, shall we say, ample girth.

20th Jul 2005, 22:06

neel says:

Rotational note for any Sony Ericsson engineers reading:

The K700i, unlike the T610 (as so many of these negative points seem to be), will only let you rotate images in-phone just after you've taken the picture - once you save it the 'rotate' option is greyed out. This is bobbins, especially when you're shooting quickly to find a perfect angle/exposure, and results in me sending stuff to moblog without rotating it first. Sort it aaagght!

20th Jul 2005, 22:10

Helen says:

Ah, size-ism.

I quite fancy a contemplation pod. I think most MPs could do with spending quite-a-bit-of-time in contemplation pods.

I'm rather pleased that the answer to my question was as good as that.

20th Jul 2005, 22:10

neel says:

You can book tours, etc, at So there.

In particular, they were keen to point out the goings-on of the Petitions Committee, which seems to be a reasonably unique political thingie as democracies go.

20th Jul 2005, 22:14

Helen says:

Well, if I ever get up there.

I have been on a tour of The Houses of Parliament. And had dinner on the terrace (I took the last strawberries much to Betty Boothroyd's disdain, I felt bad).

20th Jul 2005, 22:18

Helen says:


The goverment must be keeping it to themselves.

20th Jul 2005, 22:18

JudgeTredd says:

nice. that's the face of scottish self government then. gosh. i'm filled with confidence. looks really traditional like it's been established since robert the bruce, who incidentally must be really proud. or they could have saved the money on artists/architects and actually used all of the scottish tax payers pounds to run a government for scottish people sensibly. there you go....

20th Jul 2005, 22:33

neel says:

Ouch! Take that, the Scottish Parliament!

I'm all for it. I think it's great.

20th Jul 2005, 22:45

Helen says:

So many buildings don't have enough money invested in them these days. I know this is the opposite extreme, but it looks to be a great building. It's an important building and hopefully it will be standing a very long time. It's architecture of our time. It's different and progressive. I think that's pretty worthwhile.

20th Jul 2005, 22:49

Steve says:

I wish I had stolen Betties Strawberry

20th Jul 2005, 22:58

Kat says:

I'm filled with awe... that's such a good picture from such a small phone! Yes, I know, I'm a little behind the times... I have completely changed my opinion of the building after seeing inside (and being brainwashed by cheery tourguide). Good wholesome fun.
Ooo, I'm a moblog virgin no longer. Now I'm thinking, where can I get me one o'those spangle-phones?

21st Jul 2005, 00:47

Helen says:

Hand me downs are good.

21st Jul 2005, 00:49

Steve says:

I feel that Beth may disagree

21st Jul 2005, 01:00

eversion says:

*stumbles into the room embarrasingly late*

Great shot Neel.

Helen's right, it is architecture of our time - eclectic, multi-layered, confusing, exciting, attractive to pigeons and outrageously over budget.

22nd Jul 2005, 08:16

Helen says:

Plus it's in Edinburgh and not London.

And it beats Portcullis House, which is... interesting (it has aspects that I appreciate and aspects that I don't really appreciate, aesthetically).

(Ooooh and I found a picture taken from the inside of a contemplation pod. And, and, and... [enough with the pluses and the 'ands', Helen].)

22nd Jul 2005, 17:54

Steve says:

Looks like an old style bar for one... on board a ship

22nd Jul 2005, 18:52

neel says:

Yeah! That's what I'm taking 'bout!

And all because of this picture...

28th Jul 2005, 20:36

anonymous(xoome-at-mail-dot-com) says:

I amglad to put my step on it.

29th Jul 2006, 01:03

anonymous(me-at-mail-dot-com) says:

I bookmark your site.

30th Jul 2006, 12:04