London Skies: Photos of Big Fluffy Clouds


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London Skies: Big Fluffy Clouds , a set on Flickr.

“Little fluffy clouds,” famously, was a quote in an interview with the wonderful singer/songwriter Rickie Lee Jones, which was sampled by art pranksters The Orb for their 1990 single of the same name. This is the exchange:

Interviewer: What were the skies like when you were young?

Rickie Lee Jones: They went on forever. We lived in Arizona, and the skies always had little fluffy clouds in ’em, and, uh, they were long and clear and there were lots of stars at night. And, uh, when it would rain, it would all turn — They were beautiful, the most beautiful skies as a matter of fact. Um, the sunsets were purple and red and yellow and on fire, and the clouds would catch the colours everywhere. That’s, uh, neat ’cause I used to look at them all the time, when I was little. You don’t see that. You might still see them in the desert.

The skies in south London may not match those in Arizona in Rickie Lee Jones’ youth — and in her memories — but they certainly catch my attention on a regular basis, and, since I began photographing London by bike on an almost daily basis nearly five months ago, I always find my gaze drawn to the horizon, to see what kinds of giant shapes the clouds are forming. I have encountered — and captured on camera — little fluffy clouds that have always reminded me of Rickie Lee Jones’ little fluffy clouds — here and here, for example — but more often that not I’m on the lookout for giant cumulus clouds, like tsumanis, dwarfing life below.

All my photos in which clouds have featured prominently can be found here, but for this latest photo set, I focused exclusively on clouds, captured in various bike rides around south east London — and almost exclusively in Brockley, where I have lived for the last 13 years, on a hill that rolls down to Lewisham to the east and New Cross and Deptford to the north, and where, between April and July, I regular found myself cycling under skies of formidable beauty, some elements of which I hope to have captured in these photos.

I’m posting these photos now as an antidote to the horrors of life under the Tory-led coalition government, which, yesterday, hit a new low by imprisoning a squatter, for the first time since squatting was changed from a civil to a criminal offence on September 1, for the alleged crime of occupying an empty flat.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed — and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Flickr (my photos) and YouTube. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

17 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Jennah Solace wrote:

    WOW! I love those… I wish I could take off and fly up into them 🙂 One nice thing about England, the sky is usually dramatic.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Toia Tutta Jung wrote:

    Thanks Andy. It´s a break in a day that needs some form for escape from reality..

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Toia Tutta Jung wrote:

    And great pictures btw!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Zilma Nunes wrote:

    governement , poor and weak…?I told you pray for St Georges , he killed the beast may he can help you kill the big Leviathan …

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Toia Tutta Jung wrote:

    Zilma, what brand of tea you drink? I need some of that.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Zilma Nunes wrote:

    no tea Toia ..”caipirinha” …

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Toia Tutta Jung wrote:

    that´s even better 🙂

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the kind words, my friends. Tomorrow it’s back to Guantanamo, and to the horrors of Tory Britain, but for today I’m glad to have provided some escapism – or perhaps a glimpse of something spiritual. It’s been raining today, but I cycled to Charlton, to a park I’ve never visited before, but have meant to for many years – Maryon Wilson Park, which features in Antonioni’s 60s classic, “Blow Up.” It was magical! And then, after the rain, I visited Greenwich Park, open and gradually returning to normal after the Olympics and Paralympics, where I was fortunate to catch a low slanting sun shining on the trees, with dark clouds behind – and even a rainbow!

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Christopher John Webster wrote:

    really dramatic…very beautiful…

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Chris!

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, I posted “London Sky 16,” and wrote, “This is where I live! From my latest photo set, massive clouds over Brockley!” and Ruth Gilburt wrote:

    Oo-er…that looks freaky! x

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Ha, yes, The Sky That Ate Brockley!
    This one isn’t scary, Ruth!

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Ruth Gilburt wrote:

    phew… 😀 hahaha
    …though I’m trying to work out where on the road that actually is…I can’t get my bearings…..

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    London sky 7? That’s opposite the station, Ruth. The railways’s on the left, and this is the sky viewed over the planned building site for new social housing by Wandle housing association – next to Yong Xiang, the Chinese takeaway. Opposite the Brockley Food Market, at the start of St. Asaph’s Road (or Mantle Road, as it is at that point).

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Ruth Gilburt wrote:

    yep….sorted now 😉 x

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Great! Nice to hear from you, Ruth. Looks like you had a lovely birthday!

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Ruth Gilburt wrote:

    I did indeed…I have a test drive rally experience pressie to prove it 😀 hurrah!!! x

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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