Friday, 6 November 2009

Vismigging at Tower 42

I'm still slightly wobbly. This morning saw me out of my front door at 0450 (eek), in Notting Hill for 0505 (picking up David Lindo), outside Paddington Green police station (picking up Des McKenzie - he wasn't in the cells honest) at 0515, and at Tower 42 for 0545. Wow.

We met with Mark Pearson (notable east London birder) and two burly chaps (see below) who would be ensuring we didn't come to any harm, and started to make our way up, and up, and up. Two separate lift rides saw us reach level 42 smartish - but then came "the push". We slogged up a couple of flights of stairs, squeezed our way past boilers and aircon infrastructure, wended up a teeny spiral staircase, climbed two functional ladders, and finally emerged in an exhausted heap onto the surprisingly small roof of London's second tallest building.

We stood around spellbound in the dark for a couple of minutes. Twinkling lights as far as the eye could see, interspersed with legendary views, instantly recognisable and suddenly carpeted like a living map before us. The Eye, Tower Bridge, St. Paul's, Monument, the Gherkin, the Thames, HMS Belfast, Tate Modern all obvious landmarks in the vista.

It soon became clear that filming was going to prove a challenge. The tops of buildings need to serve certain functions. There were enormous fans, boiler outlets, satellite dishes, lightning conductors, a weather station, big lights for air-traffic, vents and poles and bits of sticky-up metal that seemed designed to trip up unwary tripod-wielders. The fans made lots of noise and emitted clouds of steam which (although providing some welcome warmth), was fogging the camera.

Anyway - enough of my moaning. You'll see the results in one of our forthcoming Lindo at Large films. Suffice to say that the promised squadrons of Wood Pigeons did not appear. I leave you with some bad iPhone pictures of the shenanigans.

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