Friday, November 17, 2006

Casino Royale?

click photo to enlarge
Fans of 007 films will want to know what Daniel Craig, the new James Bond, makes of the role. The early reviews are favourable, saying he brings something to the part that hasn't been seen before, and that he matches Sean Connery (usually the critics' favourite) at his best. I suppose the reason for the continuing box office success of this franchise is largely down to the "updating" both of the lead actor and the way the stories are developed. I'm not really qualified to talk about this however, not being a fan of the films.

Nor am I qualified to talk about casinos and gambling. I've never visited a casino and I don't engage in betting. However, that doesn't prevent me from having a view on the plans of the present UK government to introduce a number of "super-casinos" at selected locations across the country. Quite why an allegedly social democratic government would want to do this is beyond my imagining. Fortunately the views of the executive are not shared by many MPs and party supporters, and so the plans have been watered down. Nonetheless a number of locations are vying to be a site for one of those that is licensed. Blackpool wants one because it fits with its leisure-focussed industries, and the local council believes it will boost the town's economy. I don't want any further casinos, because of the social problems that they inevitably produce, and I have major doubts about any "trickle down" benefits. Such places are likely to be mainly patronised by people who can ill-afford to lose what money they have, and one thing is sure - they certainly won't be full of debonair James Bond look-alikes!

My photograph today is a reflection of the fanciful detailing of Blackpool's first casino, a 1935-1939 building, by the architect Joseph Emberton, that was the subject of an earlier post. The sun had pierced early morning cloud, and I glimpsed this image in the orange and blue tinted glass of a nearby swimming pool (also the subject of a previous post). A long zoom isolated the interesting part of the reflection, including the word "CASINO" fixed to the spiral turret. However, buffeting from a gale force wind meant I had to up the ISO to 200 and shoot at 1/1000 second to prevent blurring. I corrected verticals in post processing and brought out some of the details in the image.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen