“Phoenix Security Systems” burglar alarm, Shrewsbury • I always like mythological creatures on alarms – there’s another good Phoenix here. • Spotted: Claremont Street, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1, England, 2014 • Politics: […]
“Beta Security” burglar alarm, Aylesbury • It’s all Greek to moi. There’s another here. • Spotted: High Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Aylesbury
“Atlas Alarms” burglar alarm, Manchester • As opposed to Alas Alarms. • Spotted: Canal Street, Manchester, Lancashire, M1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central
“Westcountry Security” burglar alarm, Camden • Far from home: Camden isn’t even in West London, let alone the West Country. I also do’t understand what the Omega-type logo has to […]
“Atlantis Secure Systems / Crime Stop” burglar alarm, Newham • […]
“Chubb a UTC Fire & Security Company” burglar alarm, Newquay • And finally, an Omega. Which is actually the top of an obscured West Country Alarms (I think that’s what […]
“Jude Security” burglar alarm, Cardiff • This is a really weird logo – I have no idea what it’s meant to be, or how it relates to the name Jude […]
“Delta Fire and Security” burglar alarm, Islington • Surprisingly I couldn’t find any Gamma burglar alarms (that being the third letter of the Greek alphabet and quite a good name), […]
“Beta Security” burglar alarm, Aylesbury • Second letter of many an alphabet. Still think it’s better to use the first. • Spotted: Highbridge Walk, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21, England, 2010 • […]
“Alpha” burglar alarm, Manchester • With little screwhole eyes. • Spotted: Little Peter Street, Manchester, Lancashire, M15, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central
“Alpha” burglar alarm, Derby • And now a very short run of Greek letters. Starting with Alpha, natch. (And still quite grungy.) • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 […]
“Olympic Alarms” burglar alarm, Bolton • Starting today, the rather sad category of “grungy” alarms. Which this one indisputably is. • Spotted: St Georges Road, Bolton, Lancashire, BL1, England, 2010 • […]
“Krypto Security” burglar alarm, Hackney • From the sublime to the ridiculous: yesterday the Mona Lisa’s smile, today some gurning New Romantic clown. • Spotted: Rivington Street, Hackney, London, EC2, […]
“Beta Security Ltd” burglar alarm, Islington • I can see why you’d call your firm Alpha, but Beta? It’s a popular name though. Maybe it stands for “beater”. Or “better”. • […]
"Apollo Alarms" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Found near the Archbishop of Canterbury's gaff at Lambeth Palace, this features un-Christian Apollo, favourite Greek god of burglar alarms. So maybe that triangle of radiating waves is meant to be sunrays, rather than the more usual soundwaves.• Spotted: Lambeth Road, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
"Alpha Alarms" burglar alarm, Fowey • A lot of these triangular logo-monograms start with the letter "A", unsurprisingly. This nice Cornish example takes triangular As to their logical conclusion, though I'm not clear why there are three of them; maybe they've included the final "A" of "Alpha". In a nice rural twist, Alpha derives from the Phoenician Aleph, meaning ox; so they could have just pictured a giant cow on it. • Spotted: Fore Street, Fowey, Cornwall, PL23, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of St. Austell and Newquay
"Apollo Alarms" burglar alarm, Cardiff • Enough with the classical deities, already. Apollo isn't just a famous sun god, a long-lasting space programme, and the title of another older burglar alarm, but the ancient Greek name for the planet Mercury, when observed just before dawn as a morning star. • Spotted: Womanby Street, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF10, Wales, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Cardiff Central
"Phoenix Total Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Why is everything in the sky named after Greek mythology? As well as a constellation, the fire-renewing Phoenix bird has lent its name to a prototype launch vehicle, a galaxy cluster, a dwarf galaxy, a NASA mission to Mars, and – as Project Phoenix – the famous SETI, a search for extraterrestrial intelligence. And now, for the third time on this blog, it's on a burglar alarm too. • Spotted: Marylebone Road, City of Westminster, London, NW1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
"Cerberus" burglar alarm, Bristol • Weird blank arched alarm named after the three-headed guard dog to the entrance of Hades, also known as a constellation and a dark spot on Mars, amongst other astronomical things. There's a very tiny logo on there, but I can't work out what it is: it looks like a a book, a shield and a knight stumbled into the telepod machine that turned Jeff Goldblum into The Fly.• Spotted: John Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2013 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
"Orion Security Solutions" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Maybe this portrays a scene from deep within the Orion constellation – a planet in shadow, with some little moons floating in front of it, all in the infinite blackness of outer space (a fanciful theory somewhat quashed by the fact that Orion do the box in white as well). • Spotted: Beehive Place, Lambeth, London, SW9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood
"Orion" burglar alarm, York • Ah, the multi-faceted Orion, a hunter in Greek mythology who has lent his name to a region of the night sky, the Lunar Module used in the Apollo 16 mission, NASA's Space Shuttle replacement, a brace of space stations, and vast amounts of other scientific and astronomical things too. Not to mention a burglar alarm. • Spotted: Low Petergate, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
"Logic Fire & Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Says Wikipedia: "Logic (from the Greek logikē) has two meanings: first, it describes the use of valid reasoning in some activity; second, it names the normative study of reasoning or a branch thereof. In the latter sense, it features most prominently in the subjects of philosophy, mathematics, and computer science." And thus, by use of the former definition, I deduce that it is a valid member of my maths and computing set. • Spotted: Newman Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
"Westronics Reading" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Another "tronic" alarm: in fact the word is a Greek suffix referring to a device, tool, or instrument. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
"Steel Tronics" burglar alarm, Southend-on-Sea • The non-word "tronics" somehow has a retro ring to it, redolent of 1970s-80s hi-fi stores. That said, I quite like this confident leaning logo. • Spotted: Town centre, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Rochford and Southend East
"Triton Electronics" burglar alarm, Edinburgh • Triton was the Greek messenger god of the seas. Not sure what that's got to do with electronics – it sounds like a dangerous mix. • Spotted: Moray Place, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH3, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Edinburgh North and Leith
"Prism" burglar alarm, Lambeth • A transparent object which refracts light, from ancient Greek prisma, meaning "something sawed". Also featured on the cover of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" LP, which this resembles. • Spotted: Sail Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
"Alpha" burglar alarm, Manchester • Ancient Greek for "A", deriving from the Phoenecian for "ox" – and since those days, ie quite a long time ago, used to describe something very good. • Spotted: Deansgate area, Manchester, Lancashire, M1, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central
"Aeon Electronic Protection Systems" burglar alarm, Bristol • Now we move on to astronomical time, literally - the term "aeon" has been used to describe the period between big bangs, though to the ancient Greeks it meant simply eternity. All that and a crosshair too. • Spotted: Royal Oak Avenue, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
"Delta Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • According to useless Yahoo Answers, there are no river deltas in Britain, because there's not a vast enough area of flat land. But I've found one: the Wandle Delta. Admittedly it's just an forgotten little industrial creek off the Thames, but hey – we can't all be the Mississippi. In fact there are plans to smarten it up with posh housing, but I rather like how it looks now – must go and explore it before it's too late. Amazing the things you learn researching burglar alarms! • Spotted: Chatsworth Road, Hackney, London, E5, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington Above: a great pic of the Wandle Delta by Tom Bolton – see more on Flickr here
"AllguarDelta Security" burglar alarm, Derby • Those bearskin hats actually are made of brown bear, all the way from Canada. Apparently the Army has tried to find a synthetic substitute, without any success. I suggest: macramé. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
"Mono" burglar alarm, Manchester • Mono: not just a type of lo-fi single-channel sound associated with the quintessential early 45rpm pop records, but a little-known British electronica duo who had a 1990s hit with the James Bondy-sounding "Life in Mono" (apparently – I certainly don't remember it, so maybe it was just in the US). • Spotted: Deansgate area, Manchester, Lancashire, M1, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central The unmemorable and not-very-good (in my opinion) band Mono
"Scorpio Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • In my entry on the weird Pac-Man-esque Orion alarm, I explained how the giant hunter was killed by a scorpion and turned into a constellation by Zeus. And now we come to the unfortunate arthropod which stung him, also flung into the heavens by Zeus, where it became the constellation of Scorpius, eternally snapping at Orion's heels. Astrologically, it represents the mysterious eighth sign of the zodiac, ruled by the Greek god Pluto – aka Hades, lord of the underworld – and reputedly the most powerful star sign. Scorpios are supposed to be intense, secretive, power-loving, cunning, unforgiving, vengeful and, as the alarm probably wants to suggest, with a considerable sting in their tail. This strange logo, like a J with horns, could almost be the symbol for some obscure occult sect – thus living up to Scorpio’s sinister image. • Spotted: Hackney area, Hackney, London, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch Above: A nice 1825 etching of the constellation Scorpio from the Library of Congress, Washington DC.
"Zodiac Security" burglar alarm, Ealing • The stories behind the various star signs are pretty convoluted, but they're all based on ancient folklore and superstition, so astrology is a fitting follow-up to my previous theme of mythological alarms. Zodiac is a Greek word for the constellations meaning "circle of animals", an idea drawn from the Babylonians, who first divided the heavens into 12 parts. It was originally an astronomical concept, but the great Romano-Egyptian scholar Ptolomy systemised the personality-based astrological system that remains hugely popular today. However, as we shall see, there are surprisingly few burglar alarms named after star signs – odd, as there are many good strong names: Taurus, Aries, Capricorn, Leo... though maybe not Cancer. I haven't even come across a security firm called Libra, and not name-checking the divine scales of justice seems a serious omission. So, unless security engineers are such a militantly rational lot that they won't even contemplate zodiac-based names, they're missing a trick in the burglar alarm branding stakes – and there's room to start an astrological trend. • Spotted: Ashbourne Parade, Ealing, London, W5, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Ealing Central and Acton Above: Look at all the brilliant potential burglar alarm logos on this 16th century woodcut showing the signs of the zodiac. They're just begging to be used...
"Eros Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • After a couple of sensible mythological burglar alarms, we're back to the bonkers ones. Eros? What on earth has Eros, Greek god of sexual love, got to do with security services? And anyway, this looks more like his boyish Roman counterpart Cupid, who was often portrayed as younger than the fully-formed teenage Eros. The resemblance to the Evening Standard's venerable logo makes me think this is a reference to the so-called Eros statue at Piccadilly Circus, that icon of tourist London. However, hard though it is to believe, what Wikipedia says about Alfred Gilbert's piece of high Victorian camp is true. I've double-checked, and the statue that stands surrounded by the horrible hurly burly of Piccadilly is not intended to be Eros, but his butterfly-winged twin brother Anteros, who was associated with selfless and requited love (although he sounds like a half-baked deity the Greeks made up to impress the Romans). For all its faults, this silly, cheeky alarm is one of my all-time favourites – so naughty Cupid has worked his mischievous magic. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Above: Eros and his twin in London. Top left: "Eros Stringing His Bow", a Roman copy of a Greek statue at the British Museum. Top right: ''The Angel of Christian Charity'' aka "The Shaftesbury Memorial" (1893) by Alfred Gilbert at Picadilly Circus, colloquially known as the Eros statue, but actually depicting his selfless twin bro Anteros. Above: London's familiar Evening Standard "Eros" logo (recently dropped from their masthead), which depicts the Piccadilly Circus statue and is therefore actually Anteros.
"Aegis" burglar alarm, Camden • "Under the aegis of" is commonly understood to mean "under the protection of", so like yesterday's Argus, this is an unusually sensible mythological name for a security device. In ancient Greece the Aegis was a protective breastplate or cloak, originally a thundercloud invoked by Zeus, and later the skin of a divine goat worn by his warlike daughter Athena. Her exclusive over-the-top haute couture version was a golden snakeskin extravaganza, generally depicted as covered in scales and fringed with tinkling tassels or writhing serpents, all fastened with the severed head of Medusa, the scary snake-haired Gorgon. The idea of the magically protective Aegis caught on and spread to Egypt, Rome and beyond; and 2,500 years later the Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace made his fortune by taking the Medusa-and-snakeskin look to improbable extremes, though it didn't protect him from being murdered on his Florida doorstep in 1997. The Aegis can also take the form of a Medusa-faced shield, so the shape of this alarm is very apt, as well as showing that Aegis is under the aegis of Banham, whose proprietary sounder this is. It's somewhat let down by the obscure Aegis logo, which is like a red pyramid with a lighting bolt through it, possibly representing an A and an E. But surely a severed Gorgon's head would have been better? • Spotted: Finchley Road, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn Above: The Aegis as hot ancient fashion item. Left: The classic over-the-shoulder Aegis cloak as modelled by Athena in a Roman copy of a Greek statue, "Athena Cherchel-Ostia" (c.400 BC), from the Louvre, Paris. Above right: the Aegis worn in casual cross-body style on another Athena statue, "Athena Lemnia" from the Staatliche Museum, Dresden. Note the Gorgon Medusa's head, a popular decoration appropriated 2,500 years later by Gianni Versace. Below right: An Egyptian-style Aegis, on a Nubian bust of the goddess Isis (c.300 BC) from the British Museum, London.
"Argus Fire & Security Group" burglar alarm, Lewisham • If the reflected double "a" in this Argus logo is meant to look like two eyes, then it's 98 short of the legend. Argus is a popular name in Greek mythology, but being a security device, this is surely inspired by the super-watchman Argus Panoptes, an ever-wakeful hundred-eyed giant whose name means "Argus the All-Seeing". Argus was a servant of Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus – who, as king of the gods, had more nymphs on the side than a premiership footballer. According to Ovid's Metamorphoses (c.8 AD), the politically-incorrect Zeus disguised one unfortunate floozy, Io, as a cow, but suspicious Hera demanded the beast as a gift and set Argus to guard it. Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to rescue Io, which he managed by telling Argus such boring stories that all his eyes fell asleep at once (I know the feeling), and then beheading him. The giant may have perished, but his hundred eyes lived on in the tail of the peacock, where Hera put them to honour his memory. I haven't yet found a peacock pictured on a burglar alarm, but there are plenty decorated with eyes; though most, like that other watchful giant Cyclops, sport only one. As will be demonstrated in a later theme... • Spotted: Lewisham High Street, Lewisham, London, SE13, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Lewisham Deptford Above: BC and AD versions of Hermes about to kill Argus and rescue the nymph Io, cunningly disguised as a heifer. Top: pictured millennia before burglar alarms, on an Attic vase (c.500 BC) from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna – love the way he's grabbing that beard. Bottom: as imagined more serenely over 1000 years later in Diego Velázquez's "Fábula de Mercurio y Argos" aka "The Story of Mercury and Argus" (1659), from the magnificent Prado, Madrid.
"Apollo Eagle" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This vintage sun-like yellow sounder is a great match for uber-deity Apollo, the powerful Greco-Roman god of the sun. Worshipped far and wide in the ancient world, Apollo was closely associated with light, music, medicine, poetry and much else, but wasn't linked with eagles until mere mortals headed for the moon (property of his sister, Artemis) a couple of millennia later. In 1961, NASA manager Abe Silverstein deliberately referenced the Greek god when he named the US space program Apollo; and on 20 July 1969 Apollo 11's lunar module Eagle finally deposited humans on the moon's surface, hence the immortal phrase "the Eagle has landed". Which may be the source of this space race-era alarm's name, though more prosaically, it's probably the result of a merger between two companies called Apollo and Eagle. • Spotted: The Oval, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow Above: When Apollo met Eagle on the moon. Left: a Roman statue of Apollo (c.150 AD) from the Ny Carlsberg Glypotek, Copenhagen. Middle: Buzz Aldrin with moon lander Eagle on the lunar surface. Right: the Apollo 11 insignia, complete with moon-landing eagle.
"Orion Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This naive but multi-layered design recalls two mythical figures: Orion and Pac-Man. Ostensibly a monogram comprising an O and an A, it's probably meant to represent a pyramid in a circular night sky with a crescent moon overhead. Apart from the night sky, it's hard to see how this connects with the Greek hero Orion, a giant hunter blinded for raping a princess, healed by the sun, then killed by a scorpion and turned into a constellation by Zeus. There are few reliable descriptions of Orion, but we know he wasn't a big black blob. However, the design also looks disturbingly like a Pac-Man with a winking eye, chomping his way down the alarm. Developed in Japan in 1979 and originally called Pakkuman, it's fair to say that the genre-launching yellow-and-black ghost-munching video game has achieved legendary status. The name is based on paku-paku, Japanese slang for lip-smacking eating (equivalent to "nom-nom-nom"), and the fact that the avatar looks like a part-eaten pizza is no coincidence, because according to its inventor Tōru Iwatani, that's what it's based on. This is the second Pac-Man-like alarm I've featured: the first was JB-Eye, and no doubt the game was a formative entertainment for both designers. • Spotted: Fairfield Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow Above: Orion v Pac-Man. Left: Orion and his constellation by astronomer Johannes Hevelius from his celestial catalogue "Uranographia" (1690). Right: fashionably geek Pac-Man t-shirt available from Worm Sign designs.
"Titan Alarms" burglar alarm, Cirencester • These days "titanic" suggests immense, but in Greek mythology the Titans were a primordial race of super-deities, children of the supreme earth goddess Gaia. There was a soap opera's worth of them, with second-gen Atlas being the best-known today, but most remaining rather obscure. This was a result of the decade-long War of the Titans, in which they were comprehensively overthrown – both physically and reputationally – by a bunch of younger gods, the Zeus-led Olympians. The huge Giants, also children of Gaia, rebelled against the Olympians but lost; and later tales mixed up Giants and Titans, leading to the word's current connotations of size and strength. So, given that they suffered total, humiliating defeat and never recovered, being protected by a Titan may not be as useful as it sounds. • Spotted: Town centre, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cotswolds Above: the Titans being overthrown in "Fall of the Titans" (c.1637-8) by Peter Paul Rubens from the Musée Royaux des Beaux Arts, Brussels.
"Atlantis Secure Systems" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Even the ancient Greeks thought Atlantis was fictional, and they should have known because they probably invented it. Before Plato described the 9000-year-old lost city in his dialogue Timaeus of around 360 BC, there had been no recorded mention of the place, whereas myths usually have long, traceable histories. It seems likely he was using imaginary geography to make a political point – as Jonathan Swift did in Gulliver's Travels, or Sir Thomas More in Utopia – but the idea is so seductive that it remains with us today. It's quite a weird title for a burglar alarm (albeit one illustrated with a white fish and a shadowy shark, possibly a metaphor for burglar-catching); Atlantis has the opposite connotation to yesterday's triumphantly arising Phoenix, suggesting something that will sink catastrophically. Despite this it's a widely-used name, ironically popular with vessels: not only seagoing ones but the last operational space shuttle Atlantis, whose final flight is in July 2011 (tickets to view the launch are available from NASA). As for possible sites for the city of Atlantis, there's a new crackpot theory every year. More interesting are the real, eponymous places: the Atlantis Massif under the Atlantic, a dome of dense green rock extruded from the earth's deep mantle; 1198 Atlantis, a Mars-crossing asteroid orbiting quite near Earth; and the Atlantis Chaos, an area of turbulent Martian terrain featuring possible water gullies (all pictured below). Plato's imaginary island went a long, long way. • Spotted: Vyner Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow Above: Digital images of real Atlantises. Top: the sub-Atlantic Atlantis Massif, from Washington University's Lost City deep-sea research site. Middle: orbit of the asteroid 1198 Atlantis from Nasa Jet Propulsion Lab's Small-Body Database Browser, which can animate orbits through time. Bottom: ripples and gullies in the Atlantis Chaos area of Mars, from University of Arizona's amazing HiRise Mars imaging site.
"Phoenix" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Perhaps reborn from yesterday's Phoenix, and unusually decorative for a burglar alarm, this tattoo-like design looks more Phoenix Arizona than ancient Greece. But though grandly-plumaged birds such as the storm-bringing Thunderbird figure heavily in Native American culture, there is no equivalent of the phoenix rebirth myth, suggesting it developed in Eurasia after early humans had populated the Americas. Of course humans came that way again later, bringing their Eurasian diseases and resurrection legends with them; and thus the modern metropolis of Phoenix was born, so named because it arose from the long-abandoned ruins of a pre-Columbian city. Amazing how these Assyrian legends get around. • Spotted: Union Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central Top row: phoenix tattoo designs reminiscent of this alarm. Bottom row: Native American birds – not related to Phoenixes, but looking similar. Bottom left: “Bird with Red Snake” (1920) by Awa Tsireh from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC. Bottom right: painting of Kiowa Eagle Dancer by Stephen [Qued Koi] Mopope (1898-1974) from the Adobe Gallery, Santa Fe.
"Phoenix Security Doncaster" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • A very old Phoenix, which – if it accords with legend – is the only one of its kind, and will soon set itself on fire. In the Greco-Assyrian myth which gives this device its name, the crimson-plumed firebird is the sole representative of its species, and lives for 500 years. When it feels itself getting old, it climbs onto a fragrant DIY pyre of frankinsence and myrrh, faces the sun and bursts exuberantly into flame, soaring reborn from the ashes. In some versions it's a small grub that emerges from the ashes, which after three days turns into a new phoenix; which, in further variants, carries the embalmed ashes of its parent to an altar in the Egyptian sun-worshipping city of Heliopolis. Although the estimable Greek historian Herodotus was bluntly sceptical about much of this fanciful tale, its clear parallels with Biblical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus made it a hit with early Catholic artists, hence its inclusion in European iconography, and eventually on burglar alarms. Generally considered benevolent despite their fierce looks, phoenixes are today a metaphor for anything that renews, such as a "phoenix firm" which declares bankruptcy, dumps its debt obligations, and restarts anew – hopefully not the fate of Phoenix Security. • Spotted: Cadogan Street, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chelsea and Fulham Above: Some even older phoenixes. Top row: during and after resurrection, from the beautiful 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary. Bottom left: Coptic Egyptian stone phoenix from the Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam. Bottom right: a magnificent printed phoenix from Friedrich Justin Bertuch's stunningly-illustrated educational partwork "Bilderbuch für Kinder" (1790-1830).
"Kudos" burglar alarm, Bath, 2008 • I love this soppy Alsatian alarm in so many ways. It's on a poncey pink-painted wall in the genteel Romano-Georgian city of Bath. It has a snobbish classical name – "Kudos", meaning glory or renown in Greek – and depicts a potentially vicious dog as a delicate, doe-eyed supplicant. Its logo is a sensitive ink drawing, rare on a burglar alarm, and is printed on an ill-fitting sticker, not guaranteed to inspire confidence. The alarm casing looks like a 1980s clock radio, while the dial-phone symbol is probably not ironic, because this area code went extinct in 1995. The whole contraption is spattered in mud, which complements the pointillist style of the drawing and adds to the general air of pathos. And finally, it's from a Lib-Dem constituency, which makes it a definite underdog in numerical terms. Sad superannuation, pompous overstatement, a cuddly creature, naive design, an attractive architectural setting – it ticks all my favourite boxes. • Spotted: Town centre, Bath, Avon, BA2, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bath