You think the Shard is tall? You don't know tall

The Shard may be big for London, but it's dwarfed by really tall buildings.

The Shard opened on Thursday, to much fanfare a disappointing laser show, but regardless of the questionable symbolism behind the fact that the biggest building in the city is a monolith to the power and wealth of a group of foreigners (a situation which reminds me of nothing so much as the Citadel from Half Life 2's City 17), one thing which everyone is agreed on is that it really is very tall.

It's not. It's a tiddler. Sure, it may be the biggest building in Western Europe – at least until Paris's Hermitage Towers are finished around 2015 – but compared to really tall buildings, it hasn't got a chance. 

Via the Mirror, here's a view from the top of the building:

For the sake of comparison, here's that same view replicated using Google Earth, with all those pretty 3D buildings:

Here's what it looks like if you put the Burj Khalifa, the biggest building in the world, at the same location:

The Gherkin is dwarfed in the bottom right, and see that green line in the middle distance? That's Hertfordshire. This is what tall looks like.

What the Shard lightshow should have looked like. It didn't. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

Getty
Show Hide image

Katy Perry just saved the Brits with a parody of Donald Trump and Theresa May

Our sincerest thanks to the pop star for bringing one fleeting moment of edge to a very boring awards show.

Now, your mole cannot claim to be an expert on the cutting edge of culture, but if there’s one thing we can all agree on in 2017, it’s that the Brit Awards are more old hat than my press cap. 

Repeatedly excluding the genres and artists that make British music genuinely innovative, the Brits instead likes to spend its time rewarding such dangerous up-and-coming acts as Robbie Williams. And it’s hosted by Dermot O’Leary.

Which is why the regular audience must have been genuinely baffled to see a hint of political edge entering the ceremony this year. Following an extremely #makeuthink music video released earlier this week, Katy Perry took to the stage to perform her single “Chained to the Rhythm” amongst a sea of suburban houses. Your mole, for one, doesn’t think there are enough model villages at popular award ceremonies these days.

But while Katy sang of “stumbling around like a wasted zombie”, and her house-clad dancers fell off the edge of the stage, two enormous skeleton puppets entered the performance in... familiar outfits.

As our Prime Minister likes to ask, remind you of anyone?

How about now?

Wow. Satire.

The mole would like to extend its sincerest lukewarm thanks to Katy Perry for bringing one fleeting moment of edge to one of the most vanilla, status-quo-preserving awards ceremonies in existence. 

I'm a mole, innit.