Gavin Pretor-Pinney - Clouds that Look Like Things (3 stars)

Gavin Pretor-Pinney - Clouds that Look Like Things

Occasionally unconvincing gallery of cloudy lookalikes

(Sceptre)

As founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, Gavin Pretor-Pinney knows more than a thing or two about cirrus and cumulus. And all the other ones. The trouble with this collection is that some of the pictures are, frankly, not very convincing and having to read the caption to discover what we’re supposed to be looking at is a little bit like an impersonator telling you who they’re about to mimic. It’s a case of seeing what you want to see in a lot of instances (Sherlock Holmes in Turkey: where?), but that cloud in Arisaig really does look like a tennis player in action (but specifically Andy Murray?).

‘No other organisation could have come up with a set of images like these,’ Pretor-Pinney announces proudly. That’s undeniable. On flicking through the Scout Association’s Annual Report 2011, you will find absolutely no pictures of clouds that look like things. While he insists that finding curious shapes in the sky is an antidote to modern living, he is honest enough to acknowledge that such endeavours are ultimately ‘pointless’. Unless you want to put a book together.

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