Cricket at Beckenham

Today I journeyed out to Beckenham, to watch the afternoon and evening sessions of Day 3 of Kent v Surrey.

Warning: do not follow the above link if you are allergic to pretentious writing. When Daniel Norcross writes about cricket he takes pretentiousness to a whole new level. What he is trying to say is that, even by the standards of the average day of county cricket, this day of county cricket was rather boring. But does he say that? Does he Samuel bloody Beckett.

This is how the County Ground was looking:

I photoed many more photos than that. I chose the above photos to give you an idea of how it all looked, in a general, scenic sort of way. That’s how it would look to a non-cricket fan. A cricket fan like me would zero in on the actual cricket, as I did in a lot of my other photos. But unless a camera is told to zoom in on that cricket, it simply gobbles up everything it is pointed at.

John C. Reilly – Ian Hislop

On the left here, John C. Reilly, shown enacting one of the Sisters Brothers, Eli, in the graphics advertising the movie of that name. On the right, Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, and star of long-running BBC comedy quiz Have I Got News For You? My instant reaction, when I first saw that advert for The Sisters Brothers, was that Reilly looked like a homicidal and weather-beaten version of Hislop:

I can’t be the only one now noticing this. Yet googling “John C Reilly Ian Hislop” yielded only information about either John C Reilly or Ian Hislop. There was no mention of any physical resemblance between these two persons.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

New London

Matt Kilkoyne:

The growth of London’s Isle of Dogs is beautiful. More please.

What I like about this is the way the Big Things in the background are all blue-grey glass, while the little things in the foreground are all the same reddish brick. It’s almost as if they knew beforehand what plans would be allowed and what plans wouldn’t! These Big Things are totally unlike the City towers, in mostly being individually banal and un-“iconic”, yet they add up to something that is indeed, to me anyway, rather impressive. The bigger it all gets the more impressive it will be. London – this bit of it at least – has learned from New York.

This is all part of the relentless shift of London’s centre of gravity down river.

Down river towards London Gateway, about which the internet still has amazingly little to say. My take on that? There will be the grandmother of all grand openings, if only to accommodate all the reporters on that project who have been persuaded to say nothing about it for now. (Or: Do reporters truly not care? If so, more fool them.)

Sporty Sunday

The weather outside is again really nice, but it’s wasted on me and my camera. Because, it’s Spurs v Leicester on the internet, England v Windies on the internet, and England v France on the TV. Football, cricket, rugby. How can a man ignore all that? Well, maybe “a man” could, but I can’t. Spurs have beaten Leicester (and now Man City are crushing Chelsea); and the Windies have got England back on the floor in the cricket (where England have been all series). As a test cricket fan I am glad that the Windies getting back into the swing of doing that well. For a while now, it has seemed that their only talent was for the limited overs stuff.

And, England are crushing (crunching) France, although a few French tries at the end would not surprise me. Two out of three is not bad

The first weekend of this year’s Six Nations was great, but the second, now nearing its end, has been rather flat. Ireland got back on the horse against Scotland yesterday, and Italy, as they do, lost. Now England are doing what all the commentators said they’d do to France, following their great win over Ireland last weekend. The charm of the Six Nations is how unpredictable it can be. On the first weekend France got beaten by Wales after being 16 ahead at half time. Italy got no less than three late tries against Wales when they were looking down and out, which was a definite surprise. When England got the final try to settle it against Ireland, the commentator said: Who saw this coming? Not me. But so far this weekend, it’s all gone with the not-especially-smart money. France are now 36 behind, so even if they get five late tries, they’ll still lose. It’s all looking a bit “waiting for the end” just now. The serious business of the game was being sorted when England got their four first half tries, which meant that their bonus points, for four tries and for winning by more than seven, were both settled, along with the win. Can England get over 50 points against France? Maybe, but it doesn’t feel like it matters. Yes, a commentator has just said: “The match has rather fallen asleep.” Indeed it has. The most important moment of this match may prove to be when one of the Vunipolas walked off injured.

Anyway, it’s over now. 44-8 England. Plus, when I was trying to find a report on England crunching France, I came across our Ladies crunching their Ladies.

The England men, meanwhile, have been transformed by their returning-from-injury South Sea Islanders, the Vunipola brothers and Manu Tuilagi.

Tuilagi is odd, in that he is pronounced Tooey Langy. Except by Jonathan Davies of course, who says Tooey Largy. Davies also says Viney Polar instead of Vooney Polar. The world needs to find a way to mispronounce “Jonathan Davies”, and keep on doing that until he learns his job.

But, hello. What’s this? The Windies 59-4 (after being 57-0!), replying to England’s 277. Two wickets in two balls to Moheen. Two more wickets in two more balls to Mark Wood, who I didn’t realise was playing. By the sound of it (i.e. from reading the Cricinfo chat), Wood should have been in the England side from the beginning. Only four wickets on day one. Ten wickets already on day two, and it’s not yet tea time.

It is now! Windies 74-5. Another to Wood. “England are rampant.”

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

The text of my talk for Christian Michel last night on the impact of digital photography

As I said in the previous post, my talk about digital photography at Christian Michel’s last night went well, in the sense of me feeling it went well, and it seeming to be well received. I occasionally put my sheets of paper down and extemporised upon some point I was making, but mostly, this was it. No links, no photos, no extras. (They may come later, I hope, but I promise nothing.) Just the bare text that I read out, complete with all the errors of grammar and spelling, of fact and interpretation, that may or may not be present:

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

I have given several talks in this 6/20 series, but until now this has been because I have had both questions and answers to offer to the assembled throng. I have had theses to present, clutches of facts to pass on.

This time I don’t know the answers. I merely want to know the answers. What is the impact of digital photography? What is it doing to us? Since fixing this subject matter with Christian I have made, I think, some progress in arriving at answers, but only some. Tonight I expect to make further progress.

Luckily, for my purposes, we have all been alive throughout the period of digital photography’s mass use, and have observed it in action, even if we may not always have wanted to. Has anyone here not taken a digital photo? Just as I thought. (It actually says that here. And this.)

*****

I will start my remarks by quoting a remark made by an American whom I overheard about fifty years ago, on the Acropolis in Athens, the place where what is left of the Parthenon stands. I was there trying to do some sketching, a skill I never got any good at but spent a few years attempting. He was doing pictures with his seriously pre-digital camera. As soon as he had finished photoing, he wanted to leave, presumably to get to his next photoing place. But his family were enjoying the Acropolis in the morning sunshine. Said he to his family: “Come on, come on! We’ll look at it when we get home!”

This outburst captures a great deal about what people object to about digital photography, but it also reminds us that photography, by Everyman as opposed to by professionals, is nothing new. Digital photography is partly just the intensification of a process that has been in place in our culture for well over a century. But it is more than that.

Continue reading The text of my talk for Christian Michel last night on the impact of digital photography