A bowling machine

This bit of video is all over my Twitter feed just now.

Prediction, the best cricket batsmen are about to get a lot better, because the bowling machines they practise on will be getting a lot better.

And then? A new game will be invented, consisted of bowling machines bowling an identical set of deliveries to competing batsmen, the way they now deal identical hands to competing bridge players.

How soon before robot bowlers compete against robot batsmen?

Note how the bowling machine actually bowls underarm.

But the funniest thing about this robot overlord is how it goes back to its default submissive posture, after it has done its apocalyptic damage.

An advertising agency in Pimlico

A handful of years ago now, Samizdata’s Perry de Havilland and his lady used to live in Chelsea, and that caused me quite often to be walking along the north bank of the River, between, one way or the other, Chelsea Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge. While doing this I of course I looked (and photoed) across the River.

Having recently been pondering how London has been building itself a lot of machines for living in lately, as opposed to more recognisable and truly Big Things, it occurred to me that I might do that same walk between Chelsea Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge, on the north bank, there to look (and photo) across the River, at all the machines for living in that have been and are being built there now, especially around Battersea Power Station.

I have journeyed along the south side of the River, from Vauxhall to the Battersea, several times, to inspect all that turmoil and cranage from closer up. How was all that looking from the other side of the River?

So it was that yesterday afternoon, I walked through Pimlico nearly as far as Chelsea Bridge, but inland rather than beside the River, and then walked back home again, alongside the River.

But before I was even at my Official Designated Destination, there was plenty to be seen and photoed, and because this is Friday, here are some fun humans, semi-humans and semi-creatures whom I attempted, with varying success, to photo, through a very shiny shop window:

Like I said, varying success. The first Dalek photo there decapitates the poor thing, with crushingly bright reflections of the buildings opposite. Only when I raised my camera up above my head, like a paparazzo photoing a celeb from within a crowd of other paparazzi, did I get anything like a proper Dalek photo. Only once I understood about photoing downwards, where the only reflection was of the relatively unlit pavement at my feet, did I get a truly satisfactory photo, of K9. The Daleks, for the uninitiated, were Doctor Who’s mortal enemies, and K9 was Doctor Who’s friend.

But, why the ducks?

More to the point, what was this place? Who was doing what in it?

My second entirely satisfactory photo:

Satisfactory because this was me taking notes, and the notes were entirely taken. “wtf”? WTF?, as the young people now type into their little mobiles. Here we go. They’re an advertising agency specialising in movies of the sort that the creatures in their Moreton Street London HQ window have parts in, and silly theme parks based on similar fun and foolishness, aimed at “families”. Well, those are the sort of projects they boast about, but I dare say they’ll also sell your estate agency for you, if that’s what you want.

I’m pretty sure that the female figure in the red skirt in the background of the second and better Dalek photo is an actual human being.

BMNB quote of the day: Tim Newman on feminism

Yes, Tim Newman:

As I’m fond of saying, modern feminism is largely about encouraging women to adopt the worst behaviours of men.

Tim Newman’s blog, White Sun of the Desert, is not in the list of OTHER PLACES I OFTEN GO TO, at the bottom of the blue permanent information bit on the left of this blog. But these days, I find myself going there often.

The decision to mend my Old Blog, so to speak, by setting up this new version of it, amounted to a vote of confidence in blogging generally. Two friends have currently been making noises about starting new blogs. I’m looking forward to reading those blogs regularly, if they happen.

More generally, it feels like a good time to find my way to other new blogs, that I find that I like, but don’t now know about. I recently made a start by discovering this blog (already mentioned here in this posting).

Selfie couple on the South Bank last Sunday

As already recounted, I photoed many photos, on my walk back home from seeing Michael Jennings last Sunday.

Here is a little clutch of photos I photoed of a couple who were doing a selfie session:

Just about discernible the background there is HMS Belfast, the WW2 battleship that is now permanently parked on the south bank of the Thames, just upstream from Tower Bridge.

I love how the lady does a variation of the selfie hair pat, only this time she was making minute adjustments not to her hair but to her hat.

This is when doing “gallery” of this little clutch of photos is especially helpful, or so I hope. You can click quickly through from one photo straight onto the next photo, and spend no more time on these photos than you choose to.

Safety advice in Nepal

As regular readers of BMNB already know, the BMNB Senior Foreign Correspondent is currently Michael Jennings. His latest item of foreign photo-fun is this:

I know. Ho ho. Johnny Foreigner getting the English language somewhat wrong. My interest is more respectful and serious, which is that it is not just British workers who have become more expensive to kill. This is happening everywhere. Workers are everywhere becoming more skilled and more productive, and employers everywhere are becoming ever keener on them not being killed. Hence all the urging to them to take their own safety seriously.

I bet that in Nepal, scaffolding has recently been getting more abundant and better made.

Google google. Yes, here we go: Nepal Has Been Announced That the Training in the Scaffolding Industry is Showing Improvements. Look at that picture there.

Does Nepal have an edge in the scaffolding trade on account of its expertise in mountaineering? This would make sense.

A cricket fan photoer photos Tower Bridge

My walk back from Bermondsey yesterday soothed me in many ways. During the last few days I had been worrying that wandering about photoing had been losing its charm for me. Something to do with the social isolation of it all, and the deepening fear, as you get older and more fragile, of making enemies. Also, the sheer effort. Well yesterday was an effort. But the charm was as real as ever, and I made no enemies at all that I was aware of.

One photo, for me, summed it all up, combining as it did and does two of my greatest enthusiasms, photoing photoers, and cricket:

So much for the photoing. Now look at his hat:

ICC stands for International Cricket Council, and the ICC CWC is the Cricket World Cup, now being contested here in the UK. This hat is adorned with the heraldry of all the teams in this tournament. You can only see some of these teams, but so I assume. The tiger would be Bangladesh. The silver leaf is New Zealand. The crown and three (rather indistinct) lions is of course England. “Sri Lanka Cricket” speaks for itself. The green and yellow shield must be South Africa, because that’s the South Africa flag above it. The other five teams involved in this “CWC 2019” must be on the other side.

None of which I realised at the time. Such is my eyesight that all I thought I was photoing was a photoer wearing a elborately decorated hat of some kind. I only realised what the hat was about when I got home.

Anyway, my point is that while I was taking my walk, England were playing against the hitherto unbeaten Indians in this Cricket World Cup. England were widely spoken of as favourites to win this tournament, until the tournament actually began and England proceeded, in among winning several other games quite well, to lose to Pakistan, and then to Sri Lanka, and then to Australia. Losing to India would almost certainly have meant England failing to reach the semi-finals in their own tournament. Again. So, yesterday was a very big deal for England cricket. I spent my day alternating between doing my business in Bermondsey with Michael J and having a walk and a drink and another walk with Michael and then making my way back home while all the while photoing, and: keeping up with England’s progress on my mobile phone.

England did well. They batted splendidly, especially at the start of their innings, not least because of the return of the great Jason Roy. And they set a target they would probably be able to stop India chasing down. And sure enough, they did stop India chasing it down. It was tense, but it all ended happily. The Indians were not that bothered because they are almost certainly through to these same semi-finals already, barring implausible mathematics concerning scoring rates, and them losing their last two games.

England still might not make those semi-finals, if they lose to New Zealand on Wednesday, as they well might. But nevertheless, this was a most happy day, and the above photo is a most happy souvenir to remember it with.

My only regret is that there is nothing to be seen on the screen of the mobile phone that the photoer I was photoing was photoing with.