Herbert Sutcliffe with possum

Asked Cricinfo, a while back: Who has made the most runs in an Ashes Test only to end on the losing side? I love that kind of thing, so of course I went to find out who it was, and I encountered this charming photo of the answer:

The Ashes record is held by the England opener Herbert Sutcliffe, who scored 303 runs – 176 and 127 – in a seven-day Test in Melbourne in 1924-25.

According to this, the above photo first appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on March 14th 1933.

Of Sutcliffe, Wikipedia, who picked out this same photo of him, says:

A right-handed batsman, Sutcliffe was noted for his concentration and determination, qualities which made him invaluable to his teams in adverse batting conditions; and he is remembered as one of the game’s finest “bad wicket batsmen”. His fame rests mainly in the great opening partnership he formed with Jack Hobbs for England between 1924 and 1930. He also formed notable opening partnerships at Yorkshire with Percy Holmes and, in his last few seasons, the young Len Hutton. During Sutcliffe’s career, Yorkshire won the County Championship 12 times. Sutcliffe played in 54 Test matches for England and on three occasions he toured Australia, where he enjoyed outstanding success.

What England wouldn’t now give for such a batsman.

A drone at the Oval – and what drones will replace

I took this photo at the Oval (sorry the Kia Oval), on July 23rd 2012, when I and Michael Jennings were watching England lose by an innings to South Africa:

All very regrettable. England lost all twenty wickets, but South Africa only lost two wickets. Hashim Amla got a treble century. Boo hoo.

But, take a close look at the rather odd stick-like thing sticking up over that big stand in the distance. Not the big flyswatter, which is for floodlights. No, I mean the rather insect-leg-like thing to its left, as we look.

This:

That’s a simple crop-and-expand of the first photo above.

Then as now, I was interested not just in cricket, as in: Is my team winning? (It was not (see above)). I also was already interested in the means by which cricket is televised or video-intenetted. I know this, because at about the same time I was photoing the above photo, I also photoed this photo:

Imagine spending your entire day, which on that particular day was a pretty hot day, doing that.

Okay. Now, fast forward to the Oval exactly seven years to-the-day later, July 23rd 2019, when Darren and I visited the Oval, to watch Surrey get beaten by Middlesex in a T20 game.

Once again, that my team was losing was very regrettable, but once again, I consoled myself by photoing other things besides the actual cricket, as already recounted in this earlier posting.

And the most interesting thing, by far, that I photoed that evening, was this:

I owe the spotting of this contraption, which hovered throughout the entire game over the same part of the ground as the 2012 crane-photoer did, to Darren’s sharper-than-my eyes, and to the fact that he reads this blog and knew that I would be interested. I would be amazed if I discovered that it was actually not videoing the game that Darren and I were watching, even if it was only panoramic views, for now.

It is surely only a matter of time before drones start being used to video games like the one I saw at Beckenham, where I also photoed video cameras.

And scaffolding. Drones don’t need scaffolding.

I’m guessing that the drone problem just now is keeping them absolutely still, or alternatively, moving them in exactly the required manner, the way crane-photoer has long been doing. But if humming birds can solve this problem, I presume that drones can, and that actually, somewhere, they already have.

Googling for drones-cricket etc. tells me that this is a technology that is bowling ahead, so to speak. For instance, it says here, in connection with the recently concluded Cricket World Cup, that:

The drone camera provided by Batcam will also provide stunning visuals of all venues across England and Wales.

“Batcam” link added.

So, as Darren suggested, it is quite probable that the TV picture in this posting was done by a drone, rather than by a bloke at the top of a crane.

Which means that the Big Alignment described in that posting (the Shard and the BT Tower) may have been no accident. Maybe the drone lined them up right next to each other on purpose.

Quota gallery – June 3rd 2009

Indeed. I did quite a bit of work on another posting today, about scaffolding and video cameras and suchlike. But it’s not finished yet, and I don’t like to rush what I say about scaffolding.

So here are twenty photos I photoed beside the River, just over ten years ago:

The second one is no ordinary building site. That’s the Shard.

The scaffolding in front of the BT Tower is, I’m pretty sure, the beginnings of what is now Blackfriars Station.

Most of these scenes are of things that won’t happen again. But the Blackfriars ghost columns are still there, exactly as shown.

Photography is light.

Boris pater mixed metaphor alert

Incoming email with mixed metaphor and Other creatures news:

Stanley Johnson, Boris pater, on Sky News this morning re Brexit deal: “We’re barking up the wrong horse …”

From GodDaughter2’s pater Tony, to whom thanks. Tor the benefit of anyone reading this who never did Latin, pater means Dad.

Stanley Johnson is an I’m A Celebrity celebrity, it would seem. Or was.

There ought to be an equal and opposite response to this, along the lines of “riding the wrong tree”, but that doesn’t sound quite right. “Jumping trees”? Still not sounding right.

As for Brexit, I personally hope that if Boris is the next PM, he doesn’t jump trees. And I think we can all agree that Prime Minister May has been barking up the wrong horse ever since she got the job.

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.

“This world needs more eyesores, more carbuncles …”

Or to put it another way:

London’s new Tulip skyscraper is great, but why aren’t more people embedding sharks in their roof?

Well, I can think of quite a few answers to that question, but I get the point that Joel Dimmock is making and I like it very much.

Is there starting to be a hum, as the late Chris Tame used to call it, in favour of people being free to build whatever crazy buildings they want to build with their own money on their own property?

One of the more interesting facts about the quotes quoted above is that they appear in The Independent. Okay, in the “Voices” (clickbate?) section, but still, The Independent. Is The Independent starting to be in favour of … independence?

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

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