Amazing drone display opens the Tokyo Olympics
My day was spent recovering from a busy yesterday, trying not to get too hot in all the hotness, and then when I should have been saying profound things here I was watching the first Men’s Hundred Game, which was every bit as entertaining as yesterday’s game, again because it was a good game, and was again won by the Oval Invincibles, this time the men’s version.
So, a photo from the I Just Like It collection, photoed way back in 2007:
He’s photoing Big Ben, with the friend in the horizontally striped stockings in front of it, which means he has to be phptoing from pavement level.
I love the contortions we photoers get ourselves into to get the exact photo we want. It’s as if the process, being so easy, has to become complicated, or else where’s the creativity?
Landscape painters never used to behave like this. They just parked their easels in a comfortable spot for painting, and started painting.
Maybe it’s just that we photoers do this kind of thing because we can!
I watched the first Hundred Cricket game earlier this evening. It was a good game. But that was because it was a good game, not because it was a hundred balls each way, if you get my meaning. Also, it was a ladies game, and there were lots of lady cricketers I’d never seen in action on TV before. It was fun putting faces to names. Mind you, I had to follow it on Cricinfo to work out what was going on. This was not clear to me from the television, but then I’m an old white guy.
It’s as if they poured all their inventiveness and seriousness into making the Hundred a success. If the same stuff had been lavished on regular cricket, then the results might be just as good.
Much effort has gone into making the Hundred “inclusive”, the commentators talking about this a lot. Basically, this seemed to mean keeping fat white blokes of a certain age, on their own or with only their fat white bloke mates, out. They did this with having girlie singers singing girlie songs, and, one also suspects, giving special rates to families, especially if you family includes cute little girls.
Or, maybe they just had a special stand into which they herded all the fat white blokes, and then only showed the diverse bits of the crowd on the TV. Or then again, maybe all those lady cricketers put the fat blokes right off the whole thing.
I quite liked all this. No honking singing, such as fat white blokes do, and none of those stupid costumes.
However, I stand by my original complaints about the Hundred. Why do the people running English cricket think that the basic problem with cricket is that there are only three different versions of it, and there badly needs to be another, a lot like on the those original three, but different? It still makes no sense. They’re polishing a turd, quite skilfully, but it’s still a turd. Also, for English cricket to strike out on its own like this makes no sense. The Indians, who are now the centre of gravity of cricket, have made a huge success of T20 cricket, even though the format was first devised here. We should just be doing basic cricket as is better, not throwing all the toys out of the pram and starting again with another version of it that the foreigners will surely ignore.
None of the other big old sports behave remotely like this. They just do their regular game as well as they can.
I like this:
The job of billionaires is to live a better life, and while doing that pay for it to go from being an expensive luxury to a cheap and universal commonplace.
People moan about “trickle down” economics, often claiming that it doesn’t even happen. I only have to look at my flat screen TV, upon which I am now happily watching cricket, to know that this is wrong.
Yes, the latest recorded conversation between me and Patrick Crozier is up. It’s about sport. My pet theory, that the rise of professional sport and the ending (for now (fingers crossed)) of great wars between great powers are not coincidental events, gets another airing. I expanded because it sounded like Patrick was having his ear bent on this topic for the first time. I swear I’ve mentioned it before. Should also have mentioned a famous earlier peace episode, the Pax Romana, which gave rise to the custom-built sports arena in the first place, gladiators, etc. Forgot.
Our conversation happened just before the Euro2020 (that happened in 2021) semi-finals. Patrick doesn’t care to watch England games because England have disappointed him so often. I resist watching them because I can’t help getting sucked in and my nerves can’t take it, so I keep half an eye, rather than the usual two, on the game, while internet surfing.
I don’t know about you, but I thought England did quite well last night. They matched a superb Italian side for two hours and more, only losing very narrowly on penalties. It was as close as these things can be. Had Italy won 6-0, that would have been very bad, but that didn’t happen. As it was England were the better team in the first half, and when Italy came back at them so strongly after half time they could have disintegrated, but didn’t. Nor did England get knocked out earlier in the tournament. I know lots of people say that in sport, winning is everything, but it’s clearly not so. A good losing effort counts for a lot. Winning is better, I know that, but losing well is not nothing.
So, I for one have no problem contemplating where it all happened, again:
Those photos were photoed at irregular intervals, and from various spots since the new Wembley got finished. Photo 1, as I recall: Hampstead. Photos 2 and 3: Up River, towards Putney. 4: From the Top of Tate Modern. 5: From the top of the Air Forces Memorial just above Runnymede, a walk away from where I grew up. 6: After I’d actually been at a match at the olace. 7: Somewhere south, but not sure exactly where (The archives weren’t always as well organised as they later got to be. 8 and 9: From the top of the tower of Westminster Cathedral. Some of these views are very distant, but it’s there in every one I promise you.
And it continues being one of my favourite London Big Things.
All eyes are on Wembley just now. I am even now watching The Final, England being one up after half an hour, having been one up after two minutes of course. Italy are getting back into it though, and as if to prove the beginning of this sentence spot on, just when I typed in the previous comma but one, they nearly managed an equaliser. The England goalie was well beaten. But now England have just missed a goal, so as of now I have no idea how it will end.
Having nothing useful to contribute in the way of football analysis, I went looking for Wembley photos in the archives, and encountered this trove of photos, all named and numbered and resized and ready to go but which have yet to be displayed here, of what I still think of as the “new” Wembley, when they were busy constructing it, way back in 2005:
September 20th 2005 to be exact, again with the Canon S1 IS, which was as I’ve said earlier in the week, very hit or miss. But quite a hit that day, I think. I have seen a game inside this new stadium and it is a stadium much like any other. But that arch was a stroke of genius. If we still want to think about football in a few days time, I may gather together some more of my Wembley photos, this time of how it looks in the bigger London picture.
It’s now half time, and the BBC commetators are all explaining why England are winning. But Mancini will have plenty to say to his team, and Italy will surely be better than they were at the start of this.
We shall see.
Yes, around five years ago, or so, I had a phase of photoing vans, white vans in particular. I seem to recall some Labour woman politician having a go at them, and I think that pissed me off and I had in mind to stick up lots of white van photos to glorify them and to unglorify her.
That lot is just the photos I photoed in the one month of July 2016. Which means there are a great many more such in the archives of around that time.
But then, I kind of lost interest in these things. Somewhere in my somewhere-on-that-spectrum mind of mine is the notion that these collections only work if the basic shape of the things in question is the same every time, with only the decor being different. That is certainly the rule I follow with taxis. Taxis come in several different shapes, but I only photo one shape. The others don’t appeal.
One of the above white vans (photo 20) isn’t even white. I include this van because I like it, what with it being parked under one of the stands at the Oval, and it’s nearly white. I recently heard Surrey cricket commentator Mark Church describe this colour as “duck egg blue”. He was talking about the Surrey shirts for T20 games, but they looked like they were the exact same colour.
i’ve always liked that big model of London at the Building Centre in Store Street. Well, it’s not there any more. But, relax. It’s moved, to King’s Cross.
And, there’s now more of it than there used to be:
And that’s the new bit, off to the north west of London.
To me, this is an interesting photo, because it highlights the imperfections of this model. I don’t know about you, but to me it looks like large swathes of north west London are flooded, especially, because of the accidents of lighting, in the top right of the photo. That being because both the buildings and the ground they are stuck on are both, actually, so very rudimentary. The land is just a shiny sheet of plastic. And there’s no up and down to be seen, of the land. Only of the buildings.
And those railway lines. They look like continuous railway stations, I reckon.
I look forward to the day when you can flap about over London, for about one fine day, in a helicopter, hoovering up photos, and then shovel all the photos into a 3D-printing machine which can then spit out the final model. And, that model then looks an order of magnitude more realistic than this one does. With all the right colours and shapes and heights, as big as you want, any scale you want, just as it would look from an airplane. That would really be something.
Meanwhile, this Store Street/King’s Cross model only hints at such excellence, in isolated moments when they decided to go all-out and make at least a few of the buildings look as they do in real life, instead of like they were made of Lego (before Lego started cheating by making special shaped bits).
For instance: Oh look, there’s Wembley Stadium, looking remarkably like actual Wembley Stadium, other than it being totally smothered in whiteness. Next Wednesday, in actual Wembley Stadium, there is apparently going to be a big international football match.
Good timing for me and Patrick Crozier, because we going to do another of our recorded conversations, this time about sport, this coming Tuesday. Patrick’s going to drop be at my place, and for first time in I don’t know how long we’ll be doing it face-to-face. However, we are going to use a newly acquired microphone, which Patrick fears may not work. So we’ll have to be careful we don’t say anything so clever that we regret not recording it properly, if that’s what happens. I’m sure we’ll be up to doing that.
There’s been all sorts of sport going on lately, what with England playing cricket against New Zealand (NZ won) and against Sri Lanka (a mismatch), and then New Zealand finding the time in between the rain of Southampton to beat India in the World Test Championship. Plus, there’s been football, and all the fuss when Scotland exulted in their 0-0 triumph against England at Wembley, which was their best moment so far and England’s worst. Today Wales got thumped by Denmark, one of whose players nearly died in an earlier game, so Wales were the bad guys of that. No links because if you care about all that, you already know it and if you don’t know about it you don’t care.
However, my favourite sporting achievement of the last week or two has definitely been Harlequins beating, first, top of the table Bristol, and then defending champions Exeter, both very narrowly, to win the Rugby Premiership.
Before these two games, David Flatman said, at the end of the final highlights show of the regular season, that Harlequins would have to tighten up their defence. Flatman’s was the classic “I’d love it if they won but they won’t win it, will they?” attitude. Harlequins just carried on trying to score more points than the other fellows, which would have to mean scoring a lot of points, because they don’t really do that defending stuff well enough to win any gongs, just by defending. That was their attitude. When you consider that Quins conceded 36 points while beating Bristol in the semi and 38 points while beating Exeter in the final, I think we can say that their way of winning worked out pretty well.
I actually support Harlequins, them being based at Twickenham, through whose station I have travelled many, many times, going from my boyhood home to London or more recently visiting friends out west, including one who lives in actual Twickenham. But like Flatman I considered Harlequins to be heroic losers rather than winners. The sort of also-rans whose running makes the Rugby Premiership a title worth winning, but not the sort who’d actually run out the winners themselves. Fun to watch, until it becomes clear who is going to win.
Not this time. Highlights of the semi already recorded. Final highlights tomorrow evening at 11.30pm. Video set.