Mariah says to eat crisps for Christmas

A feature, by which I mean a bug, of Growing old is that all the heartfelt love songs of earlier times are now recycled by their original performers to sell sofas, deodorants, food, etc..

All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey is one of my most favourite pop songs, long before sophisticates came around to realising how good it was. (Same with Abba. I loved them from the moment they won Eurovision, before even the Gays noticed them. With the greatest pop songs of a certain vintage, the rule was: Me, Gays, Girls, The Public.)

But now, it turns out that all Mariah Carey really wants for Christmas is …:

… a packet of potato crisps.

Personally I like potato crisps, hence my possession of this crisp packet. But, I despise almost all crisp advertising. What crisp advertising ought to say is: Yes, our crisps are probably bad for you if you scoff too many of them, but they taste terrific, even the plane old salt-flavoured ones. But oh no. Instead, they bribe celebs whose successes in life have been based on not scoffing crisps or similar products, to tell the rest of us to do this, by pretending that they do too, and thereby to imply that crisps are good for you. The more you scoff them, the thinner you’ll be and the better you’ll be at football, and you’ll be athletic enough to win an Olympic medal.

The thing is, though, that Mariah Carey has had serious difficulty staying slim, and she might actually be telling the truth, in now claiming to prefer crisps to the sort of boyfriend she could have when she was young and effortlessly slim and when the world was at her feet.

Displacement

So much for logic. More World Cup torture, for England anyway. By the end, it wasn’t even close.

Looking back on it, it seems to me that what England did in this tournament was what France have done more than once in the past. England amazed everyone by beating the All Blacks and thus cleared the way for someone else to win it. Too bad it wasn’t England. I trust South Africans are suitably grateful.

I funked it again, in the sense that I watched it, but couldn’t bear to listen to what the commentators were saying. But on the plus side: my bowels were emptied more thoroughly and rather earlier than usual; I managed to set the date on a newly acquired camera; some washing up got done; various other displacement activities were accomplished, including reading early bits of this rather good book about Shakespeare; I listed more carefully than usual to parts of Record Review, which is still going now (a suitably agonised Shostakovitch string quartet). I mention such personal trivia because this is my blog, but more to the point because I have nothing to add to the rugby expertise that rugby experts will now be lavishing on this event. In a year’s time the only person reading this posting will be me, maybe.

From the look of it, England made too many mistakes, and South Africa just played better.

World Cup torture

Well, I didn’t watch England slowly torturing the All Blacks to death yesterday, because I could not bear the thought of watching what I was sure would happen, viz: the All Blacks slowly torturing England to death. I merely recorded it all, in the unlikely event that England won and I would then want to see it all. While England were, in fact, winning, I had a Sunaturday morning lie-in.

The thing is, England are pretty good this time around, and watching all the hope being squeezed out of them, and experiencing all the hope being squeezed out of me, was more than I could have endured. I just wanted one nice, humane bullet to the head, with no messing about.

The thing also (see above) is, England never beat the All Blacks at the World Cup. Never. It just doesn’t happen. They always lose to them. Not necessarily by much, but by enough, every time. The French, yes, they beat the All Blacks at the World Cup, every other decade. But England? Never. As Shakespeare would have put it had he been a rugby fan: Never never never never never. So, why was this game going to be any different?

Now, my problem is that I, along with millions of other real rugby fans (such as I clearly am not) by no means all of whom are even English, now think that England are favourites to beat South Africa. South Africa only just beat Wales this morning, and Wales only really really care about beating England. England beat South Africa at the World Cup quite often, just as South Africa beat England at the World Cup quite often. More to the point, England have now beaten the All Blacks at this World Cup, and the All Blacks beat South Africa at this World Cup in the group stage. So, logic says that England will accordingly beat South Africa. So I probably will watch the final. At which point all those South African backs will go crazy and beat England by twenty points. Deep down, however, I only say that to stop it happening. What I really think is that England will win, and very possibly by quite a lot.

It really would be something if England could dump the three senior Southern Hemisphere teams out of this thing, bang bang bang, one after another. Trouble is, this has not happened yet, and with sport, you never know. Sport is not, to put it mildly, always logical.

I mean, I imagine all those All Black fans got the shock of their lives, as it gradually dawned on them that England were, yesterday, better than them, and were going to beat them, at the World Cup. For the first time. Ever. Ever ever ever ever ever. They should have stayed in bed or gone to bed early, or whatever they would have needed to do in their time zone, to spare themselves the grief.

Stephen Fry once quoted Vincent Price saying: exquisite agony. That about sums up what I’m trying to say in this.

Julius Caesar in London

First up, the Julius Caesar statue outside Tower Hill tube station, with a couple having some photo-fun with him:

Second, some photo-evidence I acquired, when Darren and I recently visited the Oval, of the time when Julius Caesar played cricket for Surrey:

I reckon they cheated. It should read: “J Caesar Esq”.

He was born and brought up in Godalming.

I think I just photoed the end of the summer of 2019

You never know with British weather, which is why we talk about it so much. There was a heatwave last February, at any rate in London. And there could be another in October or November. But (see above), yes, I think I may just have watched the summer of 2019 end.

I was at the Oval today, courtesy of cricket buddy Darren, who is a Surrey member. It was this four day game, between Surrey and Notts.

We chose today to go to the Oval with more than half of our eyes on the predicted weather, and as is usual with British weather forecasts, the predicted weather duly turned into the real weather. The morning was, as predicted, summer. The afternoon turned autumnal, again, as predicted.

Here are a few of the photos I photoed, chosen to illustrate how the weather changed:

Photo 1 was taken at 10.42am, assuming my camera was on top of things (but that fits my memory), and photo 12 was taken at 3.16pm.

Photos 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 were taken from the top of the big OCS Stand that curves around at the north western side of the ground, looking out over London. Photo 5 is also from the top of the OCS out over the ground. Photo 7 is the only ground level photo of these. Photos 8-12 were photoed from the top of the Pavilion, where members like Darren congregate to watch the cricket, from on high, in line withe wicket, and from where I can also photo the Big Things of central London.

Between photo 4 and photo 5, the floodlights came on. But oddly, this did not prevent bad light stopping play. I guess that, what with this being “red ball” cricket, instead of “white ball” cricket, floodlights don’t accomplish much.

That’s more like it (LATER: except that it wasn’t)

So far, Surrey have been doing well against Hants, who are now 120 for 8. At lunch, Hants were 60 for 5. And I love that those five wickets were taken by Clarke, Clark, Clarke, Clarke and Clark. That’s Rikki Clarke with the e and Jordan Clark without the e. Rikki Clarke has since got another, and has 5 for 21.

This is the game I’m talking about. Wickets are tumbling all over the country, so 120 for 8 may not (that sound you hear is of bets being hedged) end up being such a bad score. Yeah, now it’s 135 for 8. Morkel, now bowling, has 0 for 37. This year, Morkel is not the force he was last year. Even so, this makes a nice change from all this.

Surrey just brought Clark back on, and he now has three wickets. Jordan Clark. Hants 135 for 9. They were 26 for 4 at one early point. Not unrelated, I surmise, to the fact that they are starting county matches at 10.30am rather than 11am, now that it’s not summer any more.

TWO DAYS LATER: Well that was a hell of a lot less like it that it had started out seeming to be. Far from taking my mind off the England test team (currently 226 for 7 in their first innings in the final test), Surrey copied it. In the first test this summer, as I recall, England got eight early wickets, but nevertheless contrived to lose by a lot. Surrey have just done exactly the same, losing this game by a whopping 272, having started out by having had Hants 90 for 8.

I am a true cricket fan. I am unable to ignore cricket merely because it is going badly for the teams I support. Real fans don’t just enjoy. They suffer. It’s the rule.

LATER: Surrey coach Di Venuto holds forth and it’s not nice.

Ashes to Ashes

In the Old Trafford Test, now nearing its end, which is a must-not-lose game for England, England have to bat tonight and all day tomorrow for a draw. They’ll need a lot of skill, and a lot of luck. And, they needed a good start.

In their first innings, England’s top scorers were Burns and Root. So, this was not what England wanted from the third and fourth balls of their innings:

At the crease now, Joe Denly and Jason Roy, who do not inspire confidence, despite having swapped positions, Denly now being 2 and Roy 4. A cricinfo commenter observed:

Roy faced his first ball of the innings before Denly. Poetic justice for Denly?

I thought that Jason Roy, what with him being class, would turn himself into a test match batsman. The Jos Buttler theory, you might say. I think Roy would do well, against lesser sides. But he has not done well against these Australian bowlers.