Cricket contrasts

This is remarkable:

Although, Pooran might have thrown a catch to the nearby fielder and got the batsman out. All he did was save a few runs. So, not ten out of ten.

I also recommend a look at the scorecard, if you care anything about cricket. Biggest successful run chase in IPL history, apparently.

Thankyou Maia Bouchier, who I once saw play in an otherwise all male cricket match at Lord’s between my old posh school and another posh school. (Memo to self, transfer to here two blog postings I did about this strange event.)

I misspent (by which I mean I greatly enjoyed it) quite a bit of today watching Essex get their draw against Somerset, and win The Bob, as I hear they are now calling it. This was a very different sort of game to that IPL game. For starters it went on for five days, yet it was still a draw. But despite it being a draw, Essex won. You don’t see that very often. Meanwhile, that IPL game, like all IPL games, was all done in a few hours.

The only major thing these two games had in common, aside from both being cricket matches, is that, because of The Plague, there was nobody watching them at the actual grounds where they were played.

The Tower Hotel could benefit from Magic Paint

One of London’s more impressive architectural survivals from the Brutalist era is this building:

That’s the Tower Hotel, with Tower Bridge in the foreground. I am fond of this edifice, not only because of its Brutalism, but also because of its impressively cluttered upper reaches, which look like this:

Both of the above photos were photoed by me in 2016. (What is that VW sign doing there? Never noticed that before.)

I love the combination of orthodox Brutalism in the main body of the building and anarchy on the top of it. (See also this splendid edifice of the same architectural vintage.)

I also recall that this hotel played a prominent support role in the final scene of a long ago movie called Sweeney!, which was a movie spin-off from the TV show of that name. A sinister villain played by Barry Foster is being put on a boat by British spooks, after he’d stayed the night at the Tower Hotel, which then looked quite new and “modern”, not dated at all. But Regan (John Thaw) showed up and arrested the Barry Foster character for making money off of immoral earnings, and the Barry Foster character was immediately shot dead, by two other villains in a taxi, to stop him spilling any beans about even more sinister villains. (Regan was angry with the Barry Foster character because he had had a prostitute (Diane Keen) killed, and Regan wanted revenge.) All of which took place on the river bank between the Tower Hotel and the River. For some reason, this scene had a big effect on me, and a lot of the reason for that was the Tower Hotel.

The reason I mention this building is that it is a fine example of the sort of building that might go up in public estimation if it were decorated with the Magic Paint that I mentioned-stroke-invented in this earlier posting about Colourful architecture in the past and in the future. This was about how various ancient buildings, now as dreary in colour as the Tower Hotel has always been, used to be a lot more colourful, and about how similar effects might yet be contrived again, with … Magic Paint. (Magic Paint is paint that can take on any painted pattern at the flick of an electronic switch. Inventors: get busy!)

And the reason I mention this earlier posting about Magic Paint, colourful gothic cathedrals, and the like, is that someone on Facebook with quite a following has recently linked to this old posting, causing a rather gratifying spike in traffic here during the last few days. But, all I can learn from my traffic analysing page is that the link comes from somewhere on Facebook. It could well be someone I know, or know of, and therefore someone that some of my readers might know, or know of. Anyone? Maybe you, sir or madam, have just come from that very Facebook location of which I write, and can tell me who it was. That’s if you feel inclined.

Julia Hartley-Brewer on ducking auto-editing on her ducking iPhone

Indeed:

Why does my iPhone always think I’m trying to type “ducking” when I’m actually trying to type “ducking” and no matter how many times I type “ducking” it still auto-edits it to “ducking” every ducking time? Is there any way of stopping this?

I didn’t LOL, but I did smile.

I don’t suffer from this ducking problem here.

LATER: I’d never watched this before. Ducking good.

No sport and strange sport

It is becoming clearer and clearer to me that one of the weirdest features of what you might describe as “classic Lockdown”, Lockdown when Lockdown was at its most Lockeddown, was the complete absence of professional sport for a sports fan like me to be keeping half an eye on. Nothing. Whole months would go by with nothing of a sporting nature distracting me, either in the morning (cricket), in the afternoon (soccer), in the evening (soccer again), or in the night (cricket in faraway places). A lot of the reason why this blog accelerated around then was this total lack of sport to distract me.

Now, almost equally weirdly, we are having a spell of professional sport with no studio audiences present, but with all the electronics going strong and telling the likes of me about it all.

This morning I tuned in to the final day of test match cricket this summer, the radio version, and of course it was, as predicted, rain stopped play. So instead, they were replaying that amazing last wicket stand between Stokes and Leach that won the test match against Australia at Headingley. This was apparently exactly one year ago today. At first, they introduced this, and then everything stopped. It took me a while to work out why. It was because I can’t stand listening to cricket commentaries where they have spliced in an “atmosphere” backing. I just want to hear what they’s saying with no blatantly fictional crowd noises bolted onto the back of it. And that was why the commentary from a year ago wasn’t working. The default setting for TMS includes the fake atmosphere, and only when I switched to that did the commentary from a year ago kick in.

And I listened to that whole last wicket stand. Having already watched it a while back, on YouTube. I really like radio commentaries. And I find that I get surprisingly little more from actually seeing it on television. Oh, I do get some more, but not as much more as you might suppose. And when it came to this unique passage of play, exactly one year ago, listening to the radio version, which was what I did first time around, proved at least as gripping as watching it on TV.

I think this could be the consequence of my childhood, when radio was an option, and only later in my childhood did the telly cut in. From about six to around ten, all I had was radio, and I loved it.

Something similar happened to me with classical music on the radio. That started even younger, with my mother controlling the radio nobs, not me in my baby chair. But presumably she kept it on because I seemed to like it, and also because it is universally understood, by the sort of person my mother was, that classical music is Good For You, like green vegetables and like the ancient latin and ancient greek I was made to do at school, despite the lack of moral uplift supplied by classical music to the likes of Hannibal Lecter and Adolf Hitler.

Home cinema is just so much better than regular cinema

And David Burge tweets one of the many ways in which this is true:

I’ll go back to movie theaters when they install pause & rewind buttons.

To be boringly pedantic, this wouldn’t make things any better, because presumably, in a cinema, everyone would have to have this right. Burge’s idea only makes sense if I have this facility, but nobody else does. But if everyone has it, nightmare, for everyone else. I know, he was only kidding. He identifies a real and serious problem, then cracks a joke about how it could be solved, which he knows wouldn’t work.

Aside from the above insoluble problem, the other insoluble problems with regular cinema type cinemas are: “home cinema” screens have got massively bigger, better and cheaper in recent years; “home cinema” content is infinite and chosen by you; home is much easier to get to from home; home is a much nicer place. And I’m sure there are several other totally deal-breaking drawbacks to “cinema cinema” that I’ve not mentioned because they’re so obvious I couldn’t even think of them.

Why I disagree with Alice Smith about “the BLM movement”

Alice Smith tweets:

“The BLM movement is totally different from the BLM organisation.”

Yes, just the same way that the Marxist movement is different from Marxist organisations.

And your point is?

Setting aside that bit of snark at the end, which I only include for completeness (that is the whole tweet), I think Alice Smith is wrong about this. I often do agree with her, which is why I follow her on Twitter, but on this, not.

I think that the “Marxist movement” is a lot more similar to “Marxist organisations” than the “BLM movement” is to BLM.

For instance, before they embark upon a test match, England’s cricketers and their test match opponents this summer have together been “taking the knee”. That makes them, in their way, part of the “Black Lives Matter movement”. I know why they’ve been doing this. They’re saying that back lives matter. They are saying that, what with cricket being very multi-racial and multi-cultural, everyone should be treated with respect, there should be no racial insults, etc. etc. And the world in general ought be like that too. It may be a bit virtue-signally, but they really are signalling actual virtues by doing this. Which is why I do not object.

If, on the other hand, I thought that by kneeling thus, these cricketers had been signalling their approval for the demolition of Western Civilisation and its replacement by tyrannical barbarism, which is what BLM, the organisation, believes in and is doing everything it can to bring about, I’d be angry. But if these cricketers thought that that was what taking the knee actually meant, or what the rest of us watching this on our televisions also thought it meant, they’d not be doing it.

Insofar as the BLM organisation actually succeeds in convincing us all that taking the knee does indeed mean favouring the destruction of Western Civilisation, then the practise will become confined to those groups of people who actually believe in the destruction of Western Civilisation. My understanding is that this is happening, somewhat, in America, which is why taking the knee is now losing some of its appeal. But it is not happening, or has not yet happened very much, in Britain.

England v Pakistan: No spectators and all the time in the world

The first test match between England and Pakistan could be a terrible disappointment, for England fan me. But, as I write this now, it could get special. England are chasing 277, I think it is, in the fourth innings. Pakistan got a first innings lead of over a hundred, but then got bowled out for only 169, so England appear to have a chance. It’s the morning of the fourth day now, so England have two days to get those runs. Nobody is at the ground watching, other than the players not out on the pitch and the ground staff and the TV and radio commentators. But it turns out that mere spectators at the ground aren’t necessary for test cricket to be thoroughly absorbing. Test cricket can be played in front of a live studio audience. But if it isn’t, nothing important seems to change.

Basically, if England start losing wickets now, as they well might according to what I’m hearing about plays and misses, then Pakistan will surely win later today, by quite a lot. If England can somehow hang about until tomorrow, they have a chance.

Oh dear. England one down already.

LATER:

England are nevertheless now hurtling towards their target.

LATER: Three quick wickets. England now four down and sinking fast. Shame. Looks like being all over today. The next LATER in this looks being that.

LATER: Well if you follow the first link at the top of this you will now know what a win this was for England, and with the final day not needed. Following those dots above, England lost a flurry of wickets and were at one point 117-5. But Buttler and Woakes turned it around, first by counter-attacking (that being why the final day was not needed) and then by, well, just batting. Buttler got out before the end, but Woakes stayed to the end.

The weird thing is: It would be logical if both Buttler and Woakes now got dropped. Buttler kept wicket very badly, and his batting has not usually been nearly this good. Woakes might be dropped if Stokes is fit to bowl. Given that Stokes actually did some bowling, he surely will be able to bowl. More likely though is that Buttler will stay, and they’ll hope he keeps better in the future. And Anderson will get dropped. Wibble wibble wibble. What the hell do I know? What a game.

Has television rotted brains?

When I did education blogging, this was one of the opinions I acquired, that television may not exactly rot the brain, but it does, shall we say, interrupt its development:

One very specific factor, however, could have led to the stagnation of intellectual performance in the United States in the 1950s. It was then that television entered the lives of families and individuals, rearing them to some extent away from written culture. By 1958, there were 287 television sets per 1,000 inhabitants in the United States. I mentioned earlier that intensive reading before puberty made Homo sapiens more intelligent. It comes as no surprise that an abandonment of intensive reading reduces the effectiveness of the human brain.

It’s not, that is to say, just a matter of teachers getting worse.

So, does this mean that, what with all the texting that the kids do nowadays, that the kids will resume getting cleverer? To find out the answer that that being yet one more reason why I’d like to live to three hundred, instead of just for about another decade or so.

The quote is from Lineages of Modernity (pp.211-212), by Emmanuel Todd, which I am now three quarters of the way through.

Strange sport

In between the first two photos I showed in the previous posting, of and from the coutyard, and the second two, of the hair and the mugs, I also photoed this:

That’s Vincent Square. In the far distance, the Wheel. In the not so far distance, the Vincent Square cricket pavilion. In the foreground? Cricket? There often would be at this time of year, played by the inmates of nearby Westminster School. But the Plague has kiboshed all that. Cricket is only just getting going again.

But we have had two test matches, the second of which concluded today, between England and the West Indies. It’s now one all and one to go, the one to go getting going this coming Friday. More heroics for England from Stokes.

Nobody is at the grounds watching these games, but for the many thousands following virtually, on radio or on television, these are still test matches. I found it oddly soothing, when I watched the highlights on television, or listened to the radio commentary, in which regular reference was made to the strangeness of it all. Usually, the empty seats that often afflict cricket test matches not against Australia are a source of regret, embarrassment even. But for these games, there was the perfect excuse.

This hasn’t been much of a posting, but I wanted something here to remember this strange summer of sport by. One of the oddest things about Lockdown was, first, the total absence of any sport, and then, the oddity of the professional sport that did resume. With all the apparatus of modern communication, but no actual spectators. The perfect reflection of what has been happening to the world as a whole. We weren’t allowed to go anywhere or be anywhere, but we had no trouble keeping in touch.

An England v West Indies memory – at least I got how the stumps looked afterwards

Tomorrow, assuming I have it right, a test match begins between England and the West Indies, in Southampton. There’ll be no spectators, but they’ve all played either English county cricket or whatever is the equivalent in the West Indies, so the players will know how to handle that, no worries.

My favourite moment in an England West Indies test match happened in July 2004 at Lord’s, when Ashley Giles, England’s skilled but nevertheless rather journeyman-type spin bowler, bowled Brian Lara, the West Indian batting superstar.

I photoed it. Well, I did a photo about a quarter of a minute after it had happened:

There you can just about make out Lara, trudging off into the distance, while Giles is mobbed by his team-mates.

Giles knocked back Lara’s middle stump. How do I know that? Because it’s in my photo, which I only just realised, because only just now did I examined it properly:

Crop, sharpen, and there it is. My Canon A70 was pretty terrible by today’s standards, but it was good enough to show that. YouTube confirms it (never seen that before). Giles’s hundredth wicket in test cricket, apparently. Blog and learn.

England bowled the West Indies out that day and won the match. Scorecard here.

Afterwards I watched the highlights on telly. I remember thinking how much more informative these were than actually being there. But despite that, less entertaining.