Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Tom on Pavlova reflected in double glazing
Tom on Smart face on smartphone
Tom on The Shard was looking very special today
Alan Little on Out and about with GD1 (2): How mobile phones both cause and solve meeting up problems
Brian Micklethwait on Unusual bench?
Stewart on Unusual bench?
6000 on The Shard was looking very special today
Rob Fisher on Smart face on smartphone
Southall on A posh white van and a not so posh white van
Darren on England crush NZ (and Surrey beat Leicester)
Most recent entries
- Smoke over west London
- Moving speaker – unmoving listeners, video holder and books
- Pavlova reflected in double glazing
- Out and about with GD1 (3): Baritone borrows my charger
- Out and about with GD1 (2): How mobile phones both cause and solve meeting up problems
- Unusual bench?
- More keeping up of appearances
- Cats and cricket – cats and drones
- Two strangers photoed by Mick Hartley and show there (and here) without their permission
- You can tell that drones have arrived because now they are being turned into a sport
- The Shard was looking very special today
- Windsor Castle from the top of the RAF Memorial
- Photoing old Dinky Toys in Englefield Green
Other Blogs I write for
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adventures in Capitalism
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Boatang & Demetriou
Burning Our Money
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
China Law Blog
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Coffee & Complexity
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Deleted by tomorrow
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
Dr Robert Lefever
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
Gates of Vienna
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Laissez Faire Books
Last of the Few
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
More Than Mind Games
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Nation of Shopkeepers
Never Trust a Hippy
Non Diet Weight Loss
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
Police Inspector Blog
Private Sector Development blog
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Setting The World To Rights
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Violins and Starships
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours
Arts & Letters Daily
Bjørn Stærk's homepage
Butterflies and Wheels
Dark Roasted Blend
Digital Photography Review
Ghana Centre for Democratic Reform
Global Warming and the Climate
History According to Bob
Institut économique Molinari
Institute of Economic Affairs
Ludwig von Mises Institute
Oxford Libertarian Society
The Christopher Hitchens Web
The Space Review
The TaxPayers' Alliance
This is Local London
UK Libertarian Party
Victor Davis Hanson
WSJ.com Opinion Journal
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Cats and kittens
Food and drink
How the mind works
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
My blog ruins
Signs and notices
The Micklethwait Clock
This and that
One of my favourite buildings in London is Westminster Cathedral, and this is a recent picture of it (also featuring nearby flats), that I took last month:
And by going to the website linked to above, I just found out you can go up to the top of this tower, and stay as long as you like.
Blog and learn.
There was that hideous cold snap in early February (which is not that surprising), which was the time, fool that I was, I chose for my recent trip to Paris. And then at the end of March there was a warm snap, when I was back in London.
So here are some snaps of the other kind of London’s Millennium Footbridge dug up from the archives, taken during that warm snap:
And now it’s back to being cold. Sign of advancing years: being acutely sensitive to temperature.
Last Tuesday, at 10pm, I met somebody at Piccadilly Circus. I seem to recall it being on QI that actually the Eros Statue isn’t really an Eros Statue, but despite that, we met next to the Eros Statue. It sounds more exciting than it was.
While waiting for this person to arrive, I of course, took photos of people taking photos:
And on the way home, I photographed some Modern Art:
That’s in a tube station. Green Park, I think.
On day five at the P Sara, I listened to a conversation.
Now I’m well aware that this conversation may not have interested everyone, but when Suraj Randiv and Graeme Swann found each other out on the ground, I knew what they were talking about. You could tell by their hands that it was nerd spin talk.
To get close enough to hear I had to push through the crowd who were holding up English kit that had been thrown to them by the players, police officers who were standing there without really doing anything and the throng of people trying to take photos of Swann. I got as close to Randiv and Swann as the massive English security officer would let me. Then I had to block out the many fans who were planning to get something signed the minute the conversation ended.
The first bits I heard where Swann talking about wrist position. My persistence had paid off. For the next three minutes I was listening to a spin bowling masterclass. Randiv had clearly asked Swann about his action and whether he imparted too much over-spin on the ball. Swann explained his own action, and suggested that too much over-spin wasn’t a problem for Randiv as he still ragged it.
Don’t quite get that bit. Was it Swann who “imparted too much over-spin” or Randiv? And what does “ragged” mean?
Wrists, fingers, arm height and follow through were all discussed as Randiv, and I, listened intently. Randiv, Swanny’s Padawan learner, and me, the lucky eavesdropper.
The conversation ended with Swanny being very complimentary to Randiv about his bowling. He never said ‘attaboy’, but it was one of those sorts of conversations. I assume it boosted Randiv; even I was ready to hit the nets and try a few offies to see if Swann’s words could help me. And I’m a leggie.
Spin bowlers in cricket are different from the rest. The regular cricketers are all regular super-athletes, who could have done football or golf or tennis instead, had the ball fallen only slightly different. But the spinners often seem like they stepped right out of The Big Bang Theory. A different twist of the wrist at a critical moment, and they could have been geography teachers or nuclear physicists, or, in the case of Phil Tufnell, a bookie.
One of the tribe, Piyush Chawla, yesterday at the IPL, made a wonderful mess of a steepling catch on the boundary. He moved back and back and back, but never enough, dropped it, and then rolled completely over, losing any idea he may have once had about where the ball was. Not yet on YouTube, but it soon will be.
By the way, take a look at this scorecard. Be sure to scroll down to the end.
Last night I went along to that meeting that Simon Gibbs and Andy Janes flagged up in comments on the previous posting here, and am very glad to have done so. I will try to do a write-up of it for Samizdata (although I promise nothing). Meanwhile here are a couple of pictures I took:
On the left, the guest speaker at the meeting, Tom Burroughes. On the right, a snap of somewhat over half of those present, including Tom.
The picture on the left shows how good speaker photos can be, even in poor light. The picture on the right shows the usefulness of having a wider angle lens that I have hitherto had. However, only a rather small proportion of the rather few snaps I took came out well, which was a slight disappointment. The new camera is better for this kind of thing than the old one, but not as much of an improvement as I had been hoping.
Or maybe I am just getting used to it, and my standards have gone up.
Here’s another picture that works better with the new wider and more panoramic lens. It’s the venue of the meeting, the Rose & Crown, taken when I first got there:
Another for the Pubs Dwarfed by Modernity collection. Pubs in London are like Churches, in that they have a habit of surviving when all around them is replaced by higher rise modernity. (Of course, you no longer see the pubs that perish.)
I had been wandering around in Southwark beforehand, mostly snapping the Shard through random architectural and other junk in the foreground. As a result I found myself approaching the Rose & Crown from an unfamiliar and more interesting direction than usual.
A comment on this at Samizdata, from “Fred”. Harsh, but containing much truth:
This used to be a great blog, but it’s dying. Not that the contributors still on it aren’t doing a decent job, but there’s not enough of them, with not enough time and energy. You need some new blood. The country needs Samizdata to come back revitalized. (I’d offer my services, but I’m also a burnt-out case).
I doubt that’ll be discussed very much on Samizdata itself.
For me, the key figure is Perry de Havilland. Samizdata is indeed now a shadow of what it once was. But when Perry writes for it, the shadow seems to go away and the thing itself returns. But he is now, it would seem, blogged out, and Samizdata is hugely the worse for it. Groups in general and group blogs in particular don’t function properly if not properly lead, and Samizdata used to be lead by example. Perry did a superb job setting Samizdata up, and the momentum has been extraordinary. But “Fred” is right. That momentum is no longer there.
I am entirely aware that I myself am a part of this problem. I too find that I can only say and do so much. I look back on the last decade of my life with a feeling that I could have done a whole lot better. All I did for Samizdata was join in, and contribute well and often, for a while. Perry de Havilland did massively better than that.
Personally I’m not sure that Samizdata itself “needs” to revive. The country may “need Samizdata”, but the country may just have to make other arrangements. But the attitude Samizdata embodied when it was started, and still tries to embody, needs to stick around, if not at Samizdata itself then somewhere.
The sight of a bunch of old guys casting about for “new blood” can be rather undignified, and the process usually fails anyway. Can ageing firebrands find younger replacements, to do the same old jobs? This is just about the hardest thing there is when it comes to institution making. Personally, I have always concentrated on putting the ideas out there, and relying on the next generation to stay with them and express them in their own way, with their own enterprises and communicational techniques, not as junior members of Old Guy Institutions. I tend to doubt the excellence of younger people who attach themselves to ancient institutions, rather than creating their own. I mean, what’s stopping them doing their own thing? It’s not like it takes a revolution to set up a new libertarian drumbeating machine. And there are a couple out there that I can think of. But maybe the fact that those operations are even on my radar means that they are not where the real libertarian action is right now, and the Real Thing is happening entirely elsewhere.
I often find that simply stating a problem out loud can make it go away. The answer, that had seemed impossible, becomes obvious. Maybe this posting will do that for me now.
Last week I journeyed to the Monument and walked up the 311 steps to the top, to take photos with my new camera.
Many were standard views, of this sort:
What I had particularly come to see was how the Shard was looking, from this particularly fine vantage point. Very fine, I think:
But what, you may be asking, is that metallic interruption in the foreground, bottom left.
It’s the wire netting, which was, a few years ago, put around the viewing platform at the top of the Monument, replacing the bars that used to be there.
Here’s what this wire netting now looks like:
And here are couple of snaps I took exactly (almost to the day) seven years ago:
Those bars were much more convenient for digital photography, I think you will agree, especially when you realise that the holes in the new wire netting are only just big enough to take pictures through, with a camera like mine. (The snappers with cheap little cameras actually have it easier.) Equally as good as the size of the gaps between the bars is that you could rest your camera on a horizontal platform which interrupted the vertical bars and which might have been put there for that exact purpose, and swivel your camera through nearly 180 degrees.
Health and safety?
Partly because of the above, and partly because of the weather that day, the pictures I took seven years ago are actually better than the ones I took last week. Here are a couple more:
On the right there, where the Shard now is.
LATER: More snaps by me from the top of the Monument, that same afternoon last week, this time time of bee hives.