Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

Home

www.google.co.uk


Recent Comments


Monthly Archives


Most recent entries


Search


Advanced Search


Other Blogs I write for

Brian Micklethwait's Education Blog

CNE Competition
CNE Intellectual Property
Samizdata
Transport Blog


Blogroll

2 Blowhards
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adloyada
Adventures in Capitalism
Alan Little
Albion's Seedling
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Alex Singleton
AngloAustria
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Biased BBC
Bishop Hill
BLDG BLOG
Bloggers Blog
Blognor Regis
Blowing Smoke
Boatang & Demetriou
Boing Boing
Boris Johnson
Brazen Careerist
Bryan Appleyard
Burning Our Money
Cafe Hayek
Cato@Liberty
Charlie's Diary
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
Chicago Boyz
China Law Blog
Cicero's Songs
City Comforts
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Clay Shirky
Climate Resistance
Climate Skeptic
Coffee & Complexity
Coffee House
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Contra Niche
Contrary Brin
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Скрипучая беседка
CrozierVision
Dave Barry
Davids Medienkritik
David Thompson
Deleted by tomorrow
deputydog
diamond geezer
Dilbert.Blog
Dizzy Thinks
Dodgeblogium
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
dropsafe
Dr Robert Lefever
Dr. Weevil
ecomyths
engadget
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
English Cut
English Russia
EU Referendum
Ezra Levant
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Flickr blog
Freeborn John
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
ft.com/maverecon
Fugitive Ink
Future Perfect
FuturePundit
Gaping Void
Garnerblog
Gates of Vienna
Gizmodo
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
HE&OS
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Ideas
Idiot Toys
IMAO
Indexed
India Uncut
Instapundit
Intermezzo
Jackie Danicki
James Delingpole
James Fallows
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Jihad Watch
Joanne Jacobs
Johan Norberg
John Redwood
Jonathan's Photoblog
Kristine Lowe
Laissez Faire Books
Languagehat
Last of the Few
Lessig Blog
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Alone
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
listen missy
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Londonist
Mad Housewife
Mangan's Miscellany
Marginal Revolution
Mark Wadsworth
Media Influencer
Melanie Phillips
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael Jennings
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
Mick Hartley
More Than Mind Games
mr eugenides
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Natalie Solent
Nation of Shopkeepers
Neatorama
neo-neocon
Never Trust a Hippy
NO2ID NewsBlog
Non Diet Weight Loss
Normblog
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
Oddity Central
Oliver Kamm
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
phosita
Picking Losers
Pigeon Blog
Police Inspector Blog
PooterGeek
Power Line
Private Sector Development blog
Public Interest.co.uk
Publius Pundit
Quotulatiousness
Rachel Lucas
RealClimate
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Rob's Blog
Sandow
Scrappleface
Setting The World To Rights
Shane Greer
Shanghaiist
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sinclair's Musings
Slipped Disc
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stephen Fry
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Style Bubble
Sunset Gun
Survival Arts
Susan Hill
Teblog
Techdirt
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Agitator
The AntRant
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 Croydonian
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 Filter^
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Futurist
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 Sharpener
The Speculist
The Surfer
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
things magazine
TigerHawk
Tim Blair
Tim Harford
Tim Worstall
tomgpalmer.com
tompeters!
Transterrestrial Musings
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Unqualified Offerings
Violins and Starships
Virginia Postrel
Vodkapundit
WebUrbanist
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


Websites


Mainstream Media

BBC
Guardian
Economist
Independent
MSNBC
Telegraph
The Sun
This is London
Times


Syndicate

RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0
Atom
Feedburner
Podcasts


Categories

Advertising
Africa
Anglosphere
Architecture
Art
Asia
Atheism
Australasia
Billion Monkeys
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Books
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Brians
Bridges
Business
Career counselling
Cartoons
Cats and kittens
China
Civil liberties
Classical music
Comedy
Comments
Computer graphics
Cranes
Crime
Current events
Democracy
Design
Digital photographers
Drones
Economics
Education
Emmanuel Todd
Environment
Europe
Expression Engine
Family
Food and drink
France
Friends
Getting old
Globalisation
Healthcare
History
How the mind works
India
Intellectual property
Japan
Kevin Dowd
Language
Latin America
Law
Libertarianism
Links
Literature
London
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
Movies
Music
My blog ruins
My photographs
Open Source
Opera
Other creatures
Painting
Photography
Podcasting
Poetry
Politics
Pop music
Propaganda
Quote unquote
Radio
Religion
Roof clutter
Russia
Scaffolding
Science
Science fiction
Sculpture
Signs and notices
Social Media
Society
Software
South America
Space
Sport
Technology
Television
The internet
The Micklethwait Clock
Theatre
This and that
This blog
Transport
Travel
USA
Video
War


Category archive: Sport

Friday June 09 2017

I am consoling myself for the depressing current state of British politics by thinking about cricket, which has been pretty good, despite the weather.  The Champions Trophy is in full swing, and the hosts, England, have not been eliminated after their first two games.  They have, on the contrary, already got to the semi-finals.

The big victims of the weather have been the Aussies.  They were about to win their game against Bangladesh by a mile, and if twenty overs of their run chase had been completed they would have won.  But, to the tune of four overs, their run chase did not last for twenty overs.  Instead there was rain, and they got only a draw, or whatever it’s called.  The Aussies could well lose tomorrow, to nothing-to-lose already-through England, and if they do, they’re out.

On Tuesday, England beat NZ in Cardiff, with Cardiff seeming to be just about the only place in England (so to speak) where a nearly full day of cricket was possible.  On Wednesday, the South Africa Pakistan game was another of those Will-They-Complete-Twenty-Overs-Of-The-Run-Chase? games.  They did, and Pakistan won it, which was a surprise.

But then, whatever Pakistan do, it’s a surprise.  The cliché question is: Which Pakistan team will turn up?  And the cynic’s reply is: Either the Pakistan team that has been paid a small sum of money to win, or the Pakistan team that has been paid a rather larger sum of money to lose.  That may be a monstrous slur, and of course no official-type commentator would be allowed to say such a thing out loud.  But really, the contrast between the rubbish that Pakistan served up in their first game, against India, and how they played then against South Africa was downright bizarre.

Especially dramatic was yesterday’s amazing run chase by Sri Lanka, to beat India at the Oval.  And guess who won that game for Sri Lanka.  Yes, it was BMdotcom’s favourite cricketer:

Mendis was named Man of the Match for his innings of 89 off 93 and Mathews said that he and the team had benefited from speaking to Sri Lanka’s previous No. 3 before the match. “He [Mendis] met Kumar Sangakkara to get a few batting tips, and he’s the king, and we all look up to him. We all get advice from him, all the batters. He taught us a lot of good things on how to play on these tracks. Yesterday the guys met him and took a lot of advice and went out there and implemented it.”

With luck, after King Kumar has ceased playing for Surrey at the end of this season, Surrey can, from time to time, get him to come back and talk to them before big games too.  Without him, their batting now looks like it will be decidedly thin.

To digress a bit from the Champions Trophy, Surrey (complete with King Kumar) will today be starting a four day county game against Essex, and outside my window it was, when I starting concocting this, raining.  Which means that it was quite likely raining also in the Guildford area, Guildford being not far away from me and Guildford being where this game is happening.  Yes, there has been a bit of rain in Guildford today, but otherwise the forecast is good for the next few days.  Play is scheduled to start at 1.10pm.

Contrary to cliché, it actually doesn’t rain that much in England.  It does rain, of course it does.  But not nearly as much as most foreigners seem to think it does, given how much we talk about it and grumble about it.  The problem is that English rain is not predictable, like a Monsoon Season, or some such thing.  And when it comes to cricket, it doesn’t take much rain to screw things up.

Today, it’s NZ v Bangladesh in Cardiff, but oh dear, I see that a “wet outfield” is delaying things.  But it looks like they’ll get a game.

One day ...  One day, someone will invent a magic lazerbeamy thingy that you will point upwards from the perimeter of a cricket ground, like a circle of upward-pointing searchlights zeroing in on a Lancaster bomber over WW2 Germany, which will divert the rain into big buckets on the perimeter and keep it off the pitch.  Rain stopped play will then be history.  We can all dream.

Meanwhile, King Kumar should lead prayers for the rain to hold off for the rest of this tournament, and for all rain currently earmarked by the weather gods for England to be deposited instead in South Africa.

Saturday May 27 2017

I’m guessing I resemble many other bloggers in hoping that my best bits will somehow linger on, for years and perhaps even for decades, not just in the sense of still being available to be read, but in actually being read.  Not expecting, you understand.  Just hoping.

So, you can imagine how happy this piece of Quolulatiousness made me, after a gap of nearly two years.  How did he encounter it, after all this time?

The posting that the Quotulator quotulated is about two subjects which, regulars here will know, fascinate me, war and sport, and about how the modern version of sport and the modern absence of big wars of the WW1 and WW2 sort are rather closely connected.

If the particular sport of cricket does not interest you, then if you are inclined to follow either of the above links, I recommend the first rather than the second, i.e. to the quotulated excerpt rather than to the whole thing.

Sunday May 21 2017

Last Friday, Kumar Sangakkara had the pleasure of standing next to a newly unveiled portrait of Kumar Sangakkara, at Lord’s:

image

I love the contrast between the grimly formidable Kumar Sangakkara in the oil painting, and the ever-so-slightly goofy expression of Sanga in the mere photo.

Few players get the chance to walk past their own portrait on their way out to bat, and even less have the honour of doing so at Lord’s.

Friday was day one of Middlesex v Surrey.  So how did Sanga do for Surrey in that game?  Okay.  Today he completed his second century of the match, and will bat on tomorrow morning.  Without him, Surrey would be dead and buried in this game by now.  With him, they should get the draw, despite being behind on first innings by nearly a hundred.

This evening, Vithushan Ehantharajah of Cricinfo was waxing very eloquent about the great man’s batting:

Kumar Sangakkara‘s sense of occasion was evident once more in this London derby as he scored his second century of the match, while also passing 20,000 career first-class runs. Sangakkara’s 60th century in the format, from 174 balls, was played out in a thick cable-knit sweater despite the glorious sunshine that accompanied him for much of his jaunt. The ice in his veins must have been working overtime.

This knock saw Sangakkara become the first Surrey batsman to score twin hundreds in a Championship match since Arun Harinath - a Surrey academy product of Sri Lankan descent who Sangakkara picked to play him in the movie of his life (true story). Both centuries in this match were brought up with a three through extra cover. Both allowed Surrey to rest a little easier.

The first-innings deficit was 82 when he came in with Surrey 16 for 2. Toby Roland-Jones, having removed Mark Stoneman for a 10-ball duck, squared up Rory Burns and trapped him in front. Even at stumps, Surrey were not quite home and hosed. They resume on the final day 96 ahead, with six wickets remaining but no full-time batsmen to come.

This is usually the part of the report which tells you about the cover-drives and cuts behind point: the ones you have probably seen a thousand times over. You know: feet still, weight decisively either back or forward, hands through the ball with the gliding devastation of a man carving an ice sculpture with a light sabre. Or the defensive shots, which are just as serene.

Every block is a cover drive without the malice, each leave a statuesque pose making a mockery of anything you might find in a Florentine piazza. By way of housekeeping, there were 14 fours in this innings (so far).

Instead, consider this a public service announcement. Go and see him. Somewhere. Anywhere. Find the time, the money and the moment to watch Sangakkara before he decides the game has nothing left for him. He is 39 years of age and, luckily for us, has decided county cricket is where he wants to be right now. Until he decides otherwise, English cricket has a global great in its back garden. All you need to do is look out the window.

I already looked.

Monday May 15 2017

Last night Spurs played their final game at the old White Hart Lane stadium.  They beat Man U 2-1, with Man U’s Wayne Rooney, no less, having the honour to score the very last goal there.  That will make a fine trivia question in years to come.

And today, the digging up of the old pitch has already begun:

image

Ouch.

I then ran the video for a bit, until there were cranes:

image

At the top there, you can see that open wound where the digging up has started.  And you can also see how the new stadium is replacing the old one, on an expanded version of the old site.

Here is a rather more pastoral photo of those same cranes, taken by me from out east, beside the River Lea, looking back across the Tottenham Marshes:

image

I am not surprised that they are now in a hectic rush to complete the new stadium as quickly as they can.  Home advantage is a very real thing in sport.  Spurs did superbly at old White Hart Lane this last season, the one now coming to an end.  But not nearly so well at Wembley, where they played their “home” Champions League and Europa League games, and where they will play all their “home” games next season, or in their regular away games, at other club’s stadia (-iums if you prefer that).  Typically, it was an away loss to West Ham which finally saw them lose all hope of winning the Premier League, and let Chelsea gallop away with it.

I don’t fancy Spurs for next season, or for the season after, when (and this is if all goes well with the new stadium) they will still be new to their new home ground.  Spurs will bust all the guts they have control over to get the new ground ready for the season after next, and I believe they’ll manage it, if only because the amount of money at stake will cover all the costs of rushing.

They also face the problem of keeping the likes of Kane and Dele Alli from signing for Real Madrid, Gareth Bale style.  It might have been better for Spurs if Dele Alli had postponed proving what a great player he is for a couple of seasons.

So, the sooner Spurs settle into New White Hart Lane the better.  But it won’t be easy to combine all this commotion by topping their third place in the Premier League in 2015-2016 and their second place this time around.

Hope I’m wrong.

Saturday April 29 2017

Spent the day doing pretty much nothing, frollowing the meeting I had in my home last night, having spent the whole of last week fretting that there wouldn’t be enough people.  There were, just about, but it was close.

So, quota photo time.  This will do, taken from Low Hall Sports Ground (near to Blackhorse Road railway statnion (which is how I found my way there)), in June 2012:

image

I went to this place to try to photo the Gherkin and the Shard directly in line, and as you can surely guess from the above photo, I succeeded.  But this not-quite-aligned version come out nicely too.

Wednesday April 26 2017

What follows is the speculation of a football non-obsessive, and it could all be nonsense.  So sprinkle lots of “so I surmise” and “it seems to me” all over it.  And then correct me if I’m wrong.  So, I surmise ...

If all Premier League teams were very roughly equal in strength, amd doing well or badly merely because of the vagaries of form and fitness and confidence and sheer dumb luck, you’d expect a few to be stretching out at the front of the field, and a few to be falling back at the back, with a big bunch in the middle.  The biggest points gaps would be at the top and at the bottom, with no big gaps anywhere near the middle.

imageNow look at the state of the Premier League, as of now, on the right there.

We do now see gaps at the top and at the bottom.  As of right now, leaders Chelsea are 4 points ahead of their nearest chaser, Spurs, and Liverpool are next, a whole 8 points behind Spurs.  Bottom club Sunderland is now 6 points behind second-from-bottom Middlesbrough, who are 4 points behind third-from-bottom Swansea.

And we also see a big bunch of teams in the middle.  The points gap between West Brom in eighth place and Burnley at sixteenth is a mere 4 points.

But the biggest points gap of all between adjacent clubs in the Premier League is between Everton in seventh place and West Brom in eighth place.  This gap is currently no less than 14 points.  The top seven clubs (Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal, Everton) are now, you might say, the Real Premier League.

I distinctly recall the times when the Real Premier League only contained four clubs: Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.  And then Man City joined it, with Liverpool slipping down.  So there used to be only four, but now there are seven.

This has had an interesting consequence, which is that the FA Cup is now important again.  Or so I surmise (see above).

The FA Cup used to count for a lot.  There was no Real Premier League in those far off times, or if there was I was not aware of it.  But there was a European Cup and a European Cup-Winners Cup, or some such thing, and all clubs wanted to win either the League or the Cup and preferably both, for the sheer glory of it.

Then, the European Cup or the Champion’s League or whatever started to get seriously into its stride and to mean serious money, to spend on now seriously well paid players.  “Getting into Europe” stopped being a bit of an afterthought and became what it was all about.  At around this time the Four-Team Real Premier League also got into its stride, and the best route into Europe, for Real Premier League clubs, became to ignore the FA Cup.  Remember when Man Utd didn’t even bother to contest the FA Cup and instead went flapping off to Brazil, to lose some mega-championship of the world game?  All that crap about The Magic of The Cup, and Anyone Can Win The Cup, blah blah blah, became very tedious, because Anyone Who Was Anyone (i.e. the Real Premier League) couldn’t be bothered with exhausting themselves trying to win FA Cup, what with them always being in Europe anyway and having the small matter of the Premier League to come at least fourth in to get back into Europe again. For the FA Cup, they put out their reserves instead of a real team, just to keep them busy and amused.  If they got beaten by Anyone Town, that was the fault of said reserves, was no huge surprise, and was no skin off the nose of the actual Real Premier League club.  Skin on it, if anything, because the season immediately became less exhausting for any first teamers who got dragged into going through the motions in the FA Cup.

But now that the Real Premier League has expanded from four clubs to seven clubs, a Real Premier League club can no longer take its route to Europe quite so much for granted.  At which point the FA Cup, which is another route into Europe, becomes of significance to Real Premier League clubs, the way it has never been since the Real Premier League got started.

This year, all four FA Cup semi-finalists were Real Premier League clubs.  (Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Man City.) When was the last time that happened?

Friday April 21 2017

So far, I have only managed seven photo-postings about my expedition to the big old Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which is now in the process of being turned into a bigger new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.  Tomorrow, Spurs play Chelsea in the semi finals of the FA Cup, and in honour of this confrontation, here is Tottenham posting number eight.

I made my way eastwards from the stadium, towards the park and then the canal beside which I hoped to walk south.  But before I got there, I encountered this:

image

This footbridge is to be found next to the level crossing at the north end of Northumberland Park railway station.  I climbed up on the footbridge and took this shot, looking south, of that railway station:

image

My main reason for showing this is to show you how far away the Big Things of the City are from this vantage point.  This sort of circumstance being why God invented zoom lenses.  Look what happened when I cranked up my zoom, on my trusty Panasonic Lumix FZ200.

What you see here is the miniscule portion of the above view that you see if you follow the railway lines straight to the horizon, and then shift a tiny bit to the left, just past that big spikey thing, to those tiny little things sticking up, just beyond the big spike and to its left, as we look:

image

And what we see is that those tiny things are the Big Things of the City of London.  Gherkin.  Cheesegrater.  Shard.  Plus intervening clutter of course.

Over to the far left of the station view photo you can also make out the towers of Docklands.  But they aren’t that special to look at.  If it weren’t for the pointy one, you’d hardly know how to spot them, because they’d just be a few anonymous lumps.  What Docklands needs is a mega-skyscraper of a distinctive design.  Maybe a thin tower, with a huge revolving restaurant at the top.  Something along those lines.  But I fear that the nearby presence of City Airport would make that impossible, for the time being anyway.

Thursday April 20 2017

I always know when I am on the right track as a blogger.  It’s when someone quotes me.  (It’s usually either the Quotulator (I was most recently quotulated by him in this posting) or 6k.) This means (a) that I have said something interesting and somewhat novel, and (b) that I have said it well.  (b)-ing I do, on its own, regularly.  I regularly say obvious, banal, boring things clearly and fluently.  Don’t we all?  Nobody copies and pastes (b)-ing.  Frustratingly, I also do quite a lot of (a)-ing on its own, meaning: I say something interesting, but say it very badly and confusingly, with constant self-interruptions, this paragraph perhaps being yet another example of (a)-ing.  Nobody quotes (a)-ing either, because it just confuses and irritates people.  You have to do (a)-ing and (b)-ing all at once before you get quoted by anyone.

So, if 6k has just been quoting me, I must have said something good and said it right, right?  And 6k has just been quoting me:

First this, from earlier this week:

I still hate and fear golf.

And then this, from the posting that that recent posting linked back to:

I remember once having a go at it, when I was at my expensive public school in the middle of the last century.  I still remember hitting one golf ball really sweetly and deciding, right then and there, that I would never do this again, because if I did, there was a definite danger that golf would take over my entire life.  And I wasn’t having that.

Sadly for me, though, this is not the perfect piece of writing that I yearn to contrive, every time I place my fingers above my keyboard to start to type in this stuff.  It was not, that is to say, the blogging equivalent of a perfectly hit golf shot.  (a)-ing and (b)-ing were not perfectly combined. There is one crucial word missing.  Where it says: “… there was a definite danger that golf would take over my entire life”, I should have put “… there was a definite danger that playing golf would take over my entire life.”

Playing cricket, as a life-time occupation excluding all else besides doing whatever work was needed to stay alive, never appealed to me, for the simple reason that I was always hopelessly bad at playing cricket.  A cricketing life would have been a life of constant humiliation at the hands of all the other, better cricketers.  The occasional well flighted off-break or decently played single out to extra cover would not have begun to compensate for all the contemptuous fours and sixes hit off me (if and when I ever bowled) or the flying stumps (if and when I finally got to bat).  You can’t play cricket alone, against only yourself.  You have to have opponents, and if these opponents are almost always better than you, you aren’t going to have a huge amount of fun.

But playing golf is different.  Basically, no matter how they dress it up, golf is, or at any rate can be, a solitary game.  It is a game you can play against only yourself, and for me that would be a fair contest, rather than the permanent humiliation that me playing cricket regularly (by its nature, necessarily, against other cricketers) would have been.

6k notes that do I “love cricket”, and I do.  But to be more exact, what I love is following cricket, not playing it.  And following cricket, at any rate the way I like to follow it, fits in perfectly with me also having a life doing other more meaningful things besides following cricket.

What I love about cricket is, yes, the game itself, but also the minutiae of its progress - the verbal commentaries and the numbers and the dots, the runs and the wickets, the constant flow of data.

Football is not like this, for me.  The actual processes don’t appeal to me nearly so much.  All that passing and tackling and dribbling and creating and missing half-chances.  These processes only really matter, to me, if they result in a goal, and in a way they only matter to anyone if they result in a goal.  With football, it’s only goals that count.  Only goals determine who wins.  And only the goals really speak to me, so I prefer to watch, if I watch football at all, the recorded highlights of football, and the more highlighty the better.  (This is not an argument that you should stop loving football or playing in or going to watch football matches or watching entire games of football on your television.  I am merely describing how football does and does not appeal to me.)

Cricket, on the other hand, and unlike football, emits this constant gush of truly meaningful information, information which all adds up to winning or losing.  And I relish the decoding of this information in the same way that an MI6 analyst must relish being able to tell what is happening out there also only by looking at data on a computer screen.

I only ever actually attend a cricket game as a special and very occasional treat.  I wouldn’t want to watch cricket, for real, in person, at the actual ground, day after day.  The very second-hand and rather arms-length nature of cricket data is, for me, all part of what fun it is to be receiving it.  Having played enough actual cricket in my extreme youth to have the game imprinted into me, like a first language, I know how diabolically difficult it is to do what good cricketers do routinely.  When, as happens from time to time, my computer screen announces a “w” (somebody just got “out"), I feel the same lurch of emotion that the real spectators and participants enjoy or suffer.  When I see a “4” reported at Cricinfo, and then read some guy telling me that it was a good shot rather than a mis-hit, I get almost the same pleasure from that as I would have got from actually seeing it.

Especially entertaining is if, say, an IPL team needs to clobber a boundary off the final ball of a T20 game (never mind – it’s just a sort of cricket game) to win, but will otherwise lose, and then a “6” shows up on the screen.  Hey, how about that!  Or, if a limited overs win-or-lose, no-draws-allowed game ends with, say, one team needing three to win off the last two balls (I seem to recall something like this happening in the IPL a couple of days ago), but with only one wicket left, and the penultimate ball suddenly announces itself to have been a “w”.  Game over.  Wow.

(Although, I have to admit that a big spread of Premier League games on a Saturday afternoon, with goals erupting quite regularly, and then final whistles all being blown in a sudden rush, is fun, provided your team’s circumstances mean that you have firm preferences for several of these games rather than just the one game.  Lots of significant games then adds up to something almost as continuously amusing as a single game of cricket.  To me.  (This is not an argument, see above ...)

I know, all very childish.  But following sport is rather childish.  And there’s nothing wrong with such childishishness provided that it doesn’t totally take over your entire life and turn you into a permanent twelve-hours-a-day seven-days-a-week child.  Because, what I especially love about following cricket is that I can combine it with other things.  Life, when I am following cricket, can go on.

I can now even carry a 1960s mainframe computer around with me in my pocket.  I can keep up with any games of cricket that are happening while being out and about in London, meeting colleagues and friends, and taking photos.  My cricket machine even doubles up as an A-Z map, complete with a blue blob that says “you are here”.  Amazing.  In short, and although there are days when it threatens to, merely following cricket has not totally taken over my life.  There are even days when my real life is so diverting that I neglect cricket entirely, and have to catch up later.

All of which means that when 6k says that what puts me off golf is its pleasure to pain ratio, and that he feels just the same about cricket, and how come I don’t? - well, with respect, and all my fault for failing to clarify the difference between playing golf and following cricket, but he has it all wrong.  Following cricket is continuous squirts of fun into the texture of everyday life, all pleasure and no grief.  Playing golf threatened continuous squirts of pleasure, but no everyday life at the same time.  It threatened a completely different life for me, and an utterly vacuous one, like being a drug addict (very like being a drug addict), with all my spare time and spare cash consumed by it.  Like playing outdoor solitaire, all the time and not doing anything else, and perhaps even stealing money to fund the habit.  (I am also terrified of actual drugs, for the same reasons.)

Because the thought of playing golf during every spare hour I had filled and fills me still with such horror, I have even avoided following golf, for fear that merely following golf might become a gateway drug to actually playing golf.  You want continuous data?  Golf, like cricket, supplies a constant gush of it.  But cricket data never says to me that I ought to pick up a bat or a ball and start trying to play the game, again.  I know my limitations.  Following golf?  Well, I just can’t take that risk.

Playing golf versus following cricket
Another Capital Golf car
Timing shits instead of forcing them
“Yeah, no …”
Slam City Skates in Covent Garden
Indian sign cautions against selfie sticks
England crush Scotland in the 6N – plus the hugeness of home advantage
If you want success “you should strive to be happy first of all …”
My comment on the Six Nations so far
Guess what this is
An important game and only a game
Flats (plus a fantastic Super Bowl)
Fantastic weekend
Punched in the face by comedy
London rules the Premier League
To Tottenham (7): Building the new Spurs stadium
To Tottenham (6): The Spurs Shop
Supporting England in the Big Bash League
A new stadium for Chelsea
Man in suit and swimming cap
Scum?
Stratford
Graffiti cat
Wembley Arch lighting contrast
Just the top of the BOT … but still instantly recognisable
Photoing Tate Modern from the Oval and the Oval from Tate Modern
A direct hit
Centre Point and surroundings as seen from the top of the Tate Modern Extension
The Wembley Arch and The Wheel
Views of Epsom and views from Epsom
A day in BMdotcom heaven (5): My belated photo-tribute to Kumar Sangakkara
Another fine day at the Oval (4): Scoreboards old and new
Another fine day at the Oval (3): A slightly different seat and a slightly different view
Another fine day at the Oval (2): Jason Roy – and an extreme contrast
Another fine day at the Oval (1): Vans
Busy days
The draw that turned out not to be
Comparing London then with London now (and the Oval then with the Oval now)
Why I like Cricinfo
Lions - Bears - Blackhawks
A good morning
Played 6 – Won 0 – Drawn 3 – Lost 3
A souvenir screen capture
Second childhood
Looking in at the Zaha Hadid Design Gallery in Goswell Road
6 6 6 6
South Bank views
Sports thorts
Today I am checking out the Big Olympic Thing
Memo to self: photo-destination required for tomorrow
Anti-drone drones
A busy day and a collection of Big Things
I slept right through it
Enjoy it when you can
Quota sculpture made of plastic milk bottles on the South Bank in 2012
Out and about with GD1 (6): The journey gets properly started
Bell end?
Standing on boxes to interview Irfan
A Morris Minor advertising a ping pong night club
Quite a line-up in New York
Union Jack mirror in a Tottenham Court Road furniture shop
Excellent headline
The culling of the Northern Hemisphere
Miami cranes
I am now really enjoying the Rugby World Cup
England rugby and London soccer
Early thoughts on the Rugby World Cup
A day in BMdotcom heaven (4): A tale of two penultimate overs
A day in BMdotcom heaven (3): Adverts
Close departs
A day in BMdotcom heaven (2): Surrey v Notts was played in front of a live studio audience
A day in BMdotcom heaven (1): One early picture
Shiny little car
Upshot
Golden Cheesegrater with cranes
No wicket in fourth over shock
One day cricketers playing at test cricket
Zorb football
Out and about with GD1 (5): Stoke Newington’s Amazing Castle
Phil Tufnell paints cats!!!
It continues (well)
It begins (badly)
Out and about with GD1 (3): Baritone borrows my charger
Cats and cricket – cats and drones
You can tell that drones have arrived because now they are being turned into a sport
England crush NZ (and Surrey beat Leicester)
The new Wembley Stadium under construction plus a white van
An interesting front page story
Goodbye KP?
Strange London buses
First test against NZ – first day
Not squash
Is rugby the new squash?
Bizarre designer furniture in a Covent Garden window
Michael Jennings on the likely progress of the Cricket World Cup
How bet hedging explains the perpetual terribleness of everything
AB mayhem
I said it twelve years ago
Triple Chess and a Four Wheeled Pedal Board
It feels like Sunday already
Fun
Some batsman – some neck
BMdotcom (mathematical (and sporting)) quote of the day
Knackered
I’m an adjective!
Home advantage and hoping for the best in the World Cup
Early tries by my guys
Only with a computer
On meeting an American lady friend who likes to read my stuff about cricket
On not letting either God or (the other) God do everything
The localness of London’s weather
Football comment
Brazil 0 Germany 5 after forty minutes
My favourite Tour de France in London photo
More Big Things from the Oval
Big Things from high up at the Oval
Capturing moments
Will England get lucky?
Surrey doing rather well shock
Quota photos of and from Tate & Lyle Park
Compact Cats buried under London’s poshest homes
Last night at my place
0.080519 would still have beaten 0.074163
Cricket news: Surrey win – IPL – The Big Wosname
Leaf Cycle
Organised water
Premier League soccer news
T20 fun and games
England ahead of the game in Rome - but in the end not by enough
Cricinfo just said it didn’t rain in Port Elizabeth on February 24th until after lunch
Ashes Lag recovery continues
Games lovely games
Strata quota photo
Will Kevin Pietersen now play lots of cricket for Surrey?
England crush Australia and keep the Ashes
Talk at Christian’s – then NFL on the telly
“O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago!”
Whitewash
On having written about the 1958/9 Ashes series before the 2013/4 Ashes series had started
Tough going in Australia
Mash cats
Jane Austen’s naval brothers
Only games
Ashes to ashes
Gloomy Earl’s Court picture
Broad thrives properly on getting abuse
Conquer the Pillars of Islam
Ashes black out
Who was the youngest batsman to reach 7000 runs in Tests?
Otherwise blogging (and a Burgess Park butterfly)
Stuart Broad has a kitten heel
Why I admire short term weather forecasts but why cricket people don’t
Chess set made of London’s Big Things
A day in and around Olympicland with Goddaughter One
Australian selection inconsistency and getting the causal link the wrong way round
Quite a morning
Monty Panesar: “I piss on your short pitched fast deliveries aimed at my body!”
Australian cricket is doomed! - or maybe not
Women of Japan – better luck next time
Should Broad have walked?
On the pleasure of assuming the worst
Samir Chopra on how match fixing turns cricket into not cricket
Funniest run out ever?
IPL thrills
Wembley Arch with balloons and with umbrellas
Me and the Six Nations under the weather
Six Nations joy
Monopoly Cat replaces Monopoly Iron
6-3-7-5
Me going to bed causes collapse
Testcricketlag
Carnage at Adelaide
Australia v South Africa starts now
Surrey win their relegation battle
A memorable scoreboard surrounded by empty seats
Cricket ranking
Surrey might not be relegated after all
Back there and now back here
Usain Bolt takes photos of photographers!
Self portrait with sunburn
Well that was close!
Surrey have a short but sweet day against Sussex
Outage
Latest C4 logo sculpture
AB-solutely fabulous!
Nerd spin talk overheard by Jarrod Kimber
The Big Olympic Thing from nearer
Steve Baker MP
Ancient and modern (but mostly ancient) cars in Regent Street yesterday
More NFL Fan Rally pictures from last Saturday
That Clive Woodward gets around
NFL fans and their name-and-number shirts in Trafalgar Square on Saturday
The England rugby aftermath
Jarrod Kimber on biased cricket commentators
France beat England
England squeak through against Scotland
Another Surrey fast bowler gets an England call-up
Davies and de Bruyn get promotion for Surrey
Thrashing India
How England have dropped catches yet still won matches
Bopara’s chance?
WWWhat a great afternoon!!!
Does Kevin Pietersen have a weakness against bowlers?
The boy from Egham Dunn good
Today there is cricket and there is cricket
Friday link dump
Meaning in sport
The fluctuating fortunes of Praveen Kumar and the devastating impact of Lasith Malinga
Rugby shirts on drugs
The most celebrated sporting win ever
NZ doing a bit better than England
Quota choke?
New bridge in Melbourne
Ireland beating England in Dublin
Subconscious cricket
Pronouncing on the Six Nations
Ireland lose - England trying to
Sportsmanship by us – bullying by them
Crushed cricket minnows - missable soccer goals - Ashton’s swallow diving
Clumbersome
Bouncing bombs and spinning cricket balls
Cricketology
Thoughts on England not just keeping the Ashes but winning the series 3-1 (with asterisks)
Australia so nearly 55-0 (plus thoughts on the impact of Twenty20 cricket)
Boxing Day morning at the MCG
No wickets in the first over shock
The Ashes: chickens and now a swallow
How quickly the mood can change!
And it resumes …
A down and up weekend
More blood to Australia
First blood to Australia
Ashes highlights on ITV4
Nice try
Twenty ten twenty ten
Greenies make a video saying: “We’re a bunch of vile greenie-nazis!”
I don’t usually approve of swear blogging but …
Zaltzman on Clarke
Andy Flower urges England fans not to punish cricket for being corrupt
Ten thoughts about the Pakistan cricket corruption story
Graeme Swann on drink-driving charge after 3am dash to save kitten
Big Singapore Thing
Cricket technology and its imperfections
Farnborough (5): Supacat Bloodhound Falcon
Snappy quote from Victor Davis Hanson that may or may not actually be true
Another world cup photo of photographers
Photoing the World Cup
On cricket and death
Strata from Waterloo
Cricinfo gets its clock in a tangle and Pyrah bowls an unforgivable no ball
A response to the cyclist menace
England beating Australia – Germany beating England
Curse you Friends Provident t20
Balls balls up
A serious disappointment
Lucky we didn’t go to Lords
Cats and bridges on Pixdaus
Surrey are now crap at cricket but they are sitting on a gold mine
Muralitharan and Hayden carry on doing badly
London is about to be Kapoored with a big new Olympic Games Thing
Six lions on a white Mercedes bonnet
Watching IPL cricket beats watching England play rugby
IPL on ITV4!
Separating the men from the toys - the future of warfare and of sport?
Is Martin Johnson another Kevin Keegan?
Biker shadow
Nasa and Gordon Brown both have their uses
Reds against Blues in Munich
Cricket talk tonight
Two New York stadiums temporarily next to each other
Three more headlines and how the internet remembers it all
Andrew Hughes on making heroes of cricketers
London cricket roof clutter
India looking good against Sri Lanka
Talking with Toby Baxendale
Forget the fifth of November - and the Brown curse strikes (again)
Graeme Swann - twitterer but no twit
Gordon Brown dithers about rugby - cricket’s on the up
Unfair advantage?
Quotes dump
Making the IOC feel important with a personal lubricant
The curse of Gordon Brown is now ruining the England cricket team
When Cricinfo doesn’t supply the info
Changing faces of Europe
More recorded cricket chat and some further Oval hindsights
How the BBC ignored the problem of how to pick two from three equal-ish teams
England and me both upset
Summer break
Photo by me in a newspaper!
How technology has improved detention
Thinking thin at the top
More sign photos
IPL continues to literally trump proper cricket
At Samizdata: cricket - crime - Kevin Dowd quote
WWW
What the previous two postings here have in common
Indian Premier League trumps test cricket
Angleterre formidable - France merde - Italy crap
Reading Kasparov
By bus to Sheffield
Not cricket
Rubbish
It could be a rather small funeral
Cricketers don’t have to get along – they just have to turn up and play
Nothing today but link to Samizdata
A little drunk blogging
Keeping up with the NFL
Another Samizdata piece
Cricinfo
Four Minutes
Why Willem Buiter blogs and why I do
Not happy
Imperfect day
England sinking fast
Dongling at Michael’s
Metaphor muddle alert
The Great River Race
Cricket chat
On the perils of recording to your TV hard disc at the midnight hour
Smog returns to Beijing
Vaughan steps down
Blue sky in Beijing
Collingwood comes through and The Internet is a hat trick
Cricket misery
It’s blue!
Twenty20 cricket on Sky TV
“The air is apparently not getting better …”
Everything changes today
Posting at Michael’s
Pietersen not humbled
Seven Napiers – three Ansaris - Gilchrist
More Beijing smog-blogging
Bird’s Nest in smog
I predict that Germany will win
I’d be cheering
152 not out in a Twenty20
Me elsewhere
Guido Fawkes gets Douglas Jardine wrong
New Zealand crumple at Trent Bridge
Bowlers who look like actors
Avoiding barbarism in the street
Bowled Harmison bowled Harmison
Cozier cheers up
First Jaques – then Ponting – then Katich – then Hussey cleaned up
IPL-lag
Ashes news
Giant table football table and hamster powered cars
They play a lot of snooker in China – and in Essex
The IPL is a new face for India but Harbhajan slapping Sreesanth is no big deal
Head Men need to be a bit wrong in the head
Slow day here
News Media Coalition versus Indian Premier League
Ramps carries on where he left off last autumn
F1 athletics?
Fourth innings heroics
Meltdown in Russia … and New Zealand
Ed Smith on how baseball defeated cricket in America
Cricmisinfo
Thank you very much Ambrose and Collingwood
It really is about bloody time Jonathan Davies learned how to pronounce Jauzion
Watching paint dry at the end of a Six Nations game
Professor Wenger
Me talking about the great twentieth century musical divide
Lucky I don’t take cricket seriously
Flat horse pictures
Otherwise engaged
Billion Monkey Maria Sharapova lookalikes!!!
The Lord is watching
Democracy for sale – starting with football and beer
Weather to go out
Rain stops Murali
Probably not right - but definitely written
I hope I’m wrong about this
More rugby talk
Only games
Ramprakash at his level of competence
Australia out! – New Zealand out! – pass forward!
Wildlife news
The blue and gray men are slaughtering the gray and blue men
Nine points better than last time!
Alisher Usmanov is now better known for being nasty
Renaissance Man
Revised logo
When inimitable means very imitable
Lots of links
Cricket lovely cricket
Ugly logo(s)
Test match special
Depressed about the Windies
Bicycling Billion Monkeys!
Surrey crash to earth
Maybe not quite so amazing after all
“A fitting end to a very badly organised tournament …”
A double cricket surprise
Old gits at the Oval – and Shane Warne
Cricket blogging by me elsewhere
He’s for ever blowing bubbles
Cricket is ruining the youth of India!
Footbridge in the dark and cricket
Four Nations still in it!
Clever old Catt
An improbable England win in the Six Nations
Tall chess men and tall buildings in the evening
“You will struggle to ever see a better caught and bowled than that!”
Displacement photo of Billion Monkey!
That Rooney goal
Empty football stadiums on TV
Pictures of the world for the world
Ashes 2005 to Ashes 2006/7
Alice in Texas on form - England in Australia not
In a bad way - but recovering
They are only games
Crickinsomnia
Foreigners on film
Not much here today
Chumpires
624
“Are you telling me I don’t know my own brother?”
Podcasting with Adriana tomorrow
Lords pictures from last Monday
Something to bore everyone
England versus Pakistan – first test – final morning
“We are looking for a Cricket obsessive . . .”
Antoine gets Mexican election right
I’m hot and I’m happy
Twenty20 Sri Lanka and World Cup ejection
Quota photo and Surrey weirdness
Ethereal India photo
Ace Academician
Cricket with landmark
Big Media crap and football cock-ups
County cricket - great and not so great - and what to do about that
It is very hot
Dnalgne no emoc! - Billion Monkey snaps mental Maradona!
Latest Brian and Antoine elections around the world mp3
Wisden on the back foot
Zooming in on the Wembley Arch
Chinamen playing cricket
So does Flintoff really look like Jessop?
The latest Brian and Antoine mp3
Lightning strikes twice
Disaster in Paris
Unplugged and writing about sport because sport Doesn’t Matter
Blogging takes a back seat
Only a game
More ancient rock and rollers photographed from off of the telly
What it was only better
The father of invention
The Superbowl is live on the telly!
The animal spirits of Six Nations
Organised games as a way to control boys
I will never flirt with religion again
I am now thinking of abandoning atheism
Vive le rugby
Great headline
Picture perfect
The new stand at the Oval
Ouch!
Pictures I took of yesterday’s Ashes celebrations in Trafalgar Square
Douglas Jardine and Spike Milligan