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Category archive: Television

Thursday September 24 2015

The platinum blonde woman who sings the introductory song sounds very unmusical and strangulated to me.  When she sings “A new age has begun”, it sounds like “Anewwayjazzbeegun”, with no breaks between words at all.  Very peculiar.  I now learn that I am not the only one to be unhappy about this singing.

My first observation of the actual rugby: lots of handling errors.  My impression is that the balls are bigger, fatter, lighter, bouncier, a bit like balloons.  So, when they hit your chest they don’t just stick there, they bounce off your chest and you’ve dropped it.

How good were Japan?  Yes, very good.  But.  But.  How bad were South Africa? Very, very bad.  There is a back story there, which the television commentators I am hearing seem extremely anxious not to discuss.  It’s all: the mighty Boks.  Apparently, they haven’t persuaded enough black men to play rugby, and racial quotas are deranging and demoralising them.  “Political football” etc.  Lawrence Dallaglio mentioned this stuff once, in passing, speaking of them “falling off tackles” (I think that was the phrase).  Of not really trying, in other words.  Other than that, nothing.  Japan got totally stuffed by Scotland yesterday, 45-10.  Okay, the Japanese hadn’t had much of a rest.  But even so, a bizarre result, unless Japan beating South Africa was at least as much because South Africa were bad as because Japan were good.  Scotland v South Africa might be … very interesting.

I really like London’s new Olympic Stadium.  Whenever I saw it before, it contained the 2012 Olympics, and I hate the Olympics so much that I couldn’t see how very nice the stadium is.  Now I can see this.  I think I now prefer the inside of the Olympic Stadium to the inside of New Wembley.  The only interesting thing about New Wemley is the big arch, seen from the outside.  That’s terrific.  One of London’s great new landmarks.  But the inside of New Wembley, which I have actually visited in person, is very dreary.  But maybe I was just in a bad mood, on account of it being football, and on account of this idiot jumping about in front of me whenever anything faintly interesting happened, so I had to either get up off my seat to see anything, or remain seated and in ignorance.

England look okay to me, but okay presumably won’t be enough to win.  But then again, most other teams seem only okay also.  Except the All Blacks of course.  How will they contrive to lose this tournament, I wonder?  They usually seem to find a way.  Last time around, they did win, but only by one point.

Wednesday September 16 2015

Now, some more pictures from that fabulous day out at the Oval, which was over a week ago now.

This time, it’s adverts.  The crowd was, as already discussed, sparse.  It was sparse because the game was played on a Monday, so that Sky could fit it into its schedule, but because Sky were present, the adverts at the ground packed an extra punch.  I assume that a cricket club like Surrey has people who obsess not so much about cricket as about money, and it must be good news on the money front that all these adverts were to be seen on Sky TV.

You see adverts in lots of the photos of and television coverage of sports events, but it isn’t much talked about.  Neither are all the empty seats that so often occur at sports events nowadays, particularly cricket matches.  But, these pictures focus attention on all the adverts I saw at that game, by cropping out everything else.

Click on these adverts, and you get the original pictures from which I extracted them, which mostly also feature a lot of empty seats:


An odd effect of what I did here with all these adverts is that the more money you spent on your advert and the bigger and wider and more noticeable your advert was, at the Oval, the thinner it now is on BMdotcom.

Life can be cruel.

Saturday September 12 2015

The day I spent at the Oval with Darren last Monday was enjoyable for me in so many ways.  I am now definitely considering becoming a Surrey Member myself next season, a snip at just under two hundred quid.  Seriously, that’s how great a day it was for me.  But it was not quite the day that I had been expecting.

The thing was, Surrey had, after many disappointments in the recent past, finally been promoted just three days earlier.  Half way through the game against Derby, the reportage was all about how well Derby had been doing.  But the Surrey first innings tail did not so much wag as flail like the tail of a crocodile, and then the Surrey spinners polished Derby off on day four, to win the game by an innings and plenty, with several hours to spare.

So, last Monday, I was expecting the Oval to be seething with boisterous celebration.  But once the game began, I soon realised that this was not going to happen.  The place was that far from being deserted, and looked even more sparsely populated from where Darren and I were at first sitting, what with the bulk of the Surrey support being below us and out of our sight.

The thing about last Monday was that it was on a Monday.  And why this game, of all games, on a Monday?  A semi-final of the annual 50-50 county tournament ought surely to be staged at a time when regular people can show up to watch it, shouldn’t it?  So, why wasn’t it?

The answer of course is: television:

image image imageimage image image

That’s Gary Wilson of Surrey striding off at the end of the Surrey innings (they batted first), doing a great job of pretending that the TV guy who is poking his huge camera in his face just isn’t there.

These are not the kind of pictures of cricket that you usually see, are they?  Usually, you see only the sort of pictures that this TV guy himself is taking, not pictures of him.  He is not supposed to be part of the story which he is, so very obtrusively, helping to tell.  Yet even the very day on which this match took place cannot be explained without reference to that TV guy, and all his mates.


That’s a picture, taken moments later, of Sky TV discussing that Surrey first innings with Notts fast bowler and recent England Ashes hero Stuart Broad.  What did Broad say?  I don’t know.  I wasn’t watching this game on my telly.  I was merely there.

But why Monday, rather than Sunday or Saturday?  I mean, more people watch the telly at the weekend, surely.  Well yes, they do.  And Sky TV did indeed show the first semi-final on Sunday.  (Yorkshire, crowned only days later as the 2015 champions of the four day game, were beaten in this first semi-final by Gloucester, with surprising ease.) So, why not the other semi- between Surrey and Notts, on the Saturday?

Because on Saturday, Sky TV were showing the second England v Australia ODI, and there would be no point in Sky buying both those games if they had happened on the same one day.  So, the other semi- got shoved over to Monday.  The schools were back at school.  Workers were back at work.  But, television rules.

image image

So this was mostly an Old Geezer day, from the live spectator point of you.  But, despite all those empty seats, this particular Old Geezer had a terrific time, not least because of all those TV cameramen whom I was able to take photos of.

I promise nothing, but I do now hope that there’ll be a whole lot more to follow about this marvellous day out.

Sunday August 30 2015

I just watched a recording I made of a BBC TV show called Proms Extra, which is a chat show that responds to and flags up London’s immediately past and immediately future Promenade Concerts.  They were asking themselves whether they minded clapping in between movements, in connection with a performance of The Planets, in which this had happened..  The assembled commentators agreed that they did not mind at all.

Two thoughts from me about this.

First, the assumption seems to be that people clap in between movements because they don’t know they’re not supposed to.  But I think it is much more knowing than this.  I think the audience has changed its mind about this.

There has been a huge movement in music-making to achieve an “authentic” sound, by which is meant the sort of sound made by the first performers of the pieces.  Well, why not more authentic audiences?  Time was when “classical” audiences would clap in between movements without hesitation.  Sometimes they would yell for encores, of symphonic movements, before the symphony had even finished, just like at the opera.  That in-between-movements clapping is now happening (has been for quite a while actually) at the Proms tells me that the current fashion for clapping in among big multi-movement pieces is a very knowing decision, a very musically educated decision.  We are not “supposed” to do this?  Well guess what, we have decided that we will do this.

It’s not only this, but I am sure that this is part of it.

Personally, I think that not clapping something like the tumultuous third movement of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, for instance, seems very unnatural.

However second, there is no doubt that this new convention, if new convention it will be, has not yet been fully established.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes not, and quite often in a rather tentative, awkward and rather indecisive way.  So, it must surely sometimes make life a little difficult for performers.

What if you have just given what you reckon was a tumultuously great performance of a movement which ends in a manner than just begs to be greeted with a round of applause, and there is silence?  In the older days, of strict inter-movement silence, fine.  I’m not finished.  But now?  Hm.  Did they not like it?  And, after a bit of silence, will they relent, and start clapping, just as I am starting the next movement?

The older regime of silence in between movements was at least a rule, which everyone stuck to and which newcomers quickly learned, from all the dirty looks they got if they broke the rule.  And performers could either pause or press on immediately, confident that no clapping would interrupt whatever effects they were seeking to create.

Friday July 31 2015

Here comes another of those Don’t Mention The Wires!!! stories, at favourite-internet-place-of-mine, Dezeen.

imageI have rather unkindly sliced a vertical slice out of one of the photos, of a truly extraordinary post (I mean a physical post in the road - not a piece of internetting), which is covered from the top almost to the bottom in The Wires!!!

But, maybe this is an oblique reference to The Wires!!!:

“The reason we constructed frames was to filter the surrounding environment, which changes fast in an unforeseeable manner,” explained architects Hyoungnam Lim and Eunjoo Roh.

They constantly take away some The Wires!!!, and install new The Wires!!!, in different places.  Could that be what architects Hyoungnam Lim and Eunjoo Roh are, rather delicately, referring to?

What all these Don’t Mention The Wires!!! stories suggest to me is that these are countries (the other big one being Japan) where electronic communication arrived when people were still very poor in other ways, and any politician who tried to restrain The Wires!!! to make them prettier, but more expensive, would be hanged by them.  Western trained aesthetes don’t like it, but know there’s nothing they can do.

I also recall hearing once about how in Japan, all buildings tend to be more temporary, because of earthquakes and all timber construction and suchlike, and that even religious buildings get torn down and rebuilt in another spot from time to time.  And if it’s temporary, who cares what it looks like?  If they want to make it pretty, fine.  If not, also fine.  If The Wires!!! will soon be different The Wires!!!, no worries.  Let The Wires!!! go where they want.

But what do I know?  I’m only babbling on like this to make entirely sure that this posting is longer than the post.

Looking at this some more, I do wonder if those architects maybe persuaded the electricians to rearrange these particular South Korean The Wires!!!, so that they are less visible from the Architecture, and if those frames, mentioned above, are as they are so that The Wires!!! cannot be seen through them.  They act like blinkers, in other words.

If so, it should have been explained more clearly.  As it is, we can only guess.

Wednesday July 08 2015

You can lose a test match on the first morning and England are well on the way to losing the first Ashes test in Cardiff, having already lost three wickets before lunch.  England’s trouble is that their top four have none of them been in proper form of late, and the Australian bowlers are all just that bit too good for them to be able to solve this problem by batting themselves into some form against them.  It will only get worse.  If it gets better I will be delighted, but also surprised.  As of now, I expect the result to be much as it was two years ago, when England shaded it three nil, except that it will be three nil to Australia, or something like that.  This time, Australia are better, and England have less good batting (Bell has got worse basically) and two top bowlers who are two years more knackered, plus no Swann.  So, England will lose.  Anything better than that will be a bonus.  We shall see.

And before anyone says I was plunged into doom by these three wickets, I was already pessimistic when it kicked off.  I just wish I had put this an hour and a half sooner.

My mood is not helped by me still having to rely on my stupid laptop and it is like wading through sewage.

Also, I began the day with a Rameau harpsichord CD that had been on pause, and since it is one of those annoying CDs (a triple CD actually) without the tracks and timings on the cover, just in the inside booklet, it is hard to note where I am it in, so a CD started needs to be finished.  And Rameau on the harpsichord, at any rate this particular Rameau on the harpsichord, was very minor key and lugubrious.

Every damn morning the laptop seems to insist on doing a “scheduled scan” (which always discovers nothing but takes for ever)..  This is the sewage aspect.  At least things on that front are now a bit better.  (I was reminded about that by a little box bottom left saying Scan Completed 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 blah blah blah.)

Last night I watched a very depressing documentary about the holocaust, The Allies knew.  But they didn’t believe it, or didn’t want to.  My newly purchased milk is already going sour.  There is a tube strike that has caused the entire tube to shut for the day.  The weather for the ASI boat party this evening looks like being very grim and grey.

At least England haven’t lost another wicket before lunch.  88-3.  Not good, but not catastrophic.  Or not yet.

Friday June 26 2015

What with my computer misbehaving, and having a meeting chez moi this evening, I am only in the mood for a bit of frivolity.  Which is fine, because Friday is the day set aside here for frivolity of a feline nature.  Earlier in the week I was able to connect the subjects of drones and cricket.  Today, how about cats a cricket? And cats and drones?

Well, the best cats and cricket connection I have recently noticed occurred in a Channel 5 telly show called “Psycho Pussies: When Cats Attack”.  Having spent the last few weeks showing us how various animals, cats, dogs, pets, or just animals, make us LOL, they now turned to the dark side of feline behaviour.

I was only half watching, but my impression was that they were talking to the same small bunch of owners – owners willing to live with psycho pussies – over and over again.  I surmise that (a) most cats do not thus misbehave, and that in most of the cases where cats do thus misbehave (b) evolution swings into action in the form of a lethal injection.  But, there were a few masochistic pscho pussy owners, one of whom dressed up in cricket gear by way of self-protection rather than take the obvious lethal step.  And there was my connection.  Remember that for Friday, I said.  And I wasn’t the only one to notice this cat/cricket angle.


As for cats and drones, well the internet is flooded with gruesome pictures of that dead cat that some psycho artist turned into a quadcopter, or whatever the small and amateur drones are now called.  (Real Drones are as yet only used by Americans, to kill people.) I seem to recall doing a blog posting way back about this feline quadcopter, but cannot now find it.

However, far more amusing than this old and horrible story was what I also found during my quest for a drone cat connection, namely this:


The point being that for some, drones are, just like cats, pets.  And, pets get lost.  And when pets get lost, posters get put up, appealing for help.

I don’t reckon neighbours will be so sympathetic and cooperative, though.

Wednesday June 17 2015

I don’t often go to pubs, because of the noise.  But Goddaughter 2, raised in France, wanted to try eating a pie in a pub, so we went to the Barley Mow in Horseferry Road to see what they had.  They had pies, which proved very tasty.

Two particular circumstances made the evening pure perfection for me, besides the pure perfection of Goddaughter 2’s company I mean.

First, they had the latest England v NZ cricket ODI on the telly, and I got to watch the conclusion of England’s outstanding and outstandingly successful run chase that has just levelled the ODI series 2-2.  And second, this being the twenty-first century, GD2 had her smartphone with her and was texting with all her friends.  I hope you aren’t bored because of me doing all this texting, she said.  No no, I said, gazing happily at the giant telly screen, you just carry on my dear.  Don’t mind me.  As I said to her when we were leaving, had I been asked to chose the perfect hour and more to spend in a pub this week, then given that this pub had the cricket on the go, and given that my ever-delightful companion was apologising for neglecting me and communing instead with her smartphone, this hour and more would have been it.

There was noise but it didn’t matter.  We didn’t do much in the way of conversation, in other words we didn’t shout much at each other, although we did a bit because it wasn’t actually that noisy.  But we were mostly doing two separate things that did not require peace and quiet to work.  GD2 didn’t need silence to read and write her texts.  I didn’t need any television cricket commentators to tell me that England were batting up a storm.

As we left I asked GD2 if she reckoned the social media have made it better for women in pubs.  She reckoned yes they probably have.  If men in pubs are diverted by men’s stuff, like cricket on the telly, then any women they have dragged along with them are now able to entertain themselves, instead of just sitting there moping and getting bored.  Or, if the men were a bit more gracious than that, they would force themselves to ignore the men’s stuff and do conversation, despite their strong inclinations.  Also not ideal.  So, social media definitely equals progress.  And if the women are distracted by women’s stuff, then the men can play with their smartphones.

One of the very few uses I have found for my own smartphone, aside from telling me where I am and where to go when I am out and about, is acquainting myself with the latest cricket scores when I am out and about.

Heaven aka the Barley Mow
Ed Smith on sporting maturity – Burns and Henriques collide – Secretariat and his jockey
England crush NZ (and Surrey beat Leicester)
Two Lady covers
The view from outside Waterloo Station
Goodbye KP?
First test against NZ – first day
“The temptation to pre-order one of these is almost unbearable …”
Big 4
From a cat cushion to Bill Murray and a nude to a demon horse sculpture that killed its creator
Not squash
Is rugby the new squash?
Hot dog shadow selfie
Early tries by my guys
The “colorful and curvilinear forms” of Herr Hundertwasser
Headlights with cleaning brush
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom musical quote of the day
Confirming my String prejudices
A Sunday ramble
Quota selfie from 2006
Sacred architecture and profane roof clutter - a speculation
Brazil 0 Germany 5 after forty minutes
My favourite Tour de France in London photo
Will England get lucky?
Last night at my place
0.080519 would still have beaten 0.074163
Go Chef
Cricket news: Surrey win – IPL – The Big Wosname
Homer Simpson on Thames
Well that’s a relief
Libeskind doing the saw cut style in Ontario
Omaha dead
Faberge - Brutalism
The ROH from the ME Rooftop Bar
One new thing (an IPS screen) makes me want another new thing (also an IPS screen)
Slightly wider tube trains
How hydrogen bombs work
Strange yellow train on the underground
Friend on telly
Quota videos
A Strutton Ground shop and a Strutton Ground pub
BMdotCOM insult of the day
Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
Cheap hippos are hard to find
Six Nations joy
A (slightly delayed) Happy New Year
“No one has to know!”
Ryan wins
Some more presidential debate prophecy
Usain Bolt takes photos of photographers!
AB-solutely fabulous!
Rainbow Bridge
Shard even nearer to completion
The England rugby aftermath
France beat England
England squeak through against Scotland
Davies and de Bruyn get promotion for Surrey
Thrashing India
Natalie Solent at Biased BBC
Adam Curtis skewered
Today there is cricket and there is cricket
Friday link dump
Release Ai Weiwei
Gordon Brown curses the United Kingdom
“Things appear almost impossible to escape from …”
Meaning in sport
The fluctuating fortunes of Praveen Kumar and the devastating impact of Lasith Malinga
Pronouncing on the Six Nations
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom mixed metaphor of the day
Female cows in TV advert shock
The Humpty Dumpty Learning Channel
Ashes highlights on ITV4
Nice try
Only up to some random linkage and a little felinity
Another senior moment
Scientology enthusiast is now Climate Change Minister
Another strangely punctuated headline and a depressing television play
To Serve Man
I don’t usually approve of swear blogging but …
Woody Allen on media lies and on not learning as he gets older
Andy Flower urges England fans not to punish cricket for being corrupt
Cricket technology and its imperfections
The names people choose for their children are strange
Obama raises the price of tanning
303 Squadron in the movie and on the telly
The age of multi-channel television
England beating Australia – Germany beating England
Curse you Friends Provident t20
I love television
Surrey are now crap at cricket but they are sitting on a gold mine
Everybody draw Mohammed every day!
Everybody draw Mohammed on May 20th!
I flipping told him
Muralitharan and Hayden carry on doing badly
Watching IPL cricket beats watching England play rugby
IPL on ITV4!
Separating the men from the toys - the future of warfare and of sport?
List of popular misconceptions
You had a hard disc?  Luxury!
Cricket talk tonight
An after-echo of the creation of the world - Burgon recycles Milhaud
Yet more ramblings about Guesswhatgate
Unravelling the puzzle – and making it into a movie
Giant Bean covered in mirror
American video
Gordon Brown dithers about rugby - cricket’s on the up
Barney Stinson on how gay marriage will encourage regular marriage
Of lists and distant totally photorealistic skyscrapers
All your Quite Interesting questions answered
Jonathan Meades on city planning
More recorded cricket chat and some further Oval hindsights
Hislop fluffs the rhyme
Labour down – silly parties up
Photographers in bother
Mrs Billion Monkey doesn’t want to catch swine fever!
France falls in love with Hugh Laurie
Daniel Hannan and the shape of the media to come
Indian Premier League trumps test cricket
Angleterre formidable - France merde - Italy crap
It all depends on whether there is anything worth Twittering
On being sold a telly
Jennings did it
Nothing from me here today but something on Samizdata about cannabis
It could be a rather small funeral
I am not drunk - I just didn’t know what to put so I just started
OLED TV - very thin and detailed but not very big and not ready yet unless you’re stupidly rich
More random links
Keeping up with the NFL
On not seeing Schoenberg’s Variations for Orchestra
Four Minutes
“… the idea is to remain ignorant of how dumb you look …”
There’s only one way to find out!  Fight!
England sinking fast
Dongling at Michael’s
This and that on the Graham Norton Show
A thin bridge in Wales
Not the same thing
City of London lumps and a south London spike
Televised insincerity
Rock and roll will die very soon!
On the perils of recording to your TV hard disc at the midnight hour
“It’s only a parable!”
On the nature of the evolution argument
Vaughan steps down
Never mind the telly
Cricket misery
Nigel Kennedy’s amazing Elgar
Twenty20 cricket on Sky TV
Posting at Michael’s
Clarkson on Sarah Jessica Parker
Pietersen not humbled
A poetic Hornby
Today I have been blogging elsewhere and also doing other things
Bird’s Nest in smog
I predict that Germany will win
Brown leapfrogs Cameron with 36 point jump
“If only it were true …”
Eurovision sense from Squander Two
Ducks - frogs - turtles – beavers – Galaxy Quest
Bowlers who look like actors
Avoiding barbarism in the street
Ting Tings on Ross
The absurdly derided excellence of British weather forecasts
They play a lot of snooker in China – and in Essex
Voting for Boris?
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
Big, Bigger, Biggest - starring Heathrow Terminal 5
Tower Bridge in the blue grey afternoon (and Jenny Agutter obviously did it)
The Rite of Spring sounds to me like technology rather than nature
It really is about bloody time Jonathan Davies learned how to pronounce Jauzion
Watching paint dry at the end of a Six Nations game
Lizzy Bennet tells it like it is
Pianists conducting themselves
Paris Hilton and the Something Else First rule
The great DVD packaging clearout
Billion Monkey murderers!?!
The economics of Jonathan Ross
The Lord is watching
Blu-Ray - HD DVD – IBM – Microsoft - Google
Here it is Merry Christmas
Probably not right - but definitely written
The qualitative difference made by quantity
Gadget question
Not actually all that dramatically
Breaking the Left’s stranglehold on the moving image
Ramprakash at his level of competence
Australia out! – New Zealand out! – pass forward!
A surprising outburst of truth
Test match special
Depressed about the Windies
Toy train to Darjeeling
“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
“What do YOU think?” - “More -isationisation!”
Islam was peaceful and tolerant until the Christians attacked it
Very small screen – high resolution
Just making conversation
Footbridge in the dark and cricket
Four Nations still in it!
Clever old Catt
Magic Andy makes magic dragon
An improbable England win in the Six Nations
Dame Edna and Borats in Piccadilly Circus!
The Great Global Warming Swindle debate now begins
Displacement photo of Billion Monkey!
Newsnight Review – one at a time please
That Rooney goal
Micklethwait’s Four Star Theory of the Internet
Empty football stadiums on TV
Screw you Dove – good on you Ruth Kelly – the right to avoid gay adoption
Me on internet telly this evening with Andrew Ian Dodge
Telly on computers
Refuting decimation
Caught on camera
Me on 18DSTV
Male cows do not have udders
Do the Lib Dems just tell everyone what they each of them want to hear?
Me on the intertelly tonight
Down by the river
The extreme memes spread by moderate Muslims
Me on 18 Doughty Street tonight
What to do about intrusive mobile phones
One click
Billion Monkey flash strikes twice! - 7/7 a year later - Office Space on TV even though I own it
Sleeping fire
Big Media crap and football cock-ups
Very amusing person alert
County cricket - great and not so great - and what to do about that
Dnalgne no emoc! - Billion Monkey snaps mental Maradona!
The latest Brian and Antoine mp3
Young People models for Old People
Sergei Khachatryan plays Shostakovich Violin Concerto 1
Another phone glitch
The internet is creating new video stars
Wafa Sultan
Disaster in Paris
Blogging takes a back seat
Only a game
Those little big things that you hate
Another Billion Monkey and some Celluloid Gorillas in Victoria Street
“And also our sensitivity to our office being firebombed”
More ancient rock and rollers photographed from off of the telly
What it was only better
The Superbowl is live on the telly!
The animal spirits of Six Nations
Talking about my generation
Dye hard
Pink and green Richards
The Elgar/Walker piano concerto and the future of “classical” music
Where are all the posh real men actors?
Rylance’s Richard II – and how Richard II pre-echoes Lear
Rylance’s Richard again
I know that guy!
The new stand at the Oval
David Zinman – Thomas Adès – Howard Shelley
Machines to record digital TV
Photographing the TV
Bromwell High is very good