Brian Micklethwait's Blog

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

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Category archive: Radio

Sunday October 28 2018

Recently I and Patrick Crozier visited the Grafton Arms.  I rather like this pub.  These guys also like this pub, because of the Goon Show.  Apparently the Goons wrote some of their scripts there, in an upstairs room.

A fact commemorated by this mirror behind the bar, which I only noticed on this visit:

image

If you look carefully there, you can see me and my camera.  Well, it is a mirror.  I should have tried to include Patrick.

What took Patrick and me to the Grafton Arms was that we had just been doing one of our recorded conversations, and we needed refreshment.  Tune in to the latest one, by going here.

My favourite of these conversations so far has been the one we did about WW1, concerning which Patrick is something of an expert.  Our next, or so I hope, will be about transport, concerning which Patrick is also something of an expert.

Thursday September 27 2018

For the last four days I have been following Surrey v Essex at the Oval, on Cricinfo mostly.  The scores alone were remarkable, hence my title above.  Those who do not know cricket should know that, to those who do know cricket, the mere numbers above are truly astounding.

Famed Surrey commentator Churchy couldn’t take his eyes off it:

image

That’s him on the left.  Don’t know who the other bloke is.  Kevin Howells?  See also this (about the effect on the face of photoing someone from really close-up).  And the second of these two guys (both saying: well done Surrey) is another in-your-face face.

Given how good the weather forecasts were (and given how good weather forecasts are) I thought about going there.  But I still suspect that, had I done so, a cascade of butterfly effects would have been set in motion, and Surrey would have lost by an innings and about three hundred early on day three, instead of by a mere one wicket on the afternoon of day four, having looked, towards the end, well capable of snatching a win.

Anyone who thinks that only winning matters in sport should ponder how much happier a Surrey fan like me is about this game as it finally turned out, compared to how grumpy I would have been if it really had ended early on day three.  Still an Essex win.  Same number of Championship points to both sides.  Surrey still win the Championship anyway.  But what an abject anti-climax that would have been.  And what a great actual-climax to the season it actually was.

Had the County Championship still been at stake, and had it depended on this result, I could not have endured it.  But, if the Championship had been at stake, it would, I think, have been an entirely different game.  Intrinsic to the amazing Surrey recovery was that this was … only a game.  Thus did it end up being a great game, because only a game.

I really want to remember this one, hence this posting.

Sunday September 23 2018

I am watching, on my television, Eric Lu’s Leeds Piano Competition performance of the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4, a performance I earlier listened to on the radio.  My impression from the radio was that this was a rather “private” performance, and somewhat more so than I think ideal.  But the exact same performance, on TV, now seems, perhaps because the public nature of the event itself is inescapable, much less private than I had supposed from the radio.  Every bit as good as I recall, but different.  More assertive, more rhetorical, more like a Shakespeare soliloquy spoken out loud, and quite loudly, to a theatre audience than the same soliloquy done as a stream-of-consciousness interior thought process, perhaps also on the radio.  Odd how the medium can have such an impact on the message.

I see from the Eric Lu website that this Beethoven concerto performance, together with two Chopin solo pieces that he played in earlier rounds, is now being made available on CD.

Now I am watching a Chinese guy play the Schumann concerto.  And the contrast in how it comes across is exactly the same as with Lu’s Beethoven performance.

Saturday September 15 2018

I was summoned to Chateau Samizdata (which is in South Kensington these days) for lunch today, which meant that when I walked past that Bartok statue at lunchtime today, the light was behind me, rather than in front of me and behind Bartok.

So I was able to have another go at photoing him:

imageimageimage
imageimageimage

But with rather mixed results.  The change in lighting made a lot less difference than I had been hoping.

I spent the late afternoon and the evening (a) doing stuff at home, and (b) keeping track of the climaxes of two competitions, this one, which was won by pianist Eric Lu, and this one, which was won by the Worcestershire cricket team.  Which means Worcestershire have had a mixed season, having also been relegated from Division One of the County Championship.  It was like them winning the FA cup but also getting relegated from the Premier League.  However, getting relegated from Division One of the Country Championship makes far less financial difference than dropping out of the Premier League.  So Worcester are probably now pretty happy.  Counties doing well in one format but badly in another is quite frequent.  They all say that, of course, they want to win everything.  But in reality, they prioritise this and neglect that.

Tonight, Radio 3 played the last two Leeds Piano Competition concerto performances, the three others having been played last night.  I will be checking out the performance of Beethoven 1 from last night, because, while they were waiting for them to pick the various prize winners, they played part of a chamber music performance by the guy who had played Beethoven 1, which sounded excellent.  Also, this guy came second in the overall competition, so he’s pretty good.

Tonight’s Beethoven 4, from winner Lu, was excellent, albeit somewhat more subdued than I think Beethoven had in mind when he composed this piece.  Lu’s was a very “private” performance of what was actually, I think, written as a rather public piece (about private feelings).  But that’s very much a matter of (my) opinion.  Given what Lu was doing, he did it very well.  Besides which, who would want all concerto performances to sound the same?  Beethoven might have been surprised by Lu’s delicate and subtle performance, but that doesn’t mean he’d have minded.  On the contrary, he would probably be amazed and delighted that people were still playing the thing at all.

Tonight’s other concerto, the Schumann, was similar in artistic intention to Lu’s Beethoven 4, but to my ear it involved a few too many wrong notes.  The Radio 3 commentators didn’t mention these wrong notes, but I don’t think I imagined them.  I think they chose to ignore them.

Bartok wrote three Piano Concertos, each very fine in their contrasting ways.  None of these were played in the final of the Leeds Piano Competition.

LATER: I’ve just been listening to another county game, just started on Sept 18th, and I realise that the piece I linked to about Worcester getting relegated was dated 2015.  Theoretically, they could still avoid relegation this year.  But they’re not going to.  They’ve just been bowled out for 94 by Essex, and they are about thirty points shy of safety, with Yorks and Lancs both having to cock it up big time for them to escape.  As it is, Worcs and Lancs both look doomed to the trop.  But, in theory, Worcs are still in with a chance of avoiding this.

I am very sorry to have misled you, in the unlikely event that I did, and that you care.

Friday August 10 2018

The word used by England spin bowler Monty Panesar, when he was on Test Match Special this morning during a rain break, to describe how it felt when, in a test match in India, he got Sachin Tendulkar out.

Despite all the rain of the last two days, England were exhuberating at Lord’s today.

Tuesday July 24 2018

Mark Church, the Surrey commentator-in-chief, tweets the gory or glorious (according to taste) details of Surrey’s recent run of triumphs in the Country Championship:

Surrey’s 5 straight wins:

Innings and 17 runs
Innings and 58 runs
Innings and 89 runs
7 wickets
Innings and 183 runs

6 wins in total this season

Good numbers those 🏏🏏

Very good.  No surprise, then, that Surrey are way out in front and are hot favourites to win the whole thing.

I’ve been following all these wins, the scores via Cricinfo, and if I want to hear the actual fall of wickets being described by normally taciturn men who suddenly start shouting, then through the BBC commentaries, the ones that Mark Church does.

If you follow a sports team, you will know both how deeply satisfying this Surrey hot streak has been for me, a Surrey supporter, and also how impossible it is for me to explain to someone who doesn’t share such sports fan feelings why it is so satisfying.

With four day county cricket, keeping track of the progress of a steamroller team, like Surrey have been this year, means tracking your team for twenty solid days, six hours each day, minus the days you miss because Surrey have already won inside three days, like they did today.  Imagine following your football team doing that, winning for twenty solid days!

Follow that link, and you will learn that the guy who made the difference for Surrey today was South African pace monster Morne Morkel.  The word is that people around the counties hate Surrey a bit less than usual just now, on account of so many of Surrey’s good players these days being proper county cricketers that they have nurtured in their Academy or whatever, rather than bought in from The World.  But Morkel is a classic throw-money-at-the-problem answer to a problem, the problem being that Surrey needed a bowler like Morkel to make their bowling attack the complete steamroller than it now is.

Morkel wasn’t just the difference today.  On the first morning of this game, when Notts were just one wicket down and were groping towards a position of batting adequacy, Morkel got two quick wickets, and Notts never recovered.  Instead of Notts batting in the second half of the day when batting was easier, Surrey got to bat then.  Yesterday morning, Surrey batted on and lost four wickets for not a lot, but this wasn’t enough for Notts to get back into the game.  The Surrey tail didn’t so much wag as flail.  Rikki Clarke, who started his career at Surrey and is now finishing it there, got a century batting at eight, Burns having already scored a century batting at one, and that was pretty much that.

Okay, your eyes glazed during that last paragraph, but you are now here.  The point is: Surrey are now really good.

This metaphorical hot streak of Surrey’s has been a great comfort to me, in these literally very hot times.

Wednesday June 13 2018

For over a year now, I have been thinking that Jordan Peterson is a fascinating individual.  When he did that Cathy Newman interview and got truly famous, I thought that this was a significant historical event.  Among other things, I started thinking that he will raise the birth rate in the West, by urging its young citizens to be more ready to undertake the responsibilities of parenthood.

So, I found this comment, buried in lots of on-topic comments about this rather good interview of Jordan Peterson by Radio 3’s Philip Dodd, fascinating.  Fascinating as in: proves me right.  Right as in: a bit more right than before, not a lot but a bit.

Totally offtopic: is there a Jordan Peterson dating site for people who know about him?

Know about him as in: like him, agree with him, are fans of him.  But despite being a bit badly expressed, this is surely a highly significant question.  Well, I think so.

I just googled “jordan peterson dating site” and got some related stuff, but not any actual dating site.  But that doesn’t prove there isn’t one, and in any case, if there now isn’t one, there soon will be.

I have just fixed for my Last Friday of the Month meeting on July 27th to be on the subject of Jordan Peterson.  The speaker will be Tamiris Loureiro.

Sunday April 01 2018

I became fixated on Spurs in the 1960s, like a baby goose, because then they were so good.  Plus, I always like their Jewish angle and still do.  I have supported them, strictly at a distance and media access permitting, ever since. They’ve been sporadically good since that ancient time, but never as good.  Finally, that seems like it might be changing.

Today Spurs beat Chelsea at Chelsea, the last time they did that having been in 1990.  Spurs are now in fourth place, which if they stay there is high enough to get them into the Champions League again.  They are now 8 points clear of Chelsea in fifth.  With seven more games to be played, it’s not settled yet, but things just got a lot better for Spurs.

I just watched Dele Alli’s two goals on the TV highlights, and with both it was not just the skill but the speed with which he did what he did that was so impressive.  Before that, Eriksen hit what the radio commentators were calling a potential goal of the season.  One of those long distance, fast and late inswingers.

So, to celebrate, here is a photo I took of the new Spurs stadium, which will get moved into next season or thenabouts.  It will be a few games before the Spurs team settles in and starts enjoying their home advantage whenever they play there.  But judging by how well they did this season at the at first unfamiliar Wembley, it shouldn’t take them too long to settle into New White Hart Lane.

So, this is how New White Hart Lane was looking last November, with one of the Walthamstow reservoirs in the foreground:

image

Mmmm.  Cranes.

I haven’t checked progress more recently, and can offer no photos from since then.  But here are 103 more pictures, and counting, of New White Hart Lane’s progress.  I knew you’d be excited.

An encouraging picture for Spurs
Ashes Lag strikes
Watching the Surrey v Yorkshire feed
Arrow stops play – yet another Surrey draw – test cricket laughs in the face of danger
Maia Bouchier plays in the boys team
A quota photo of the Shard with foliage and two ridiculous problems solved
Boycott pranked but Micky feels okay
A useful little party
John Croft: Composition is not research
Pletnev plays Haydn and I own it!
Why I like Cricinfo
A good morning
Second childhood
I slept right through it
No wicket in fourth over shock
One day cricketers playing at test cricket
Phil Tufnell paints cats!!!
Ed Smith on sporting maturity – Burns and Henriques collide – Secretariat and his jockey
England crush NZ (and Surrey beat Leicester)
Goodbye KP?
Going from knowing a piece of music to also knowing what it is
Pete Comley talking about inflation on Friday February 27th
Tower Bridge glass shattered by beer bottle
Pavarotti could not read music (very well)
PID at the Times
Something at Samizdata
Sacred architecture and profane roof clutter - a speculation
Green screen blue screen
Music classified
Quite a morning
Doing libertarian business at the Libertarian Home social
A (slightly delayed) Happy New Year
England squeak through against Scotland
Davies and de Bruyn get promotion for Surrey
On the rise of Bishop Hill
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)
Mozart might have become a criminal
Boxing Day morning at the MCG
And it resumes …
First blood to Australia
English will not last for ever shock
The long and short of conversation - Hitchens on YouTube
Which just goes to show that stuff gets around
Lucky we didn’t go to Lords
Why David Hepworth is wrong about podcasting
Those angry Americans
Cricket talk tonight
Scrounging Englishmen and stories too good to check
When Cricinfo doesn’t supply the info
Llyr Williams and Llyr Williams play Bach
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
Ingrid Fliter has a problem with the piano
Handel in London – and an angelic tenor aria
On not seeing Schoenberg’s Variations for Orchestra
Cricket chat
“Who are you going to sell it to if we don’t buy it?”
The Rite of Spring sounds to me like technology rather than nature
Me talking about the great twentieth century musical divide
Rain stops Murali
Taking the recording studio into the concert hall
The UK is not crowded
Humphrey Searle’s Hamlet is the worst Shakespeare opera ever
Ramprakash at his level of competence
When inimitable means very imitable
Test match special
Depressed about the Windies
Classical under-15s
Surrey crash to earth
“A fitting end to a very badly organised tournament …”
A double cricket surprise
A John Lewis cat and a John Lewis DAB radio
Dutilleux piano music on Naxos
Frederick May
You can have everything
Alex and Brian’s latest classical music mp3 – Saint-Saëns etc.
Patrick and Brian talk about the War on Terror - thoughts about podcasting
Armando Iannucci on going to classical concerts - and me on not bothering
Listening to Peter Briffa’s first podcast
Antoine Clarke
iBrian may be coming but I promise nothing
Still ill
Shakespeare Sunday
Why I liked John Peel