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

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Wednesday September 14 2005

When England won the Rugby World Cup and paraded it through London, I watched it on telly, and took photos of the telly.  Which was okay.  But this time, England having won the Ashes, I decided that I would go to Trafalgar Square and witness the celebrations for myself.  The bus being due to arrive in Trafalgar Square at 12.30 pm, I got to Embankment tube station at about noon, and walked up an encouragingly uncrowded Villiers Street towards the Strand, where I discovered myself to be (a) on the route the bus would take into Trafalgar Square, and (b) near enough to the front to see things very clearly.  Thus it was that I got my best view of the bus and the guys in it almost at the very beginning of my photographic journey.  The best photo here is, I think, the one taken straight upwards, with the bright blue sky behind.  And yes, it was indeed excellent weather.  But the bus was gone very quickly.  As always when I try to photograph some particular thing, especially if it is newsworthy, my respect for Real Photographers was greatly enhanced.

The crowd by the side of the Strand then followed the bus into Trafalgar Square, and I joined the sea of cricket fans, real or fair weather, there assembled, about two thirds of the way down on the eastern side, and tried to take whatever pictures I could.

My choices of shot, to take and to show here, reflect my fascination with the current state of photography itself.  However, there were actually not that many cameras present, proportionately speaking.  Most had just come to see and to cheer.  But I did get a number of the characteristic Billion Monkey pose of the day, which was to hold your camera way up above the throng and either hope for the best, or, if you had one of those twiddly screens such as I have, try to do a bit better than hope.  (I particularly like the one from straight behind the snapper’s hairy head.) But so bright was the sunlight that frankly, I could make very little sense of my screen and I too was mostly just pointing and hoping.  I only really found out what I had when I got home.

I chose a selection of what seemed like my best shots, and have spent the last hour or two arranging them in the assemblage below.  Frankly, I don’t consider them that great, as photography.  I can’t handle light that good in circumstances that disruptive of thoughtful calculation.  Plus, frankly, I couldn’t see much from where I ended up.  But they do communicate a sense of what it was like.  To further enhance the air of confusion and fun, I have neither cropped nor processed the pictures that you get to if you click on the little cropped squares.  What you get to if you click is exactly what came out of my camera.

Note the presence, in addition to the men’s team, of the victorious (also against Australia) England ladies team.  When I first saw their bus I was baffled.  Who were these women?  I had completely forgotten, despite having done a Samizdata posting about their triumph on the day it happened.  Only when ladies captain Clare Connor was introduced and interviewed did the lady bus make sense.  But I got some pictures of them anyway.

Because I had such a hopeless view of the actual performance itself, at the top end of Trafalgar Square, I ended up taking a lot of photos of a TV screen, just as if I had been at home.  (Does anyone have a link to some professional photos of the same proceedings.  I went looking for this to put here, but could find nothing.  But then, I am a very dodgy googler, or whatever it is you have to be.) But some of my pics were pretty good, I think.  I hope you will agree that some of the more striking images are simply of words on that screen.  The names of cricketers, and of the lucky companies who sponsored all this.  And the words of the songs they had us all singing.  In general, as a photographer, I like words.

Enjoy.  Unless of course you are an Australian.

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