The Commonwealth Games were fantastic. Splendidly organised, welcoming and it's a great way to see a city. It gives you a reason to explore, to see things you wouldn't otherwise, a reason to be there.
And I love seeing sports I know nothing about, you spend the first little while working out the scoring system, then settling on someone to cheer for and then noticing the human drama.
(This made the weightlifting brilliant - there's so much emotion and preparation compressed into each lift, each moment is massive. The tiny figures in the distance still communicate a ton of effort and expression. Well done Zoe!)
I was rather struck with Laura Massaro's squash racquet. I think it's a Head Xenon 135 and it looked like the grip was in a rather vibrant fluro yellow/green. I've not photographed it well.
It reminded me of a trip to the Nike archives I made, several years ago. They showed us a bunch of very early Nikes they'd just bought off a Japanese collector. Many of them very bright, almost neon, even after 30 years or so. The designers I was with were fascinated by them, asking about the inks/dyes/whateverthey'recalled, the archivist dashed their hopes - there would be no way we could use these any more, they'd breach all sorts of environmental regulations, probably made out of quite nasty stuff.
Presumably the recent rash of fluoro all over the high street and the football pitch means there have been some breakthroughs in less noxious inks. Somewhere at a chemicals business a Head of Hue is getting a well deserved bonus.
I spent quite a lot of time at the bowls wondering if you could cheat.
Could you infiltrate some sort of sphero technology into your wood, making it steerable after its release? Do they x-ray the woods? That would put paid to that.
And, presumably, you wouldn't need it to be that controlable. You could get quite a lot of advantage with just the ability to move some weight inside the wood at the right moment, shift its centre of gravity slightly. Would you need a compatriot in the crowd with a control? Could a human even make it work and make it seem natural? Would you, in fact, need a system that could see the jack and the other bowls, could monitor the speed and direction of the wood being bowled and then apply a subtle shift to its centre of gravity to put it somewhere more useful without anyone noticing? Is that even possible? How many cameras would you need? Could you do it with a bunch of networked phones?
Badminton - same question.
Five years ago we went on holiday to Cape Cod, rented a car and trundled out to the Wellfleet Marconi Site. There's not a lot there. It's a place "where a man may stand and put all of America behind him". It's where Marconi first (or sort of, almost first) transmitted Transatlantic messages.
A little hut, a model, a phone line you can call to hear about it all, a plaque.
It was atmospheric though, there was enough to help you imagine the struggle and the excitement of those first transmissions across the Atlantic. (Sadly, now, apparently, it's mostly fallen into the sea.)
Last week we went to the other end - the Marconi Centre at Poldhu in Cornwall:
I like this long slow way to do tourism, seeing each end of invisible infrastructural things.
While we were in Cornwall we also stopped at Goonhilly and the Telegraph Museum at Porthcurno. I need, eventually, to find where in New York that Telstar transmission came from and what was on the end of those cables.
If asked, and, if you blog long enough it's the kind of thing that might come up, I think I'd say that the most beautiful words in the English language are these:
"I wanna fly my biplane, low over Swaffham"
It's from On Reaching The Wensum by Half Man Half Biscuit.
I don't know why I like it so much. It's partly that it's unexpectedly romantic, it's partly the emergence of the tune from dischord, it's partly the use of a small town in Norfolk. But it's partly the image of a plane, just above you.
It was going through my head all day at the RNAS Culdrose Air Day, though, of course, I don't have any actual pictures of a biplane.
It's that feeling - a plane, low, over the countryside. Close to you, yet very far and very fast away.
At one point the commentator, telling us about one of the planes, one with an all-around transparent canopy, described it as a "splendid touring aircract". Anne and I both noticed that, smiled at that thought. That would be a lovely way to see the country.
Naming is hard. That's true in computering and in new products.
But, wait, here's a whole new name-space land-grab opportunity - famous dead people with a thing everyone knows about them.
There's Kennedy (which is brilliant and plays off the 'everyone remembers where they were when Kennedy was shot' thing).
There must be others. Baby Einstein comes to mind. And, er. There must be others.
I wonder what the Dickens app would do. Or the Seacole one. Or the Dickinson one (and who owns the Dickinson name-space, Emily or Bruce?*). Pocahontas. Thatcher. Armstrong. Banks. Clough.
This stuff is going to happen.
(*Though Bruce isn't dead. Which, in this instance, goes against him)
UPDATE: Phil has pointed out another one - Streisand.