Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the month “March, 2018”

Australian Cricket Rubbing The World Up The Wrong Way. Is this one of the final nails in the cricket coffin?


The past few years has not been good for cricket and in fact has been mostly disastrous. A series of betting related match fixing events and generally fairly average if not poor cricket. Frankly there is too much of it, test series back to back with endless T20 and limited over games, that rarely threaten to fill even the most modest of stadia. Presumably all related to Sky and other purporters of live cricket ( with advertising slots assailing viewers ceaselessly) and the betting market ( with that nonsense phrase ” when the fun stops”…..).

For most cricket the fun stopped many years ago, the game has become too predictable and generally uninteresting to many fans. Fans are charged sometimes outrageous amounts of money to perhaps watch a game, dependent on the weather, the light, 2-3 day finishes in test cricket and other nonsense factors. Not surprisingly few fans watch test cricket as seen in the current South Africa v Australia series, and the New Zealand v England series.

Cricket has somehow survived until now. I have been a member of Sussex county cricket club for maybe 15-20 years but having nothing to do with the increasing cost am considering cancelling my membership . Mostly because the quality of the cricket is poor and often little better than club cricket. The players often seem disinterested. The sponsors are also moving away, as judged by the much reduced sponsorship seen for the Arundel cricket festival in 2017 for example.  The recent events in South Africa however just maybe might put a final nail in the cricket coffin ( unless we include numerous meaningless “bash” competitions, that frankly have as much to do with cricket as french cricket did at school).

The cheating displayed by the Australians followed by their refusal to tell the truth until confronted by video evidence , the lack of remorse and the general nastiness exhibited by the Australians in how they play the “game”, just might be that final nail. Lets examine the facts:

  1. The Australians were found cheating, lied to umpires, media and by default the paying customers, and it is not credible that this is their first time. It is equally not credible that only three players were part of this. Would a bowler not have noticed a change in the physical ball or the swing immediately?
  2. The alleged remorse is fake. The real remorse is that they have been caught and punished with moderate sanctions. I take a view that would be simpler. Any cheating should be a lifetime ban from that sport. Leopards do not change their spots. From a psychological or psychiatric view personalities are fully formed and essentially unchangeable by cricketing age, of course behaviours can be changed, but the underlying desire to take that risk means it is not credible that they would be “cured” of cheating tendencies.
  3. The Australian players have created theatrical press conferences with wives, family members and young children in tow, that are obscene. What was needed was a genuine apology and a clear statement from each along the lines that they voluntarily would step back from cricket and never assume any leadership role.
  4. This is match fixing. Commentators in the national newspapers argue otherwise, but they are wrong. Match fixing is an attempt to illegally fix a result. This is the same a doping, diving, lying and all the other kinds of pretence seen in sport.

So what should happen. My view is that the players involved should voluntarily stand down from cricket for a year at minimum, that they should never have any leadership role again and finally they should donate their salary for a year to charity. Why are they receiving any salary still until June 2018? All these simple actions of humility would mean far more than fake tears of remorse. Lastly they should actually tell the truth and not hide behind the ongoing Cricket Australia investigations. It would be a good start to tell all bodies the truth and maybe start with the general public who after all pay their wages. Moving forwards sporting cheats should receive a lifetime ban, as who wants these characters in the sports that we love. They are paid huge sums of money to excel in their sports and by default be role models to some extent.

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Black and White Photography. The Forgotten Art


Just looking through magazines and newspapers it seems colour photography is the only form needed. But take a moment to consider the change that comes into a photograph when it is viewed in black and white.

Some key aspects to good black and white photography include

  1. Choosing a suitable subject matter. Not all subject matters lend themselves to black and white format. No precise rules exist .
  2. Focus. Generally a good depth of field of minimum f 10. Clarity of the image can be critical in its interpretation
  3. Contrast. In general terms a little greater contrast can be helpful. Not at all an absolute rule though as you can see from one of my examples below.

Here are a few examples of recent photos where black and white has changed the whole aura and interpretation of a photograph .

Sometimes my aim is to deliberately convey an old looking feel that the photo could have been taken many years ago.

These photos are in fact some of my favourite photos from last year .

Black and white photography allows so much experimentation that it should be considered routine in any Photoshoot .

A Day In Eilat-thoughts and photos


Eilat is the southernmost city in Israel sitting at the northern tip of the Red Sea with a population of around 50,000. Eilat is a popular tourist resort with regular flights from Tel Aviv as almost a shuttle service from Israel amongst other airlines. The diving options there are plentiful with unspoiled coral reefs and Eilat is regarded as  one of the world’s top diving centres. 0000189200001895

With only a few hours to see any of the city here are a few photographs that try to give a feel to the place. The temperatures are high being 30c even in early March and the beaches are a mixture of pebble stones with some sand. The only aspect that did not engage me though was the widespread usage of wire fences, sometimes with barbed wire to separate the promenade from the beach. 00001885

The food was amazing with fresh fruits and vegetables in abundance but with the odd curious aspect. At breakfast despite there being tomatoes on the buffets, the omelette chef did not allow tomatoes in his omelettes!00001903

 

The hotels seemed almost carved out of the hillside and the views from my room were quite unique.

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The beaches were fairly traditional with beach beds but also some more curious areas to sit. Some of the Eilat industry was also not too far away.

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Travelling To Israel. Security Thoughts


Israel cannot be like any other place . For good and understandable reasons security is tight. However there are conundrums that do not make sense. Flying BA to Tel Aviv the UK security checks are identical to if you were flying London City to Southend. Landing at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, which like Heathrow and Gatwick is nowhere near the city Centre, I was expecting serious security and questioning. But little transpired. Passport control in fact was less onerous and quicker than Heathrow. No questions about anything really making me almost disappointed that I had printed off pages of letters explaining the purpose of my visit. To give a lecture at a congress . No customs of note either, although one oriental man was having to unpack his suitcase and the contents strewed over the top of a table, suggested he had packed 300 pairs of underpants. Maybe he had and had good reasons to do so.

Things changed however at the smaller city airport around 30 minutes by taxi away. Firstly SDE Dov airport was closed when I arrived at 04.00 with little option than to stand outside for an hour until the meshed gates were opened. Secondly the security here was beyond belief. Multiple checks on passport and reasons for being there. I was asked why my passport looked like it did, scruffy and faded. What can one say? That it is almost 10 years old? The couple in front of me had a much tougher time . Are you married? Why do you have different names? Do you realise you might be a terrorist target? Various further checks led to a plethora of stickers and forms being applied to tickets, passport and luggage.

My question is why the clear discrepancy? I don’t doubt the need for this security but the inconsistency was confusing.

The last curious thing to engage my brain at 05.00 was the very young age of the security staff. Mostly female and mostly surely no more than 20 years old.

I am not sure if this is offputting to coming to Israel or reassuring. Anyways I am here and let’s see what the country is like .

Russian journalist death in New Malden. Counter Terrorism unit leading investigation


After the death of 61 year old Russian journalist Nikolai Glushkov last night , police are treating his death in Clarence Avenue New Malden as unexplained. The counter terrorist unit are leading investigations. They are not linking it to the recent Salisbury incident.

Mr Glushkov was allegedly a close friend of Putin critic Boris Berezovsky, and had said he did not believe Mr Berezovsky’s death was due to natural causes according to a personal friend on Facebook . Damian Kudryavtsev.

Will be interesting to see how this story progresses . This is not the first unusual death in this town in recent years .

A Restaurant Called Alice. Alice Ristorante Milan. Simply Beyond Brilliant


I am as far from being a restaurant critic as it is possible to be. Having been summoned to a Milan restaurant as part of a group of people one has little idea of what the food will be like and often the style of the food.

Alice Ristorante is situated in a complex with the cute sounding Eataly Milano Smeraldo name. Arriving at the door it seems one has arrived at the Milan equivalent of Waitrose. A large food store selling on three levels various Italian foods. Tucked away on the top floor was Alice Ristorante. A medium size restaurant overlooking the main street where the only obvious landmark was the taxi rank.

The food and the service was beyond brilliant. The group had been pre ordered a menu with accompanying wines.

Depending upon how one counts courses we seemed to have seven. Some of the dishes are best described by looking at the menu here. The only obvious dishes were the excellent sea bass and the risotto.

I cannot recall a better meal. The service was attentive without being overpowering. The white wines were perfectly chilled. The food looked and tasted superb. Cost? I have no idea.

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