Big Bash

Half an hour back, I moved from my room/office to the hall to catch what I thought will be five minutes of Big Bash (Australia’s version of the IPL). I ended up staying there for half an hour. I don’t know if the quality of cricket was decidedly superior to that of the IPL, a tournament I hardly watched in its latest edition (I keep forgetting who won, even). It was the quality of broadcast that had me hooked.

I must mention here that I was watching the broadcast on Start Cricket HD, but even the IPL was telecast on SetMax HD this year. And there was simply no comparison in terms of the quality of pictures. I don’t know if it has something to do with the nature of floodlights at the Gabba (maybe it does), but the pictures from the Big Bash were so significantly superior to that of the IPL (tough to explain this objectively, so you should watch and see for yourself). And then there was the commentary. Again, I don’t think any of the famed Channel Nine line-up was involved (the broadcast is by Fox Sports, and I didn’t hear any familiar voices), but the commentary was good while not being too intrusive. Again, there was no idiotic playing up of the sponsors (DLF maximums and the like), and then they had wired up Shane Warne as he thought aloud as he plotted Brendon McCullum’s dismissal.

There is something about the overall sound of the Big Bash telecast that the IPL misses out on. It probably has to do with the way they capture the crowd noise, but it does make one feel like one is in the stadium. Of course, I must mention here that of whatever bits of IPL I watched this year, I watched most of it on mute thanks to the insufferable commentary.

And then the ads. The IPL simply doesn’t seem to have figured out an effective ad model. They stuff the viewer with so many ads that there is little brand recall, and people mostly react to these brands with a sense of irritation. The Big Bash, on the other hand, seems to have figured out the model of fewer and shorter ad breaks, which will still keep people in their seats. I hope they are being compensated for it with higher revenue.

There is a lot that the IPL has to learn from the Big Bash. Hopefully the low TRPs of the last edition will mean that they will be open to innovation and improvement. I surely won’t mind watching the IPL if it is produced with the same quality as the Big Bash. Maybe I’m being too hopeful here..

The Wife’s Methods

During a particularly acrimonious fight last night, I found that I was losing myself, and had no clue what was happening. Tempers were frayed, voices were raised and a huge towel had become wet from our collective tears and nose-goo. And I was fighting a losing battle, against myself. It seemed like I was consuming myself, and there was no way out.

I walked up to the kitchen and pulled out two New York shot glasses from the shelf. I reached for the top shelf, where we store the stuff, and pulled out the Talisker bottle. And I filled the shot glasses, up to the brim, and we downed it, one glass each. Soon, it seemed like all was going to be fine with the world.

At once we calmed down. We started thinking more rationally now. The fight continued, but the voices got lowered, the collective discharge into the towel ebbed. We weren’t consumed by ourselves any more. Instead, we were now calmly talking to each other, trying to find a way out of the problem we had at hand. Note that we didn’t kiss-and-make-up-and-bury-the-fight like we used to earlier. We didn’t sleep until we’d finished our business and reached an agreement. But life had become so much better.

I must admit that over the last year or more, I’ve consistently underestimated the wife (earlier the girlfriend) and her methods. Sometimes I’ve never understood why she does things in a certain way (and expects me to do things the same way), at other times I’ve been too arrogant in my own thoughts, to give her methods a fair hearing. This was yet another such example.

It was I who had made an irrational decision that Talisker was meant for slow sipping and savouring. It was I who had thought it was “too expensive to be shot down”. And it was I who had made the wife promise she won’t gulp it down before buying the current bottle of Talsker. I admit it, I was wrong. Wrong. The wife, it turns out, had always been right.

Fixed and variable scales

One major point of difference I’ve noticed between Indian and Western classical music is about the starting point of scales. Western music has a fixed starting frequency, and all instruments and voices are supposed to be tuned to that. Every guitar is tuned identically, and I’m talking about absolute frequencies of various strings here. Similarly with other instruments.

Indian classical music on the other hand doesn’t bother as much about absolute freuqencies. The frequency of the base Sa doesn’t matter at all, it’s only the relative frequencies of various notes that matter and as long as those are perfect the music will be good. This allows greater flexibility to artistes, especially vocalists and allows them to find their own range rather than having to conform to set standards.

Related to this is the individualist nature of Indian music (you usually have one lead performer here, accompanied by two or three others) and the orchestra nature of Western classical. When the “band” is small, it is not so much of a big deal to retune instruments to match each other and because of this it is not so much of a problem to coordinate. When you are part of an orchestra, however, it is important to have a standard and have everyone conform to that, rather than have a large number of musicians retune for every performance.

What I wonder, however, is which came first – synchronized tuning or the orchestra.