Sunday, June 29, 2008
It actually, really, finally, horribly happened.
I was walking into the Oval to watch a twenty20 match, and then, from the pits of hell, He came. Who was he? I don’t know. I doubt whether he did. All I can remember is reasonable height, green t-shirt and short, possibly curly, hair.
This thing strode further, and uttered the following bone-crushing words to me:
“Excuse me, are you a left arm Chinaman?”
What facial expression are you supposed to wear when your world collapses?
I considered this interesting social question briefly, as my body involuntarily creepped to the right, and away from this person that could only be described as a man.
I decided that the best course of action wasn’t, as my rabid sub-conscious screamingly suggested, panic like a maddy, but was to decant the madness to him.
“You are a nutcase” said my face. Coupled with the deranged side-stepping, I think I may have persuaded him that he was clearly a total weirdo for asking such a silly question. With this, I pressed home the advantage, and answered his question:
I then ran away like a frightened little girl.
So, now I’m a celebrity. Sachin Tendulkar, you have my empathy.
For the past few months, I have suffered an affliction. A tragic, strange condition that impinges upon me only with a small locality.
This morning, like other, innocent mornings, between Limehouse and Fenchurch Street Stations, a usually innocuous stretch of rail-track, I spied from the dubious safety of my train carriage another naked man. Totally starkers.
This is the third time it has happened. And always at the same train line. Different men; different places, but always the same area, and I’m always on the train.
Thankfully, they are not.
It impossible not to look at a naked man. Your eye, like some masochistic, rogue organ, darts hungrily from peripheral view to all-consuming OMG there’s a naked man subsuming my entire vision within an instant. Your conscious is powerless to prevent its own temporary destruction.
Now, I fear, my eyes become excited whenever they reach the area. They begin their prowling, hopeful search for naked men. “This will distress our owner” say those malevolent bastards.
What is it with the men of Limehouse? Does it have a scorchio micro-climate? If so, why the hell isn’t there counter-balancing women? I have never seen a women perform a little East End dance of public nudity. Or perhaps my eyes discretely guide me away from such sights?
A friend claims that there’s a women homed near to where he lives, who stands in her bay window and four o’clock every day. Only, she seems to forget to dress above the waist on each occasion.
It is curious that she chose four o’clock. Maybe it was her post team-time treat?
In other news, India beat Bangladesh.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
So, I’ve set up a little group about me and how wonderful I am.
I’m sure I’ll do something with it, once I’ve worked how to do stuff. And things.
Weirdly, this group has members and a major proponent in the form of Unkie JRod at cricketwithballs before I’ve even announced its existence to the world.
This is why, quite frankly, the whole facebook thing terrifies. It’s populated with the most dangerous people outside reality.
Actually, you probably don’t remember. You’ve taken way too many drugs since then.
I decided that England’s next captain was going to be Kevin Pietersen.
Unfortunately, I lost the use of my tongue and typing fingers for about month after I made this heretical pronouncement. Promotion of dodgy Saffers isn’t good for the street cred.
But now, he has been elevated through default, I’ll take full credit: I am responsible for this; I have a direct line to the ECB. I am their guru.
Before I continue bragging, it’s worth highlighting KP’s enormous powers of captaincy in England’s latest triumph against New Zealand.
His choice of relying heavily on Owais Shah’s unplayable off-spin and sticking on a frightening Graeme Swann at the death was genius. To restrict the Kiwis to just 266 after England’s bowlers had them at 124-4 after thirty overs was an indication of mighty captaincy skills for years to come.
England’s batters were equally as impressive.
I’m not at all incredibly pissed off at their feeble efforts today. It’s not like they throw away a lead every week.
It’s not like I want to burn down Lords at all.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Of course, there was the whole “I am a right twat, me” thing with Paul Collingwood. In case you didn’t hear: a Kiwi runner was downed by an England bowler, resulting in his losing his verticality, the use of the left side of his body and his wicket.
Of course, it was a hilarious incident, especially when the full extent of his injuries was revealed, but it displayed a rather unseemly element to the England captain’s game.
Despite the fact that the umpire repeatedly asked if Collingwood would like to withdraw his appeal, he claims that it was a “split second decision”. We claimed he was a twat.
In fairness, it probably was an unthinking moment of stupidity, where any appeals to reason by the umpire were drowned up by the cricketer’s usual ridiculously high levels of elation after taking a wicket.
You might say that this distinguishes international players from international captains, and that Collingwood isn’t really captaincy material. You might say something different.
In any case, the key moment of this match was just after the last ball, when the New Zealand captain lost it completely. After the Kiwis one he did this:
Leap around like a maddy, pointing at the English.
And he said this:
“Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you all!” at the English.
Oh, how I wish I could have seen it. Oh, how I wish all teams could do that after winning. The MCC should put it in the rules.
That a professional sportsman can sink to the level of a jeering darts player, after winning his local pub’s drunken competition against his ex-wife gives hope to us all.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
“When we’re on song, we’re on song.”
So, we can only suppose in their latest slump against New Zealand that they weren’t on song, because it didn’t look like they were on song at all.
Tunelessness seemed to affect all elements of England’s game. Their batsman, although promising, failed to capitalise. Their bowlers, although tight, failed to prevent release. Their fielders, although pisspoor, failed to be any less pisspoor.
New Zealand, held themselves together like the grown ups that they are, and deservedly won on the last ball. Weirdly, even though they weren’t on song, they were a bit on song. Perhaps, if not totally on song, they were a bit singy.
Like Bjork sings a bit, in between her deranged hamster wails.
Predictably, I was disappointed by Collingwood’s rather wankish decision to injure one of the Kiwi runners and then insist on running him out. Being a bit of an old fart, I rather feel that that sort of thing isn’t cricket. But I have a feeling that I’m just not on song today.
La la la burp.
No. No, it’s just not happening. Maybe tomorrow?
Monday, June 23, 2008
First, they refuse to involve themselves in twenty20 cricket. Then some people think twenty20 is a good idea. The BCCI reverses its decision and attempts to cash in on twenty20 and sets about ruining the lives of anyone involved in the original “rebel” league.
The BCCI’s own “legitimate” league is a farcical, purely commercial affair that ignored its effects on any other country.
Following the “amazing success” of the IPL, a Champions League of between domestic champions from across the world is announced. As soon as it is publicised, the BCCI decide to remove the English, because some of their players thought that twenty20 was a good idea before they did.
Then, the BCCI unilaterally announced that the international players playing for their sides would remain in their Indian team, presumably, they will be forced to play against their own home side.
Now, all of this is fine. Where the line must be drawn is when they make you spend your entire day off queuing at the Indian Embassy in London.
These buggers must be stopped.
I reckon we should remove the Indian teams from the Champions League, except for perhaps the ICL sides, which should solve some of our player-overlap problem. Then we naturalise Geoff Boycott as an Indian citizen, and make sure he’s on the telly all the time. That’ll learn ‘em.
That'll learn 'em good.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Sensing weakness, the Kiwis picked a little known Saffer by the name of Bruce Lee. After making a bang at club level, Brucie forced his way into the New Zealand outfit through his undeniably South African qualities.
He scored the only fifty in England’s latest spineless defeat in Bristol, and also returned bowling figures of 2-9.
Requiring only 183 to win, England took pity on the weenie Kiwis. “Oh, they’re only small; let’s give them a few wickets.”
But like the relentlessly biscuit eating aunties in my family, if you give them an inch they’ll take the whole bloody packet. As the overs ticked away, England were rapidly running out of South Africans, and somehow converted certain victory into hilarious defeat.
Interestingly, this is probably one of the few occasions were the qualities of the captain were revealed. The English captain really showed his ginger nuts, by electing to bowl harmless dibbly-dobblers for twenty bland overs to allow the Black Hearts off the hook and let them build a defendable total.
Daniel Vettori, on the other hand, was like Nelson at Trafalgar, like Wellington at Waterloo and like Gordon Brown at the 42-day vote: amongst the chaos and impending doom, his magisterial and prudent figure saved his nation from total and immediate destruction.
Unlike the French President. Not only is he French and married to a woman that only wears socks, but has charged the responsibility of the “death of African children” at the feet of Peter Mandleson – the British Commissioner to the EU. Although this might be right, there’s a way to do these things, Sarko: you have to do it in a picket whilst your followers sing the red flag and smash up Paris.
They just have no idea over there, do they?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Hey hey, we're the moobies.
Lisa's prize, moob connoisseur that she is, is well deserved:Sadly, no one got the Bonus Boob, who was, of course, Graeme Smith.
We were simply inferior people and we accepted that.
Occasionally, we could hope for a plucky, match-saving rear-guard by a brave tail-ender: grinding a draw out of an angry opposition. We took pride in our sportsmanship.
Not in our latest game against the Kiwis. In a shoddy and rather Australian display, England delayed the match’s progress at every opportunity to ensure the eventual abandonment of the rain affecting game.
Paul Collingwood has blamed the game.
“Cricket has nothing to do with sportsmanship or spirit. It’s about gingers leading men into battle. We should probably change the rules. Only red-haired captains allowed.”
In response, the New Zealand captain, Daniel Vettori, said,
“Does my bum look big in this?”
It is uncertain which country feels more shame towards their captain. I’m guessing South Africa.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
In stead of the usual, Name That Bum, I'm introducing a new competetion.
I will show you three different Man Boobs, and you tell me to whom they all belong.
This one is probably impossible, but if you get it, you will be deified.
Can you...NAME THOSE BOOBS?
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Shah unearthed the old MCC rule of “No Ungodly Abominations” rule of 1913, after an experimental nuclear research institute at the Nursery Ground accidentally produced the strains that would later lead to Paul Adams. He got through on a retrospective law defence.
Shad argued strongly against Pietersen’s freakish weirdness. And a cricketing court heard a detailed account of Pietersen’s stroke,
“The batsman dislocated his left armed, removed it entirely and re-attached it to his right ear. This had the effect of turning the entire ground behind the batsmen into the off side. It also put the fielding team off their game, as they had to spend the next three minutes vomiting.
“It also made the pitch slippery.”
The MCC’s greatest legal minds were put to use, but they eventually ruled in favour of Money.
Pietersen later spoke to the assembled press.
“Look at me. I’m fantastic.”
Monday, June 16, 2008
It was like the 21st century equivalent of the Black Hole of Calcutta.
I had to get a visa for my sub-continental holiday. Oh you bastard, India, you couldn’t have made a normally painless procedure much worse today.
First off, I completed their damned forms weeks ago, but for my hellishly busy life, I was unable to submit them.
However, since my obedient pen-pushing, the buggers had changed the system – unbeknownst to me. So I turn up at the Indian High Commission promptly first thing this morning, on my day off.
Eventually, some incomprehensible goon starts bleating at me,
“A blur Vec toria a blur blue” he said, whilst pointing at an obscure piece of paper on the room.
I squinted at it,
“Visa applications have been outsourced. These are now being handled at Victoria. Fuck off.”
Where in Victoria, I had no idea. Fortunately, work was just around the corner, so I actually went into office on my day off. Searching the internet for a bloody map, fielding “I thought you were off today?” remarks.
Only, I would of, if anyone talks to me. Mercifully, this is one torment I do not presently endure.
I go to office at Victoria. Chaos is all about me. It’s like human-marmalade factory. A woman barked at me: “HAVE YOU APPLIED ONLINE?”
“YOU IDIOT, GO AWAY AND TRY AGAIN.”
So back I go to the office, conveniently located on the other side of London. To re-fill those bloody forms. And then get on the same bloody train back again to Victoria.
Now, I have some experience of dealing with third world officials. There are two approaches to take.
Method one: obsequious toadying. Hardened travellers don’t have spines: the customs bureaucrat has a chip on their shoulder the size of Sourav Ganguly’s head, use it against them and flatter your way across the border.
Method two: the British Bluster. A technique used by many colonials throughout time, you bamboozle the official with your feigned air of superiority.
So, in I went, opening with “Now, I say, look here”, when Madame Card Index pointed me towards a ticket. It said 2180. I looked at the board. It said 157. My “methods” nullified in a second. Damn, she was good. Damned good.
The next eight hours were spent losing my sanity, and convincing myself I was a battery farmed chicken. It was a fantastic experience, being sandwiches between man who endlessly informed me of his housing opportunities in Harrow and man who belched vivaciously and joyfully for all he was worth.
£40 and a day off well spent.
Damn your eyes, India!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Although, we don’t have the energy to fit in front of the computer and telly at the same time, so AYALAC sent along one of our correspondents. Here are the first of his reports:
“Morning. Spots of rain already at the street. Should they really play cricket this far North?”
Interesting question, which suggests a more fundamental problem: should anything happen that far North?
“Bell did well. Pietersen is steady; Colly good. Very enjoyable. Beer good.”
But not enough, I fear. But not enough.
“England have the advantage. KP played well for an English Saffer. General consensus is Harmison is a twat and DFID needs restructuring.”
Things are getting political oop Narth. I suggest that insufficient beer is being consumed.
“True. I’ve given up and reading the Observer. I hope to bring is back n the second session. Have they always played music at one days? WTF?”
England managed 307-5 in their 50 overs. Things have gone a bit quiet, so I've asked what's going on...
New Zealand 72-3.
"Not sure. I've just woken up. It seems New Zealand have tried to bore us all to death. The crowd was buzzing, but everyone seems hypotised."
"Mini riot in the barmy army stand. New Zealand grinding out a loss. Hairybottom hair isn't that bad in real life. Gus O'Donnel needs tighter control of the civil service."
England win by 114 runs.
"A pleasant afternoon in the North. England were average, nothing special. New Zealand were rubbish. KP played well. He is suprisingly tall. Crowd and beer were good."
Well, I hope you enjoyed that. It was straight from the horses mouth. Proper journalism, is that.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Their value, which can only be recorded in dollars, came from Donald Trump and his continued attempts to buy cricket.
Moores, the England coach and chief blokie, stated that England’s players were a little rusty when it came to twenty20.
“Frankly, they’re only good at boring cricket. But that doesn’t earn any money, so we’ll have to start taking limited overs seriously.”
The West Indies will fancy their chances of making huge amounts of money in this competition (especially when you facture in PPP – high five to the economists out there!) And, to be quite honest, I think the Windies players need the money more than the likes of KP.
There was a programme on the radio just now. The presenters were discussing the role of the Church of England – possibly the meekest, most mild-mannered religion going. It is polite and is embarrassed and focuses heavily on things like flower arranging and cucumber sandwiches. In short, the perfect religion. An English religion.
Cricket is a lot like that. People shamble about on a village green for a while, and then nip of to the pub. No one really knows why, and are too self-conscious to discuss it, it’s just part of life and people get on with it.
So, I don’t have a fucking massive problem with cricket being a shameless money-seeking enterprise that sucks all that is good out country in what remains of this plastic, atomised world.
Oh, due to some miracle that, once again, makes me question my theological position, I didn’t lose my job today. I survived! Ryan Hairybottom did his bit for me today, he really did. Here’s for six more weeks of gay and paid working life!
Right! I’m off to the pub now, to celebrate employment! Cheerio!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Well done Spigglers for winning. Also, it's worth checking out his fantastic new competition, too. Prize:
I might have a bit more time from here on in. You see, it looks likely that I’ll be jobless as of tomorrow.
Sure, it’ll be like that Greek-Jewish bloke from the Apprentice: please Sir Alan, don’t fire me, please, please don’t. I'm not above begging and demeaning myself for cash.
But it looks like I’m for the chop.
Which is bad, because I’ll have no money; but is also good, because the ghastliness and stress that has been my life for the past few weeks will end.
Heigh ho, do you think the ECB are recruiting? I hope so. I am nice to them.
That’s what I’m talking about.
He has flown in especially from the land of plasticy cheese and watery beer, to make cricket “the bestest sporting event in the outside America.”
Before addressing their lordships this afternoon in the Long Room of Lords, Trump had his teeth painted with uranium and was stitched into his best suit. Although, naturally being an American, he suffered from a national affliction: no matter how moneyed they are, they never look good in suits. Perhaps it’s the healthy complexion?
Trump’s plan to show “you god-damned limies a thing or two amount real entertainment, and I’m not just talking about your Peg before wicket crap, mean end-zone, strike out clean-ups” was greeted with respectful applause.
Trump then produced his large, laminated chequebook, and the polite clapping turned into frenzied ovation.
Giles Clarke later said, “Mr Trump of Foreign Parts, sometimes says confusing things, but he has come here in good faith to implement a programme that I don’t really understand and, in the face of his generous stimulants, who are we to stand in the way of progress!”
The wild party that followed then spilt out onto the Nursery Ground, where several small boys had their bats broken by an ECB director explaining to a Trumpite (Trumpet?) flunky the art of collapsing after a well-built foundation.
The boy was told to, “naff orf.”
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Can you...NAME THAT BUM?
Monday, June 09, 2008
Broad is ‘just the sort of role model we need’, according to an ECB official, echoing my mother’s view that Broad is indeed ‘a man you’d be happy for your daughter to bring home’.
While Broad clearly holds some sort of hypnotic power over womankind, whether he can exert his influence over the present generation of unruly young cricketers remains to be seen. Abuse is now widespread in the modern game, both at professional, amateur and youth level. While instances of abuse or dissent amongst international cricketers are justifiably clamped down upon, in village or youth cricket umpires have little power to punish offenders.
For example, last season my local side was forced to lodge an official complaint against another village team, after the sledging in a rather high-spirited game began to feel more like racial abuse. After a lengthy, bureaucratic and time-consuming process the offenders were eventually punished, but during the game itself the umpires had been powerless to halt the abuse. Admittedly this is anecdotal evidence, but the word on the street is that this sort of thing, despite ‘not really being cricket’, is becoming increasingly common, particularly among younger teams. Clearly umpires need more power to stop such behaviour in its tracks.
The ECB’s solution, The Guardian reports, is that ‘this summer a system of yellow cards is being secretly trialled at three private schools’. (Quite how this trial can be said to be secret, now that its existence has been publicised in a national newspaper, is a question that the article does not get round to addressing.)
Personally, I find the whole yellow card idea quite ridiculous. Just imagine the scenes that could be taking place on a public school playing field near you this summer:
‘Oh I say, how’s that, umpire?’
‘But I jolly well heard a nick.’
‘You may well have done, young Faux-Bowyer. But what matters in this case is that I did not. The decision remains not out, and nothing you can do or say shall induce me to raise my finger.’
‘You absolute rotter!’
‘That, young man, is dissent. You have just earned yourself a yellow card, not to mention a week of detentions.’
All this seems a far cry from the cosy fictional world of everyone’s favourite public schoolboy cricketer, J C T Jennings. (If you’ve never heard of him, then I apologise. You must have suffered a terribly deprived childhood.) I seem to recall Jennings and Darbishire receiving nothing more than a mild ticking off after cutting Latin in order to watch a local game. These days their actions would no doubt earn them both a red card and a three-match suspension.
Now, I know the Jennings stories weren’t actually real, but nevertheless I still believe that there was indeed a time, probably nestled somewhere between the two world wars, when boys knew how to behave, and such things as yellow cards were considered unseemly. Whatever happened to The Spirit of Cricket? I just pray that Stuart Broad can resuscitate it before it is too late.
If standards of behaviour have indeed so degenerated that a system of yellow cards is deemed necessary, then cricket will truly have sunk to a new low. Why, we’ll be little better than footballers! I’m pinning my hopes on baby-faced Broad. That nice young man may well turn out to be a Jennings for our time.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Then our boys, prim with highlights and eye-liner, go out and effortlessly dispatch the demoralised opposition, and we complain that the match was too short.
Sure, England won, we say, but where is the competition? Where are the ups and downs?
Perhaps we like the ups and downs more when they’re not actually happening to us. In my experience, there is nothing worse than an up. Or a down. Especially when it comes to trousers.
This victory wasn’t attractive. Some people say it was. They point out the century and seven-fors and all those pretty things. But those folk think that lieder music sounds nice. And that’s just mental.
The hapless Kiwi batsmen fell feebly this morning. They were playing swing like it was 1965. They were simply far too late. Naïve fools.
Only Jacob Oram attempted resistance, and his runs were due to fortune than fortitude.
Isn’t it marvellous how the English can suck the positivity out of any situation? Let’s say something happy.
Hurrah! Alastair Cook took a catch!
Hurrah! Andrew Strauss was awarded Man of the Series!
Hurrah! Jimmler Anderson didn’t get 10 wickets in the match!
Hurrah! New Zealand are about to prove how rubbish limited over matches are by giving us a pasting in the ODIS!
Hurrah for calculators! Hurrah! Hurrah!
Saturday, June 07, 2008
So! Cricket! All sorts of travails have been produced by this match. During the latest England/New Zealand test match, I have already experienced my full emotional gamut, from A-B.
You see, the only thing worse than the failings of one of your favourites, is the success of one your less favourite players.
The press this morning is going mad about James Anderson. For years and years, this bloke does bugger all. He goes for loads and he keeps Chris Tremlett out of the side for literally months.
Clearly, Anderson is a gimp.
And then, on hopefully his last ever test match, the bugger emerges from incompetence and blows away New Zealand’s finest with an excellent spell of pitched-up, fast and hooping swing bowling.
He took the first six Kiwian wickets. Obviously, Tremmers would have taken seven, but now it’ll be another year before Anderson’s inherent uselessness drives him from the side in favour of the Hampshire monster.
The worst aspect of media coverage this morning is the “ten wicket” stuff. Anderson has to take four more wickets before he takes ten. That’s mathematics. The press, however, have decided to ignore this, and talk up Anderson’s impending elevation in history.
The radio just interviewed Ottis the Aardvark. He said that if the ball behaves amphibiously then Anderson could take the full ten. If the ball does that, I’d be impressed if Anders managed one. In fact, I’m generally astounded is he takes any wicket.
Anyway, it’s back to reality soon. Misery will return one South Africa and their good players get at us.
Back to the misery of commuting for me too. The worst thing I had to worry about last week as remembering to put my trousers on as the room service lady brought my dinner. A surprisingly difficult ask.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Most other places were somewhere in between. Take Austria, for instance, the most in between place in the world.
The statistical superiority of the West Country County was re-asserting itself at the Whitgift School in Croydon (this is another in-between place, but not as in between as Austria as it has an Ikea).
Surrey started well by scoring runs. Then they started to fail as they let Somerset do likewise.
The Somersetians began brightly, with a beefy 40 by Neil Edwards. And then the icing was put on the cocaine when Justin Langer and a slim-lined Ian Blackwell each scored centuries.
Last season, I tipped Edwards for great things. Mainly because he permanently looks like he’s just eaten your kitten, but is going to keep it secret. But also, he’s like a fantasy replacement for Marcus Trescothick: a big, pinch-hitting Cornishman.
But he, more or less, failed me too.
Talking of failure, let’s have a look at Surrey’s second innings. The failure is spread thick as my Uncle Frederica’s homemade marmalade on his homemade stale bread.
At stumps, they’re 172/7, and leading by 52. This deserves a belly laugh. Ho ho ho. They’re doomed. DOOOOMED.
After we have dispatched the weakling Surrey Rahs, the Championship will be ours. OURS!
[I have to be in Kent next week. Boring work stuff, I'm afraid. So I might not be able to update this site. I'll be back, though. Promise.]