Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Civilisation moves in to crack down on Northerners

Once every so often we have to do something unseemly. That may be acknowledging the existence of ugly people, notifying the servants that the toilet in the Shavon room requires cleaning, or in the case of the cricketing authorities, Going To Yorkshire.

Fear not. This isn’t a twisted euphemism for self administered enemas, but rather the regular requirement of willingly entering the domain of the Yorkshireman.

Much like the Victorian frontiers of colonial influence, the tension between culture and sophistication on the one hand and God’s Forgotten County occasionally crackle forth from unwelcome truce.

Societal battles are most obvious when Geoffrey Boycott and Jonathan Agnew share the microphone. The mutual contempt rouses TMS from its default slumbers. Their encounters usually follow the follow pattern:

AG: I am now expressing an opinion.
GB: Eh. Lad, don’t be so daft! That’s madness is that.
AG: Well, it is an interesting thought.
GB: Oh, if I were still playing, I wouldn’t mind a bit of that. I tell you, if you did that, I would be queuing up for it, I would.
AG: Just thought, Geoffrey, something the captain might want to think about.
GB: Thought. From a part time seamer from Leicestershire? A ha ha ha. The captain listen to that? Ha ha ha. To a bloke who got, what is it, three test match wickets. Ah ha ha ha. I would be queuing up for it I would! Stick of rhubarb! Ah ha ha! The good old times! Ah ha ha!
AG: Ahem. It’s all over Geoffrey. It’s finished. The pads are away. Finished for good.
GB: It would be with you bowling, in no time at all! With my mum batting! Ah ha ha!
AG: No. I meant your career.
GB: Oh.
[Awkward silence for about half a second.]
GB: Oh no god! They need to pitch it oop more.

It’s a familiar, if sad little battle. With Boycott seriously pissing off Agnew, not through any maliciousness, because this is the only way that Boycott knows how to communicate with people. Agnew, hurt and embarrassed, aims fight back. Geoffry fails to understand, and continues to complain about everything.

Anyway, the point is, for the up-coming Headingley, security will be on level “police brutality mark nine”. Headingley has a bit of a reputation for boozing and for crowds stepping over the line that only stewards and policemen see.

But, to be quite honest, so does every ground. The Oval is often site to shocking acts of drunken tom-fooling buffoonery, as is Lords. So is everywhere.

What makes Headingley different? It’s Northern. And what does that mean? It’s full of criminals. It’s refreshing to see the ECB emerge from its era of Eton-dominated, reactionary, prejudiced, wankerism.

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