Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A review of 2008

Right. As my friends illegally break into the random abandoned house marked for demolition in order to have a “cool” venue for New Yearly celebrations, I shall mark the coming of a new period of depressing pish by assessing last year’s disheartening memories.

This task would be aided if I could remember beyond last night, but I shall do my best. In fact, I think my earliest memory is breaking that nice glass in a bar last week.

January started with the usual numbing miseries. The two mega-sides of international cricket, Australia and India, were deciding that there was, actually, only one mega-side. We also worked out that not only Australian players are complete twats.

January also saw a brief feature where I related the performances of certain test teams to the dead animals that I found on the street. As well as the start of the viddy-blog.

In February, things become a little lewd,if philosophical.

March saw the coming of the Great Bum. And the dawning of Age of China.

April, AYALAC got close with Wisden, and even expressed some opinions on its totally sane list of Top Five Cricketers. Let us not forget that some cricket happened too, the incredibly exciting IPL started in April.

In May, the IPL reached new levels of joy known only to a select few of herion wombles. AYALAC also celebrated the great romances playing behind the blog scenes. I was surprisingly accurate with some. My mum also did some reporting for me in Antigua.

June saw the arrival of Alan Twatford, and AYALAC always backed this iniative and felt a bit annoyed that it didn't bleat about it endlessly thus missing out on some serious "I told you sos" come the actual tournament. The summer mouth also witnessed an experimental combination of cricket and horror. And, to my personal horror, I was actually spotted by a fan, on the street...

England continued in their usual style in July. But, I tried not to pay attention, as I was in India, at the time. Plus, much to the delight of all, Robocop started to play for England.

August saw more Wisden action. August had it all, trains, cricket reporting and firings.

The second coming came again in September, as Captain Fantastic showed the way with his magic man milk.

Things got a little creative, too - perhaps a bit too much? And AYALAC was sent to Berlin.

More complaing about Ausies in October. I found out how to enjoy the Twatford League.

November saw some bitterness towards the media, and hilarity and critical changes in the rules of the game.

December, brought lots of chocolates and Gluhwein, as well as more irritation at cricket journalists. The journalists responded by cutting off my access to cricket.

Right, so that's my year. I'm going to head off now. Hopefully, the Germans won't kill me tonight. Judging by the noise out there, I think they're using more gunpower than the Red Army needed to take Berlin.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Australia needs a new scapegoat

As any England fan will tell you, a loss can be attributed to one, or several if they’re feeling particularly brutal, players. Ablate these tumorous influences, and the team’s balance restores to perfection.

Until the next match.

Australia, once again, are on the wrong side of a series rolling-pin attack. (Although, interestingly, the Baggy Green’s decline started at the same time as the Credit Crunch. A bit too much of a coincidence, methinks.)

So, instead of addressing the problems like a rational agent of reason, the Australians now look upon their side’s line-up with the frenzied revisionism known only to deranged lumberjacks.

Matthew Haydon is top of the axe-wielders' list. Mainly because he’s a complete git (I use “complete” deliberately here – he’s a god-bothering, squeaky-clean moron. Every element of his personality offends.)

Somehow Simon Katich and Michael Clarke are still in the Australian team, despite the dawning of the Age of Aquarious. Obviously, they’re useless; but as they’re Australian, that doesn’t seem to effect their performance as much as human beings.

The problem, actually, is the bowling. Specifically Brett Lee. Not his gammy foot, but his general over-rated abilities. He’s pants.

I can hear the shrieks already, like the shrill OMGs shouted out in St. Rodger’s Catholic School for Girls, as the Headmistress finally blocks access to facebook.

As a strike bowler, the leader of the attack, the spear-point’s edge, the rolling-pins round bit, he’s a bit rubbish really. Sure, his record is superior to that of Andy Caddick, but I ask you, in all honesty, does he have the ears for the job?

The rest of the Australian attack, Mr Monkey-Wrench and Mr Spanner, are similarly useless. These tools don’t have the guile or the round-bit to make even the opposition’s number ten go “crickey, I’d rather not face him in a dark alley”

In stead, the tail-enders are thinking, “I hope I meet him in a dark alley, so I take his sweets and maybe force some hair-care secrets out of him.”

In any case, the Australians have found their scapegoat. Once identified, they didn’t mess about, they got down to business and attacked his feet with hammers. Now Lee is removed, the ACB can begin building a new era of Aussie bowling.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Articles about Monty lack variety

When Luton’s Champion, Monty Panesar, burst onto the international cricket scene, commentators praised the young genius as the saviour of English spinning.

“No more boring, defensive Ashly Giles to “hold up an end”, now we have a proper aggressive bowler.”

There was much rejoicing. Everyone prefers an offensive spinner. Just look at Shane Warne.

Then, nothing changed.

This, for the writers, was sin. Pieces began to suggest that Monty was boring. That he lacked personality. Some insinuated that he was just a dull git that the rest of the team hated.

The journalists looked at their construct of Monty – the people’s lovable hero, capable of winning any match armed with only a reasonably aged ball and a pearl of close fielders – and then they compared this to the reality.

The reality of Monty is just this sort of bloke, you know. In the media world, “normal” means “mind-numbingly, suicidally, OMG BORING!!!1!”

Monty was nothing like his media image. The journalists had sweated greatly in pubs during their conspiracy to “make cricket more interesting” and this effort was unravelled by the Real World.

And they hated him for it.

“Damn you Panesar”, they said

Starting with the removal of his charismatic name, the hacks began to denude Monty of his charm. This allows them to attack the hell out of him without looking like total bastards.

“A bloke called Monty should be more interesting. Dear reader, I demand that you completely change you mind about him. He has not lived up to the potential that his name suggests. You must loathe him now. Do it! Do it because I say!”

Now, the journalists have decided, en masse and without exception, that Monty “lacks variety” this means that he bowls at the same pace. All of a sudden, the world of cricket is gripped by the spinners pace. “Too fast” is the gospel truth of Monty’s bowling speed.

The only variable that affects a spinner’s ability to take a wicket is pace. Fizz, dip, bounce, strategy, or, god forbid, spin are now irrelevant factors in a spin bowlers armoury. If you bowl at 55 mph you go 27 overs without a wicket, if you bowl at 50 mph you will take nine wickets whilst conceding only seven runs.

This seems easy. But, leading on to our next point, they tell us that Monty “lacks guile”. This means that he’s a thicko. Every ball, apparently, is the same as the last. Duh.

Of course, this is the standard’s English spinner’s tactic: bore them out. It worked for Giles and the Great E’s, but, for some reason, when Monty deploys this time-worn approach, we decide that he’s a complete bastard.

So now, the press has decided, en masse and without exception that Monty is boring, predictable and stupid.

With a discipline as subtle and diverse as spin bowling, you think that opinion would vary regarding current exponents. Perhaps they’d be some alternative suggestions: Monty is bowling too slow, for instance?

But no. Everyone knows exactly what the problem is. The journalists know all. Shame they are shit at cricket, really.

(“…but hell, it ain't over till the slim man zings.” Ahem.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh my deary god

Admit it. The only thing you were looking forward to was gloating over Aussies. That’s all you wanted, some small, pathetic slice of Schadenfreude.

You were going to laugh and laugh, and tell the Aussies what feeble worms they were, and that England was the mighty Crow which was going to devour them up come next Ashes.

But all we can do is crow now. Remember, England are a lame, useless, indecisive, unconvincing, dull, predictable, mediocre, ordinary, borderline incompetent bunch of disabled earth grubs who are incapable of rolling down a hill.

England is a small country. But somehow, there is so much to be angry about.

Of course, this is a total disaster, akin to Black Monday, the Battle of Balaklava and the birth of Russell Brand.

The problem England have, at the moment, is that their opponents are better than them. Looking at India’s line up, if you roll them over in the first innings, the law of averages dictate that they’re going to compensate with a legendary effort in the second.

And that they did. Fourth highest run-chase in Asian history, and with six wickets to spare. That old geriatric whose eyes have gone, Old Farther Sachin, fluked a century.

It is important to remind yourself how good this was. Not only were records broken in the fourth innings, but on the last day of a wearing pitch that had shown as much consistency as the German Ministry of Finance.

The bowling of Andrew Flintoff and Monty Panesar is class. And, with England’s new super-weapon, Greame Swanpy, the Indians looked doomed.

But this mega-line-up of nearly, but not quite, dead one-man myths breezed through England’s cream as if it were spread across a thick layer of easy jam upon the Scone of Effortlessness.

Although, that’s not to take anything away from England.

They’re still nothing to me. How can so much anger, by so many, owed to so few?

On happier times, I walked out of my Berlin apartment on Saturday. This is what I saw:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wronged Radio

Right. First things first. Who turned the cricket off?

Us Englanders in Germany used to follow live cricket over the radio. TMS, it seemed, was available to the entire world.

This was the case yesterday, when I woke up and, as is my want, listened to cricket in bed whilst breakfasting of muesli. A German AND English experience. The cultures are compatible.

Today, these simple pleasures in life, that all of us enjoy, were taken from me as cruelly an abruptly as a Bolivian grabs a child’s hamster to prepare in their dastardly Rodent Gravy.

Instead, I had to listen to BBC “We Don’t Do Adverts, We Only Constantly Spam The Airwaves With Trailers To Programmes You’ll All Probably Hate Anyway” rubbish.


So, now I’m at work, and, consequently, in my usual angry mood (the Finance Department is being a right pain – but you know how finance people are, right?) following the OBO coverage, but without the usual colour and romance that TMS adds to my mornings.

Oh bastards in the BBC. If you were here, I’d give you a right going over with this pile of invoices and reimbursements claims, I would. Then, and only then, would you realise the wrong you have done.

Next item on the agenda: Graeme Swann, another player who hails from Burkina Faso or wherever, shoved in an England kit, given a few “patriotic” tattoos and thrown into the team. Why oh why, I have no idea. He is not one of my favourites. He, along with KP, Pratty Prior forms England’s Axis of Evil.

I mean, we know all foreigners are terrorists, so why are we letting them in the England side? To ease surveillance?

Anyway, just to cap off my bad mood, he’s only gone and bloody fluked two wickets in his first over of test cricket. Not only does this mean that he’s probably pushed Monty out of the spinner slot for about a year, but apparently, no other decent cricketer has ever done this before.

Why don’t the amazing blokes do amazing things, whereas the dreary, rubbishy geezers breeze through test cricket without a hitch. This explains a lot about the powers of Finance.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bring Warney home

There’s another hilarious unlikely musical out at the moment. It’s about Shane Warne. How unlikely is that? Hilarious! Ironic musicals. What will they think of next? Deary me.

In any case, there was a report on the BBC this morning about a new musical launching in Melbourne today. The actor, writer and Warneo look-a-like, said he spent three years gathering material.

He didn’t want to make any “cheap shots”. He needed strong, original material that stood on its own; not petty, easy passé jokes at Warne’s expense.

The first song I heard was an aghast chorus proclaiming their shock at the site of Warne jogging.

In any case, as we all know, the Blond Bamboozler is first and foremost a committed German. Germany, and German, culture is very dear to him, especially the food and beer.

So, in honour these profoundly felt roots, I, of AYALAC, call for the musical to be brought before the people of Berlin, so that they, too, might partake in his glory. The glory of the greater German people, still lives on, deep within the gut of one of their most loyal children.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Moores steps bravely into action by lowering expectations

Peter Moores, chief England goon, has stated that England’s preparation to the will-they-won’t-they test series against India has been “less than ideal”.

This is the sort of British understatement that I’m missing in the Land of Chocolate. But, it’s also the sort of ridiculous, parochial drivel that happily assails me no more.

Contrary to England, the Indian team have had a marvellous build-up to the series. Oh wait, we can’t think about people other than ourselves. They don’t have feelings. They’re just cricket-playing machines. Sometimes they go to the toilet. Although, no them has actually publically announced this as fact.

Well, not everyone is an Australian, you know.

Although, you have to commend his “Us/The Foreign” mentality. Tidily bisecting the world into nice, if ineffective Englishman, and dangerous, unpredictable if good at making curries, Foreigners. Or, as they say here, Auslanderen.

(See? I’m learning. I am beginning to understand how people abuse me in bars.)

England are going to lose these series. They’ll play it. Because they’re muppets. (Peer pressure is helping, here, too.) But they’ll lose it, for sure. It’s not because they haven’t prepared well, but because they’re an incompetent horde of melons.

Which has been England’s problem for some years now.

Even their management is struggling to find their line. The team’s security will be fine. Of course, the England team are going to be guarded like a chocolate biscuit in a secretary pool. They still shouldn’t go, mind.

But, they’ve decided to let the individuals, with no expertise or perspective on the matter, to access their own security on the matter. This is a sensible move. We all know how good laypeople are at evaluating their own personal safety.

Why is everything so deeply, deeply awful?