Radio 2 and cricket

Heard a new song from Duke Special on Radio 2 this morning, as I was wending my way westwards towards the coast and another visit to Northern Ireland. The Admin Supremo expects me to derail the peace process while I’m there, having been thwarted by hitherto unknown goodwill and peaceful intentions on my previous visit, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I started receiving emails advertising Duke Special’s forthcoming gigs some years ago. Didn’t come across as spam, but had no idea who Duke Special was/were, and so I binned the emails and requested my name be taken off the mailing list. Which it was, so it can’t have been spam. Now, having heard the song on the radio, it sounds uncommonly like Peter Wilson, who I emailed via Friends Reunited some time ago after spotting his name in the inlay notes of a CD I was listening to. Which maybe explains how I ended up on his mailing list. Peter Wilson used to go to my school, Down High, which is why I was interested in the first place. So Mr Wilson joins Ash in the select group of people who have left my school and had a song played on the radio. Although, strictly speaking, I think Ash achieved that feat before leaving school, the upstarts. Perhaps Broon, another DHS ex-pupil, may yet make it a hat-trick. It would be a shame if her skills on the slide trombone were not exposed to a wider audience than just Bellevue Chapel.

Potentially even more exciting (I know, I know) is that I heard Jo Mango on Radio 2 last night. Apparently Stuart Maconie had highlighted a song of hers earlier in the week, and we heard another snippet of it last night. I heard her perform the same song live, in a barn somewhere between Perth and Dundee, a year or two ago. In fact, you could say I actually played on the same bill as Jo Mango, although it would be stretching the truth a little.

But enough of my brushes with A-list celebrities for the time being. Back to cricket. Two weeks ago, I noted with some relief that the Australian government had decided to bite the bullet and ban their cricketers from touring Zimbabwe, which they were due to do this year.

A note of explanation. The ICC, who mismanage cricket on a global scale, have a Future Tours programme, which all Test and ODI-playing countries are obliged to subscribe to. This commits them to playing against all the other major cricketing countries home and away within 6 years. Failure to fulfil this obligation would incur a heavy fine for the guilty cricket board, possibly along with a ban, which would bring even heavier financial losses. Accordingly, countries that have been contemplating a refusal to play in Zimbabwe on account of Robert Mugabe’s regime, e.g. England, have decided to tour anyway because they can’t afford to be banned from world cricket. The ICC have copped some flak for their stance, it being widely believed in some parts of the cricket world that they (the ICC) should suspend Zimbabwe from playing international cricket until the situation in the country improves. The ICC refuse to do this, claiming that they don’t get involved in politics, only cricket. The only way a country’s cricket board can legitimately not tour without incurring a fine is if the government actually BANS the cricket team from going.

Cue the Aussie government’s announcement. Compare this with the British government’s approach: when England were faced with the same quandary a few years ago, the government refused to have anything to do with it, saying it was a matter for the cricketers. The ECB, conscious of the financial implications, hummed and hawed for a bit, then prevaricated, chewed things over and weighed them up, before finally giving in and going ahead with the tour. Money is money, after all.

“I don’t think it’s fair to leave a foreign policy decision of this magnitude on the shoulders of young sportsmen,” the Australian PM John Howard was quoted as saying. “It’s much better, in the end, for the government to take the rap.” Must be good to live in a country where the politicians talk in straight lines. Unlike the UK, which moreover sanctimoniously outlaws Australia’s tourism advertising slogan “So where the bloody hell are you?” but has no issue with French Connection’s grubby marketing. One wonders idly if Australia taking money out of the UK economy, and French Connection putting it in, might have anything to do with it.

A prime minister that says it like it is, and loves cricket too. Now there’s a thing. Midway through his re-election campaign in 2004, Howard was asked how things were progressing. “It’s like having built a very solid Hayden-Langer partnership,” he replied. “We’ve made a good start.”

Brilliant. Perhaps Gordon Brown will someday describe a stinging reply in the House as a “Pietersen slap through midwicket.” Or a wide-of-the-mark question as a “Harmison”…

Well, it’s about time for me to return to the P&O Express car deck and drive off into the homeland. The smell of a ferry’s car deck evokes so many memories of childhood holidays to Scotland and beyond (England, occasionally). Not so much a whiff of nostalgia, as an intense petrol vapour-fuelled sensory experience. The whiff of nostalgia has come instead from an unexpected source. A girl has just started playing a recorder in the passenger lounge. A RECORDER. Three notes in, I am reminded of what an irritating noise they make. Don’t think she’s in line for a record deal.

Unless, of course, she goes to my old school…

12 thoughts on “Radio 2 and cricket”

  1. Painful memories of the early learning days of the violin which sounded like saucepans being scraped. Is the sound of a recorder worse?

  2. I was watching The West Wing (now my new favourite TV program) and the President came up with this line regarding cricket, which I could relate to:

    “Now, I am an educated man, Charlie, but when someone tries to explain cricket to me, all I want to do is hit him in the head with a teapot.”

    Anyway, I immediately thought of you.

  3. Dad. Shush. You’re destroying my musical credibility.

    Alyn, if the American President is an educated man then I’m a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

  4. Ok, I think I’ll just take one thing at a time here. Firstly, regarding your main post,I reckon the next Old Dunumian to have a record deal might well be yourself, having heard your efforts as part of a recorder trio 🙂

    As for the lovely new profile you have kindly created, I could refuse to take the bait. Not much fun in that though. I shall, however, be careful not to get too carried away, lest anyone would suspect that I am enjoying myself. As a traditional Presbyterian-type from JUST OUTSIDE ARDGLASS, I’m just not that way inclined…

    (dude in his late 30s, what’s wrong with Radio 2?)

  5. Andrew, as you know Alyn was referring to a fictional president but I’m going to pick you up on your flippant reply anyway.
    The current US president has an MBA, and from Harvard no less. The first US president ever to have a degree in Business and I think I am right in saying the first to obtain a degree from an ivy league university.
    I think that qualifies him as an educated man 😉

  6. Alyn, “hit him in the head with a teapot” – that made me laugh out loud! I think I might try and get that into a lesson tomorrow. The kids would like it!

  7. ‘Callously failing to administer physiotherapy to critically injured team members.’ Andrew, I think it’s time to clarify what constitutes a critical injury. Keeping it simple, although it was tragic (and clearly upsetting for you), broken fingernails just don’t meet the criteria…

    One more thing to be wary of Mr Quinn. As a fellow Old Dumunian, I am in possession of some very special school magazines, and I’m not afraid to use them 😉

  8. I stand corrected. After a hard morning’s work it can be hard to coordinate the brain and the fingers. Floreat Dunum

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