Thursday, 8 April 2010

Wright on

Frank Keating, now apparently consigned by the Guardian to affably brilliant down- memory-lane pieces, produced a classic of the type this week, a lovely meandering thing about playwrights in love with the game

He mentions Beckett, of course, who managed to cram in a few first class games before knocking off Waiting For Godot and a Nobel prize, Pinter, naturally, and Peter Gibbs, a former opening bat for Derbyshire who put down his bat and picked up his pen after playing a perfect force through midwicket off the back foot from Lance Gibbs, admitting that 'the moment taunted, tormented me. I knew I'd probably never capture such a supreme sensation again, never again play a shot such as that - while someone like Barry Richards was strolling out and doing it without a thought every day of the week'.

Ah, the great and legendary Bad Baz. Of course he was. The clue is probably in the 'without thinking about it', but then Barry couldn't write about it like Peter did. Keating concludes with Dennis Potter's claim that his great grandfather twice bowled WG for a duck at the Coleford fete. This is another boast common amongst writers - Conan-Doyle always said he'd dismissed the Leviathan, too.

There are a couple of books I've been meaning to blog on as well, because they've been a pleasure. The first is Jarrod 'J-Rod' Kimber's When Freddie Became Jesus. It hardly needs saying that blogging and writing at length are different things, but CWB fans can go happily with him [actually they already have, probably - this review, such as it is, is on the late side]. The best thing is the sharpness of his observation, for example: 'opening batsmen don't get a nightwatchman, so why should anyone else in the order. [Stuart] Broad is way worse. He isn't even a batsman; at best he's a fast-bowling all-rounder. They are supposed to be tough, not afraid of taking their team to stumps. It's more proof that Broad thinks like a batsman'. That is better than anything that came from some of the comfy old lags in the commentary box.

The other is Clem Seecharan's From Ranji To Rohan. Clem is a professor of Caribbean History from Guyana, and this is the game as social history; it's about the meaning of cricket for national identity. You just won't get a view like this anywhere else. I kind of felt brainier just reading it [that soon faded]. 

1 comment:

Brit said...

Fantastic piece by Keating - virtually every line is bloggable.