Wednesday 28 January 2009

Objects of Fetish iii: talk dirty to me

Quiz: Which of the following are cricket bats and which are cars?

Turbo, Libro, Mettle, Steelback, Boomslang, Glory, Harlequin, Xiphos, Stealth, Vendetta, Catalyst, Hero, Ignite, Incurza, Ice, Pellara, Venom, Scimitar, Recurve, Predator, Advance.

Yes, well, trick question of course. They're all bats, although it's not beyond the realms of possibility that they are all cars as well. They are a part of the new language of cricket, or rather the new language of selling cricket. Bats - the good ones at least - are made the old way, but they are described and sold in the new way.

The new language has much in common with the language of cars. It's full of machismo, it's designed for men. Someone, somewhere is coming up with words like 'Xiphos' and 'Incurza', some real - Xiphos means sword; some invented - Incurza means nothing, but suggests some kind of heroic invasion. 

Someone, somewhere is writing copy for the brochures and websites, too, copy that describes a  'massive profile',  'mid swell', 'steep spine', 'huge sweet spot', 'extreme edge', 'imposing appearance'. Who wouldn't feel good looking down and seeing that lot in their hands?

It's a con, of course, and a fine one. Batting is about repetition and desire, and anything that involves repetition and desire invites ritual. Bats are fetishistic things, they are invested with emotion, with the dreams of what they can do. Every bat in the world is individual. You can pick up five that weigh the same and each one will feel unique. The same bat will feel different day to day, different depending on your mood. In the best possible way, they are intimate things.

Bat makers have made their language emotive, but when you're choosing one you must resist their words and their stickers. All that matters is how it feels when you hold it in your hands. And now I'm sounding like them.

A new bat is a meaningful purchase. They're not commodities, they are things of beauty, made by artists. They're seductive enough without the new language. 

And check out Jrod's new thing - it started me off. Bats do that.


Anonymous said...

Enjoy your bat fetish posts, a completely alien world to me but others' obsessions are always fun. Reminded me irresistibly, in the choosing of the bat, of the choosing of the wand in Harry Potter (sorry to downgrade your passion!)

Love your list too - perhaps

G Swann Slazenger Jocose

The Old Batsman said...

Cheers Ceci - oh, and how did you know mine was like a wand...?