Sunday, 14 August 2011

irony is spread thick on british toast this morning

England beat India yesterday and are officially the best cricket team in the world. Cricinfo marks the occasion with a magnificent piece of pseudery:

Irony. One of the most underrated pleasures. Best savoured slowly and with none of the joy and exhilaration that comes with winning or triumphalism. It's almost bitter-sweet in flavour because it brings with it no great sense of personal achievement or patriotic fervour; just a wry smile and a shake of the head.

Ah yes. The English team this morning aren't exhilarated, and nor are their fans.

Irony is spread thick on British toast this Sunday morning.

Oh brother. Then there is some guff about the riots. Then...

On one hand we have a staid, traditional, somewhat old-fashioned country (in the nicest possible way I might add)...

That is the nicest possible way. I've checked on Google.

...showing off an ugly modern face that looked so incongruous among the iconic tourist sights of London.

[But] There is nothing old-fashioned or traditional about this England team, even down to the Irishman in the middle order and the various other players whose heritage can be traced back to the four corners of the globe but who are now as proudly British as you like. No sense of disenfranchised youths among this lot! And all of this in an old British city (Birmingham) that is now as famous for its Indian balti restaurants as anything else. Ironic indeed.

Indeed. Then it explains how India prefers one-day cricket, which is ironic in some way. Then talks about Alastair Cook...

Cook is the quintessential British stereotype in that respect - understated, efficient and classy without feeling the need to convince anyone else. He is unlikely to be the poster boy for junior cricketers in England but for all that anonymity, he might just be the dinosaur that Test cricket, and English cricket, needs to keep the embers burning.

I actually run an agency that hires out dinosaurs to people who need their embers kept burning at bbqs and similar, or even the embers of long-forgotten love affairs.

Some more cricket stuff follows, and then...

Not to be particularly jingoistic - I don't really care who sits on the throne -

Where did this come from?!

but after watching Britain's youth laying waste to a proud country...

Hang on. I mean, they were bad, but I think a lot of cities would swap, even after the wasting. And I think some small pockets of the country escaped the trouble entirely.

...that I so dearly love from my many years of playing cricket and my days as a student at Oxford,

Oh brother.

I can only hope that Strauss and his men realise that cricket needs them to rule with a velvet glove not an iron fist.

What? Seriously? He's going here?

We've seen what can happen when young people feel disenfranchised and ignored by the powerbrokers - regardless of whether we agree with their gripes or not (and frankly, I don't!);

Well, I suppose it's good that you don't, but to repeat, you're going here? You're saying there's some equivalence between being the number one test nation and being an Imperial power, and that exercising that power has consequences for the governed? (The English cricket team, to remove confusion, don't govern anything.)

cricket too, even Indian cricket, can learn something from that. Rule with grace, mind your manners, innovate with imagination but never forget that the roots of the game still lie in slow-growing soil.

Ah, whither the flights of merry starlings I once gazed upon in my gilded Oxonian youth as I splattered out half-baked essays full of specious analogies.

The Tendulkars of the world can grace any stage but his pedigree was born of traditional parenting.

Spare the rod and spoil the child.

Watching a slowly unfolding Border/Dravid/Yousuf/Kallis/Warne masterclass in Test cricket is a pleasure that should not just be for the video archives - there's room in cricket for all types of kingdoms.

Including the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom, the fungus kingdom and the three (three!!!) different seaweed kingdoms / In my father's house are many mansions*

* Delete according to taste

The King is dead. Long live the King. That's irony.

Not really.


jondrytay said...


simon said...

I don't suppose there's any chance of employing you as a filter for everything I ever experience is there? (You'd have to put up with a lot of comics, but they're pretty harmless.)

captcha: dooto

Michelle said...

This is brilliant. I always wish I could share your stuff with a wider audience but, sadly, I don't have very many followers. Just brilliant anyway.