The influence of anxiety

Many years ago, in a land far, far away (Nottingham), a young man sat with a guitar on his lap, his hands poised to play a new (and fiendishly difficult) composition. Luckily he was exceptionally able. When the red light screamed ‘recording’, however, his hands failed him. Time and time again he tried, but he simply couldn’t play it. Several bottles of beer later, and with the lights switched off, he flew through it perfectly. He just needed to realign his head. Continue reading

One for sorrow

There are occasions that bring the keenness of the razor’s edge of luck we all ride into sharp relief, never more so than when an untimely death is sprayed across a beautiful day in spring, that season which stands for everything antithetical to a sudden, brutal end. As I drove to my first game of the season, top down, sun shining, nothing but good things to look forward to, my day took on a manichaean hue. Continue reading

Small beer

As Oscar Wilde never said, if there’s one thing that is almost as good as playing cricket, it’s talking about playing cricket. Indeed, it could be argued that we play better in our narratives than in the game itself. This, of course, would be a wild and unjustified accusation. It is true, however, that one of the great joys of cricket is the post-mortem, carried out, according to tradition, in a nearby hostelry or at the clubhouse. Continue reading

The Duckworth Lewis Method

St George’s in Kemp Town is a funny venue – the toilets are not only outside, but down in the basement – especially for a blasphemous Irishman, but the sound isn’t as bad as it could have been, the sightlines reasonable.

The support was, er … well, let’s just say when he crossed the stage after he was done I was glad he was only going to get his drink, and not play another song.

Then, with the opening bars of Soul Limbo, it began. Continue reading

Balance

Parkinson’s is a strange condition, in some ways it’s best described as a ‘but more so’ disease. It’s like getting older, earlier, but more so. It’s like being stiff after vigorous exercise, but more so. It’s like being drunk, but more so … it’s like being alive, but more so. Don’t worry, I’m not about to take the path of ‘it’s the best thing that ever happened to me’ least resistance, as if praising it could make it better. It’s shit. Utter shit. But I can, and will, suggest that it amplifies life in certain strange ways, and the way in which it goes about its business can be instructive. It does micro/macro exceptionally well, because with Parkinson’s, little things can have wide-ranging consequences. Continue reading

One for the scorebook

The scorebook is something of a sacred object in cricket, a fetish, even. It records without prejudice the bare facts of an innings, its degree of accuracy dependant entirely on the skill and attention to detail of the scorer who wields the pencil. Many club scorers are women, imitating early modern publishers’ wives such as Sarah Griffin who kept the order books spic and span while their less literate husbands got on with the messy grunt of moveable type. Continue reading