Category: Extras (page 3 of 36)

Happy birthday to King Cricket

One of our old logos.

One of our old logos.

Our first reader got in touch with us this week – a man who once went by the name of The Scientician. Some of you may remember him from his shocking exposé of Jaffa Cakes as a sports snack.

The Scientician pointed out to us that we’re 10. We don’t mean in the ‘your mental age is 10’ kind of way – although people do say that kind of thing to us as well.

No, he meant that this website is ten. We started it in January 2006 (albeit at a different web address). That’s ten years ago. The site’s so old that people actually arrived at it via Ask Jeeves.

As The Scientician said in a follow-up email, which we’ll reproduce in full.

“Time…”

He’s got a point. On this domain alone, there’s been over 3,000 posts, over 40,000 comments and well over a million deleted spam comments (genuinely). We also knocked out over a thousand posts on the old Blogspot site in little more than a year. Them were the days.

So how did it all begin?

Er, we’re not entirely sure actually.

We’ve a vague notion that we’d sent The Scientician an email, or quite possibly even an actual letter, and that this had led him to utter the immortal words: “You should write.”

We’ve no real memory of what that particular missive was about. We’re pretty sure it included curlews, but beyond that it’s anyone’s guess. The important thing is that he told us to write and we listened to him.

We asked what we should write and where. He told us to start a website because that was what someone semi-famous had done and they’d got a job out of it.

So we started a website and soon enough we got a job and arguably even what passes for a career out of it.

The end.

Except it isn’t, because we’re just going to carry on the same as always.


A Nightwatchman for Christmas?

Send him in. Let him weather the marketing and do all the preparations and cooking. Then you can just swan in on Boxing Day to eat leftovers and get drunk.

No, this is Nightwatchman with an upper-case N. The Wisden cricket quarterly is doing gift packages.

If you don’t know what it’s all about, they’ve helpfully provided a few samples – a Select XI to be precise.

The point is that it’s cricket writing that isn’t so time-sensitive. They’re longer musings on the game and its effect on people. The samples include a piece by Gideon Haigh about cricket writing and a piece about the psyche of the nightwatchman (lower-case N) by Jon Hotten.

There’s also a poignant piece by our friend Sam Collins about making his film Death of a Gentleman while simultaneously trying to cope with the slow death of his mother. We knew that this was the backdrop to the film for Sam, but having read the piece we might now go and watch it again with that in mind. We daresay the whole thing’ll take on a different hue.

Each year’s Nightwatchman is £30, but if you put in the code XMAS15 you can get the 2015 Collection for £25 plus postage and packing.


Cricket books for Boxing Day Test Eve

We know that many of you like to pass the time on Boxing Day Test Eve by giving people presents. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the better cricket-themed books on offer this year.

These are just some of the newer ones. Take a look at the book review section of the site to find older stuff.

Fire in Babylon by Simon Lister

In an unusual inversion of the normal rules governing adaptations, this is the book of the film. Inspired by the documentary of the same name, it focuses on the West Indies during the Seventies and Eighties. The Guardian describe the book as a ‘near definitive’ attempt to describe and understand one of the finest sports teams ever. Buy it for someone young who thinks the Windies have always been crap.

Kevin Pietersen On Cricket

We wonder how much the score-settling previous book will put people off this one. If you’re able to forget about KP: The Autobiography, this one seems much more interesting as a cricket fan. There was an extract in The Guardian which gave a good idea what it’s all about.

It’s about cricket.

We don’t mean in the sense that it’s all ‘then we played Australia and I made 158’. Presumably there’s a bit of that in there, but it’s more about the mechanics and psychology of the sport – you know, the timeless, interesting stuff. That extract about Warne picks apart the bullshit and the bluster, but also sees the value of those things.

Actual analysis is something you don’t often get in a sporting autobiography. This genuinely seems quite promising and reviews have been broadly positive.

Test Cricket: The unauthorised biography by Jarrod Kimber

We’ve not read this yet and in fact only found out it existed the other day. We’re assuming Jarrod wouldn’t have written something rubbish, so definitely worth a look.

Last in the Tin Bath by David Lloyd

Essentially a straightforward sporting autobiography, but with the benefit that the subject has seen cricket from more angles than most. Quirky enough to be genuinely amusing in places as well. Here’s a full review.

You can find more of our cricket book reviews and recommendations here.

If you’ve any recommendations of your own, stick ’em in the comments and we’ll maybe try and add them to the article before the daily email goes out later on.


Last in the Tin Bath – a review of David Lloyd’s autobiography


Back when we reviewed Start the Car: The World According to Bumble, we suggested that rather than majoring on Lloyd’s zaniness, they might have been better off writing a traditional autobiography. Well this is what they’ve done. The result is indeed a better book.

For those that don’t know, before Lloyd was a TV commentator, he was variously county captain, Test cricketer, first-class umpire and England coach, all while maintaining strong links with Accrington CC in the Lancashire league. If you want a rounded perspective on cricket, he is perhaps uniquely qualified.

That’s very much the strength of the book – the various vantage points on the sport. That breadth of experience combined with Lloyd’s many years in cricket means the book transcends most modern autobiographies in having plenty of subject matter to tackle.

We also prefer reading about eras we don’t know so well. It means you’re less likely to find yourself enduring yet another account of a story you already know too well featuring characters who are all-too-familiar. We’d rather learn something new, like that Vanburn Holder was nicknamed ‘Hosepipe’ due to certain physical attributes.

One concern you may well harbour is that rather than trying to sell this book on wackiness, they’re instead trying to sell it on salt-of-the-earthiness. Look! There he is on the cover in a tin bath! He’s from Accrington, you know!

It’s a legitimate fear and while it’s occasionally justified, the relatively straightforward nature of the book means moments like this are rarely gratuitous. When we learn that he was last in the queue for said tin bath, it really is just to give some sense of what his upbringing was like and you then see how that upbringing informs many of his decisions later in life.

If there’s a flaw, it’s in the tone. For the most part, it reads like any other autobiography, but there are occasional flashes of ‘personality’. Ghost writer Richard Gibson had an impossible task here in our opinion. People tend to think that it would be easier to capture the tone of someone like Lloyd who has a very distinctive way of speaking, but it’s the opposite really. Every time there’s a ‘flipping ‘eck’ or a ‘not on your nelly’ it’s not a natural, casual thing. As a reader, you’re aware that someone else has seen fit to write it and that it’s subsequently been passed by an editor. It makes these turns of phrase kind of laboured and awkward.

We enjoyed Start the Car, but it did manage the somewhat unusual feat of leaving us less certain of how much we really liked David Lloyd. This book redresses the balance a bit. Don’t buy Last in the Tin Bath for the zaniness or earthiness, buy it if you’ve a genuine interest in the career of someone who maybe wasn’t the greatest player, but who has been around and seen a lot. It’s a straightforward autobiography really, but in this instance that’s no bad thing.

Last in the Tin Bath: The Autobiography – £8.99 in paperback (Kindle and hardback versions also available)


Death of a Gentleman’s out on DVD

We’ve all bought films on DVD because we feel guilty about going to Croatia instead of attending the premiere, haven’t we?

To be honest, we’d have bought it anyway. It’s a great film. Weirdly lovely, despite the somewhat bleak subject matter. Plus, as an added bonus, owning the DVD allows us to publish screengrabs of Giles Clarke’s face.

Like this:

clarke-1

Or this:

some-people-think-that-im-a-ffff

We know that phrenology was debunked a long, long time ago, but surely a facial version of it stands up to scrutiny. Are you seriously telling us you can’t make an accurate judgement of Clarke’s character purely by looking at his pomplous, cloying, suety face?

king-of-the-twats

Get Death of a Gentleman on DVD. It don’t cost much.


Some sort of meaningless century

We know what you all think. You think we spend our Thursdays sitting around eating flapjacks and watching old episodes of Airwolf.

Well you’re wrong. We don’t renounce cricket on Thursdays. Far from it. We actually put in a double shift, writing all the stuff that comes out on a Friday.

First of all, Cricket Badger. It’s the 100th edition tomorrow, so we’ll gratefully accept your warm applause. We’ll also overlook the fact that cricket demands people clap for everything, devaluing the whole hand percussion appreciation noise immensely. You can and should sign up here. There is nothing to lose but a small amount of whoever provides your email account’s server space. Also time.

Secondly, the Cricinfo Twitter round-up. Yes, that still happens. It happens like heck, whatever that might mean. This week’s should appear in a prominent position on the homepage soon, but you can also find it on our author page. It’ll remain accessible there even when it’s been demoted and replaced by an Ed Smith think piece about why form is a myth.

And now we have to go somewhere and eat things. Possibly drink things too. Who knows? Life is unpredictable.


Cricket needs to embrace independent governance rather than allowing itself to be run like some sort of 19th Century gentlemen’s club

A couple of months ago, jaynefrancis pointed out to us that large parts of our bleak dystopian episodic cricket story about cricket administration had actually come true.

As satire goes, it wasn’t the most subtle. Again and again, short term decisions are taken by caricatured men in suits with godawful long-term consequences. Their shitty choices all seem obvious, but yet they take them anyway. What’s astonishing is that this has actually happened in real life.

In the story – which we really should have given a name – the bigger Test nations ultimately cut the smaller ones adrift. There are echoes of this in what is now generally referred to as “the Big Three’s carve-up of world cricket.”

The story also envisions the euthanasia of Test cricket by a group of men who cannot appreciate that the format provides the foundations for the two other formats. They don’t get that T20 and one-dayers are enriched by the longer game and nor can they comprehend that Tests provide somewhere to go once people have grown weary of more formulaic, artificially-engineered forms of entertainment.

Which brings us to Death of a Gentleman. Doubtless you’ll have heard about the film by now. If you haven’t, take a look at the website. We were supposed to go to the premiere in Sheffield, but ended up popping to Croatia that week instead, so we still haven’t actually seen it. We don’t doubt its credentials though and we’re right behind the #ChangeCricket campaign it has given birth to.

For all that the issues are complex, the #ChangeCricket campaign has one fairly straightforward aim – to get cricket to embrace independent governance rather than allowing itself to be run like some sort of 19th Century gentlemen’s club. The petition itself is a bit wordy, but this is basically what it says. You can sign it here.


Cricket gold amid the everyday silt

All Out Cricket have a regular feature where a writer celebrates an especially glorious summer and all the great memories it brings back. We had to rewrite ours because the first draft was too depressing.

Our Golden Summer was 2000. Obviously it’s not. Obviously it’s 2005. But they can’t have everyone repeating the same bloody summer every month, so for the purposes of this feature, ours was 2000.


Next week on King Cricket

Brace yourselves. We’re taking a week off. Apparently it’s not just fast bowlers who need to recharge from time to time.

As ever, we’ve got stuff lined up for next week: match reports, summat about New Zealand and stuff we’ve done for other people that you may have missed.

Those of you who aren’t reading this particular post, please ensure you leave outraged comments about how we’re not covering some major news story or other (as if we ever actually report on anything).


Geoff Boycott to star in Triffids remake

Here’s a moment from the final scene when Geoff finds himself surrounded by a gang of maize.

Boycott in the maize

Okay, we’ll admit that’s a lie. Boycott’s Triffids film is being kept closely under wraps and they would never give away crucial plot information like this.

The photo is actually from a press release we received last July about York maze. We’ve only just got round to reporting on it because, well, you know, that’s just how we do things round here.

Obviously you’ve missed it now, but it seems that in 2014 they made a big old Geoff face maize maze.

Here it is.

Boycott aerial

And here’s a picture of Geoff with his two best friends shortly after tackling the maze. These are genuinely his best friends and it’s entirely coincidence that they both happen to be maize.

Geoff Boycott with Sweetie and Kernel

Join us tomorrow for something.


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