Commercial Break


Although you are ...

A little late to apply, unfortunately.  This appeared in an issue of Playfair Cricket Monthly from 1968 and any “able young men” who applied for one of these jobs will long ago have sailed into the peaceful waters of retirement.  Apart from the fact that such an advert would be illegal on at least a couple of grounds today, it is striking that there is no mention of anything as tiresome as qualifications, “team-working”, “dynamism”, let alone that sine qua non of the modern employee “a passionate commitment to customer service”.  (It doesn’t look as though a grasp of conventional punctuation mattered too much either.)

The implied message seems to be “Bit of a bore, between ourselves, Old Boy, but nothing too arduous and you can slope off at four, so you should be at Lord’s in time to catch the final session most days.”  I rather admire the frank admission that no-one in his right mind would work for a living if he could spend his days at the cricket instead, but we must, of course, be grateful that this lackadaisical and amateurish attitude has been flushed out of our financial services industries by the Forces of Change.  Otherwise where would the country’s economy be?


5 thoughts on “Commercial Break

  1. A couple of simple sentences* which sum up the eternal dilemma of my life.

    This is why Twitter is full of people much younger than us who are hoping to be able to make their living by watching cricket, like Mike Selvey, John Etheridge, Derek Pringle or Jonathan Agnew. Most, of course, will be disappointed.

    * Even though the first one isn’t a sentence, giving the lie to any notion that badly worded adverts are a recent development.

    • Raises any number of questions, that. I suppose it’s good that there are still young people who’d like to make a living watching cricket, though I agree that the prospects of being able to do so get slimmer by the day (one of the paradoxes of social media – much easier to get “published” than paid).

      Another is whether I’d enjoy watching cricket as much if it was my living. I don’t mean being able to write 1,000 finely considered words a week on a subject of my choosing, I mean an old-style hack who had to get 800 written in time for the next day’s paper and nothing too fancy required.

      I think I would, but plenty tired of it. Robertson-Glasgow packed it in early and Cardus’ later match reports tend to the satirical rather than the lyrical. And then there are those who seem to have fallen out of love with the game entirely – D. Pringle springs to mind.

  2. In our twitter age, the second sentence would have been auto-corrected to “’re living.”

    Was the Playfair cricket monthly a compilation of scorecards; or was that the quarterly?

    • The Monthly was a competitor to “The Cricketer” that ran through the ’60s and the early ’70s. It concentrated more on the 1st class game than The C. and always had an article by Cardus in it. For some reason, I remember it better than The C. (perhaps my Dad used to take it?).

      Think the Quarterly was purely scorecards and stats (and was maybe edited by Roy Webber, one of the original stats gurus?).

  3. Is Chris thinking of ‘The Cricketer Quarterly Facts and Figures’, which ran from 1973 to 2004? It was a favourite publication of mine and I have every single copy upstairs.

    It was first edited by Gordon Ross, and later, after his death, by Richard Lockwood, a young statistician from Birmingham who later went on to work for Sky.

    I used to love things like the tables of career records and obscure scorecards from competitions like the Jones Cup in Guyana (usually contested between Berbice and Demerara, although one year Essequibo got to the final). It also always had a really good colour photo on the cover, usually a ground panorama by Patrick Eagar or Adrian Murrell.

    Maybe there’s a cure for all this, but I haven’t found it yet.

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