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?


The Disagreeable World of John Lydon

I’ve been catching up on my reading, and happened to be browsing through the Silver Jubilee special edition of Punch

(- ah, those eminently civilised and agreeable humourists of yesteryear – Basil Boothroyd! Sheridan Morley! Christopher Booker! – not to mention my dear old chum and quaffing partner Wallace Arnold) when I came across this –

Now, to my rheumy old eyes, this looked very much like an advertisement for that innovative recording Metal Box by Public Image Limited and, indeed, the (dread word!) logo does look very similar.

But how can this be?” – quoth I – “surely the Sex Pistols were still in full flower in Jubilee Year, and have I not just – a few pages earlier – been reading some good-natured chaff on that very subject by dear old Kenneth Robinson?”.  Closer inspection (with my reading glasses on) revealed that it was an advertisement for Metal Box Limited, the well-known manufacturers of … metal boxes.

Now there is nothing wrong with a little creative reappropriation, or as our chums sur le continong say détournement* (though who would have guessed that the young Lydon was a subscriber to Punch?)

But imagine my surprise when – coming a little more up-to-date – I read this in the latest edition of Mojo magazine –

The duo [i.e. Wobble and Levene] booked four early February dates … billed as “Metal Box in Dub” to air instrumental improv takes on PIL’s classic album from 1979.  Wobble, however, contacted MOJO to say that … he received a letter from John Lydon’s lawyers threatening legal action, and that … Lydon sought to copyright “Metal Box” in his name alone …” 

A fine kettle of worms, methinks.

(*A détournement is a technique developed in the 1950s by the Letterist International and consist in “turning expressions of the capitalist system against itself.” as Wikipedia puts it).

Polite, Refined, Beautiful

More from Trent Bridge.

Polite, Refined, Beautiful.

That’s cricket.  It’s also your wedding at Trent Bridge.

To make your wedding even more polite, refined and beautiful, I understand that – for a small extra charge – onetime Notts opener Brian Bolus is available to act as the Master of Ceremonies.

Looking Forward to 20/20 : Aloha from Grace Road

I resisted the temptation to entitle this post “But a tawdry cheapness shall outlast our days“.  Apart from the fact that it would be howlingly pretentious – even by my standards – I am only too aware that the kind of cricket I prefer would have a hard time surviving without subsidy from Test and 20/20 cricket, and I’d be delighted if this year’s campaign were to bring in a bumper crop of loot for the counties.                    

I thought I’d have a look at how Leicestershire and Northants have gone about the business of attracting new custom.  Northants have opted for this –

Chaminda Vaas, Andrew Hall and Jack Brooks prepare to, I suppose, terminate the Derbyshire Phantoms, with many thousands of CGI Northamptonshire members swarming in the background.  The inspiration here  is Northamptonshire’s one-day disguise as the Steelbacks, the  name deriving  from a nickname of an early version of the Northamptonshire Regiment, who were known “for their ability to show complete contempt when being flogged with the cat-o’-nine tails”.  This must have seemed appropriate during the reign of terror imposed by Kepler Wessels, though I find I tend to translate it subconsciously into the Sticklebacks (a common fish in Northamptonshire’s rivers, as I remember from my childhood).

If Leicestershire (the Foxes) had chosen to go down this route of cinematically-inspired intimidation, they might have come up with something like this –

From left to right, Nixon, Taylor and Hoggard.  But instead, they have – rather counterintuitively, in my view – opted for this –

A firm-jawed Josh Cobb, perhaps visualising a Maximum.  I’m not quite sure about the slogan – perhaps “It’s not just cricket” might have better?  – and I’m frankly agog to see how this Hawaiian theme is going  to play out at Grace Road.  At the very least, I expect palm trees in the Meet and returning batsmen being garlanded with flowers by the Friends of Grace Road, as they dance the traditional hula on the boundary in their grass skirts.  Let’s hope the weather holds up, and that fancy dress is not compulsory.

I’ve been trying to think of any previous association between cricket and Hawaii, and there is this, from Bill Bowes’ autobiography.  The touring party on the Fast Leg Theory tour returned home via a tour of the Pacific Islands (then across Canada and back across the Atlantic).  They stopped off in Hawaii –

“Of course, it would be difficult to forget Honolulu beach.  Honolulu is the only beach to compare with those around Sydney.  There were met Laurel and Hardy, and had a great day with them.  We left garlanded with flowers to the strains of guitars and that lovely song of farewell “Alloa O”. 

Laurel and Hardy were there to film “Sons of the Desert”.  It’s believed that Douglas Jardine filmed a cameo appearance, as “Angry Man”.  The gag, apparently,  involved Oliver Hardy sitting on his Harlequins cap, though, unfortunately, this scene did not make the final cut.

April, by Helen Hunt Jackson (Warning – this post contains an image some viewers may find offensive)

Over to Helen Hunt Jackson, for her preview of the new month.



No days such honored days as these! When yet
Fair Aphrodite reigned, men seeking wide
For some fair thing which should forever bide
On earth, her beauteous memory to set
In fitting frame that no age could forget,
Her name in lovely April’s name did hide,
And leave it there, eternally allied
To all the fairest flowers Spring did beget.
And when fair Aphrodite passed from earth,
Her shrines forgotten and her feasts of mirth,
A holier symbol still in seal and sign,
Sweet April took, of kingdom most divine,
When Christ ascended, in the time of birth
Of spring anemones, in Palestine.

I think Ascension Day is technically in May (or occasionally June), and the idea that April’s name derives from Aphrodite is questionable.  But let us have a look at fair Aphrodite anyway.  This picture is taken from the Jack Wills Spring Catalogue of c. 150 A.D.  “It’s a disgrace!  We demand this blog be withdrawn! etc.” – 19 Concerned Parents.   


Walmington-on-Sea Beach Robe - £199.00

Jack Wills v. the Advertising Standards Authority

In today’s news, I see that Jack Wills have been made to withdraw their Spring catalogue following complaints from parents.

One angry mother apparently wrote to the ASA in the following terms –

“I like to think I’m not easily shocked, but I picked this up when I was cleaning my daughter’s bedroom and, frankly, I was disgusted.  £19.00 for a pair of pants?  £39.00 for a scarf?  £129.00 for a “Bobbington Aran Cardigan”?  Have they no shame?”

Another wrote –

“I had to hide the catalogue before my husband came home – I was afraid he’d have a heart attack if he saw it!  £98.00 for a cotton cricket sweater!  £269.00 for a “Welburn Blazer”!  I couldn’t believe my eyes!”

Incensed Mum (of Market Harborough) commented –

“My son tried to hide this grubby publication under his bed – but – don’t worry – I found it!  I’m incensed!!!!”

 (Two other complaints – that the catalogue might mislead ordinary middle-class children into thinking that they might be able to afford to go to University, and that Jack Wills had used the names of innocent English towns and villages (e.g. “The Hinckley shirt“) without asking permission were dismissed.  The ASA said that the first was “obviously politically motivated” and that the second “Isn’t really our problem“.

All Perfectly Innocent