Thursday, 28 November 2013

Wasted Afternoons Stocking Stuffers

With my girlfriend overseas for the next three weeks I'm under under a kind of tacit agreement to not even set foot inside the upcoming Mossgreen Sports Auction, but a number of items have caught my eye.

In the past I have unsuccessfully lobbied to have one of the "Spy" Vanity Fair prints reclassified as suitable home decor. I think the doctor is quite fetching but apparently I'm on my own in that analysis.

Sticking to the icons I can't ever see myself having the $3000 loose change to spunk on George Beldam's definitive though ludicrously posed shot of Trumper but we can all dream. It's a lot more fun than shares, surely? 

"DON BRADMAN'S FIRST TEST BAT: Full size "Duke & Son - Warren Bardsley" Cricket bat, signed to the reverse under the headings 1928 England and Australia - 19 signatures from the 1928-29 English team headed by Chapman, including Jardine, Tate (2), Hendren, Leyland, Patuadi, Larwood; and to the right reverse 17 signatures headed unusually by Jackson and including an early Bradman, Ryder, Woodfull, Andrews, O'Reilly, Richardson. Later inclusions collected by Bradman for this charity item include Richardson, Ironmonger and Alexander. 47 signatures in all. Unique and desirable."

With an estimate of $120,000-$150,000 this one is for hedge fund managers and members of the Rolling Stones only. It's one of a few Bradman bats in the auction, actually. If I was so rich that I could buy this I would introduce it to people as "a bat signed by Archie Jackson" and then afterwards just note in passing that it was Bradman's first Test bat. I think I'd need to buy a bat rack, actually. That would be about as extravagant as I got as a rich person; 1992 World Cup shirts off eBay, some old Wisdens and a bat rack. 

There's an array of very cool and very nerdy caps in this sale ($1200-1500 is surely a steal for Wasim Akram's Pakistan cap, right?) but this is labelled as a "Pakistan Test cap". Really? Please say it ain't so...

I won't bore you by pasting them all in here but the other caps that caught my eye were the Sri Lankan Rebel tour one (no photo guys??) and the uninentional history lesson on the evolution of Tasmania's cap. While we're on cap talk, Albion have put together a brilliant black one with yellow insignia for WA this Sheffield Shield season. Apparently it's based on a photo from their archives. Just a bit of cap chat for you. 

Actually no I will paste another, here's the Len Maddocks issue Tassie cap from the 60s. I think you'll see why many players wouldn't be caught dead wearing caps in that era.

Anyway, I'm not telling you what I'm actually going to throw a sneaky online bid on for the Mossgreen Auction because I don't want to be outbid. On the other hand, if anyone wants to start some kind of Kickstarter type fund for me, I really would like this Dennis Lillee pinball machine that recently appeared on eBay. Just brilliant.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Clarke Uncut

There is something much more compelling about Michael Clarke when he actually says what he thinks. I had my say >> here <<, for what it's worth.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The little magazine that could

I've been busy stressing out about making my Guardian OBO debut today (it didn't go too badly all things considered; I might get asked back on Day 5), so haven't written anything today. Here's something I prepared earlier for The Cordon:

I love the ABC Cricket Guide. Long may it live.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

And now for something depressingly similar...

A couple of people have said I need to "lighten up" and that this sort of thing

is "a bit of fun". Is it really fun though? For whom? It certainly isn't funny per se, if that is the intention. It's funny if you find moments of extreme cultural cringe amusing, I suppose. It's not intentionally funny. So far I've only managed a few groans. It actually just makes Australians look like hicks. We're prone to give those tacky and puerile Brit tabloids a kicking but ours are getting just as bad. 

Maybe the entire cricket media needs to draw a clearer line between news and opinion. Do we really need journalists becoming the story? Can't we just leave that to the world of the AFL? I know I just sound like the fun police here but there is actually a place for this kind of thing. It's called "blogging".  

Watching the Aus tabloid media front the English squad so far this summer has been like watching a dog show in which one of the contestants has become so intimidated by the presence of judges that it has thrown up, only instead of its owner grabbing it in embarrassment and quickly shuffling off to the car, they've encouraged the dog to lick it all up and give it another go. KP - 2, Aus media - 0

"Queensland - the inferiority complex state"

Monday, 18 November 2013

Popularity Contest

"Journalists injecting themselves into the story" corner:

Without turning all "Cricket Media Watch" on you straight off the bat, it is worth mentioning that this sort of thing is really only of benefit to KP at the end of the day. He loves this sort of stuff.

It's also a case of the Australian cricket media pot calling the English cricketer black. The publication in question gave a pretty decent ride to an entire generation of Australian cricketers, some of whom would not cross to the other side Jolimont street to talk to each other. The hoary old cliche that a team needs to like each other to succeed should be dead and buried, but it's not. Blame it all on the sub I guess. 

This one is less forgivable and makes me think we might have relinquished our moral high ground and ability to claim it's just the English tabloids that talk a load of old balls. 

Renegade Marketing

I will admit that the bar is currently set at subterranean levels for cricket-flavoured Australian TV commercials, but for sheer stupidity, this one from the Melbourne Renegades will take some beating.

For the record, I actually like it. It makes no sense whatsoever and it probably would have been a better idea for the Melbourne Stars because green slime would look better than red paint (decades of children's TV cannot be wrong), but I still like it. It's utterly pointless, like a lot of T20 games.

Congratulations marketing people, pens down.

Resuming Service

I will not be as pompous as to suggest that anyone had noticed, but by way of explanation for letting this blog die on the vine over the past few months, I've just been too busy with other things. I've been fortunate beyond my wildest dreams to do some regular blogging for The Guardian and also a little bit for Cricinfo's brilliant new addition, The Cordon. Both are run and staffed by brilliant people to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude and draw no small amount of inspiration.

In between times I've been up ladders and on the tools as Melbourne's least-credentialed builder and otherwise occupied with activities that will pay the bills. I've also been watching a lot of cricket and been a little bit slack as well, so plan on stopping by here more regularly. I won't even mention my attempts at making my own playing comeback, they're too depressing. It also strikes me that this is my third "comeback" to this blog; a preposterous situation given it's not even a year old. Feel free to leave appropriate abuse below.

Anyway, upon my return here I probably won't be offering the Unabomber manifestos that were the hallmark of my early and completely embarrassing attempts at blogging. For that you should probably be glad.

So here's to posting links and pointing and laughing at photos of Warnie. Hoorah.


Lastly, I encourage you to take a read of this nice little piece by Cricinfo reader Bill Ricquier on the presence of profanity and filth in Wisden. I liked it for reasons that are obvious on reading, but also because only two weeks back I was in a book store in Melbourne and overheard an elderly lady trying to get some help buying her grandson a cricket book. My recommendation that a Wisden would make or break his love of the game unfortunately fell on deaf ears. In actual fact, when I was this kid's age it was the purchase of one of those inoccuous "100% hits" compilation cassettes that had opened me up to a world of unbridled filth. This came in the form of King Missile's infamous not-quite-a-hit, "Detachable Penis". Maybe a Wisden could have been such a watershed moment for this child?

In the end I agreed with the old lady that a pictorial book would probably suit a 7 year-old far more than a housebrick full of numbers. The only problem was that of the 30 or so cricket titles the shop offered (a lot by the standards of most chain book stores in 2013), not a single one of them came close to fulfilling our simple requirement. It made me think of the manner in which David Frith's Pageant of Cricket and those tacky but actually pretty brilliant Channel Nine yearbooks had kindled my own interest in the game as a kid. Kids like pictures. Hey, I'm an adult and I still like pictures. Unfortunately, such books appear to be yet another victim of the dwindling fortunes of old media. 

I guess the kid will have to get on his parents' iPad and look up YouTube clips of Watto. Now there is a far less detachable penis.*

*I couldn't return to blogging without calling Watto names. Sorry, old habits die hard.