Have been reading ‘The World According to Clarkson’ written by Jeremy Clarkson. He writes a weekly column in The Sunday Times and is better known to BBC viewers as the anchor of Top Gear. His writing style is witty, irreverent and (not atypically British) pulling down everything and every one. Many of his views/ opinions about things in general and Europeans in particular need not agree with this reader’s digestive system but he’s a compulsive read. One came across this article & found it hilarious and admittedly exaggerated.
But what the heck, one needs to laugh at oneself and other fellow cricket lovers once in a while.
Cricket’s the National Sport of Time Wasters
I understand that England recently lost a game of cricket. Good. The more we lose, the more our interest in the game wanes and the less it will dominate our newspapers and television screens.
Cricket – and I will not take any arguments – is boring. Any sport which goes on for so long that you might need a ‘comfort break’ is not a sport at all. It is merely a means of passing the time. Like reading.
Of course, we used to have televised reading. It was called Jackanory. Now we have Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is much better. Things have moved on, but cricket has not.
I’m not sure that it can. Even if Nasser Hussain, who is the captain of England, were to invest in some new hair and marry Council House Spice (aka Claire Sweeney, the ex-Brookside actress turned Big Brother contestant), it wouldn’t make any difference.
Nobody is quite sure how cricket began, though many people believe it was invented by shepherds who used their crooks to defend the wicket gate to the sheep fold. This would certainly figure because shepherds had many long hours to while away, with nothing much to do.
The first written reference to cricket was in 1300, when Prince Edward played it with his friend Piers Gaveston. And again, this would figure. Princes, in those days, were not exactly rushed off their feet.
Cricket was spread around the world by British soldiers who found themselves marooned in godforsaken flea-bitten parts of the world and needed something to keep them amused, not just for an hour but for week after interminable week.
Today Australia dominates the game – which furthers my theory. Of course they’re good at it. They have no distractions. And the only way we can ever beat them is to round up the unemployed and the wastrels and give them all bats. Certainly, they’d feel at home in the pavilion. It’s exactly the same thing as sitting in a bus shelter all day.
Let me put it this way – is there a sound more terrifying on a Sunday afternoon than a child saying ‘Daddy. Can we play Monopoly?’
Like cricket, Monopoly has no end. The rules explain how you can unmortgage a property and when you should build hotels on Bond Street but they don’t say, and they should, that the winner is the last player left alive. And what about Risk? You make a calculation, based on the law of averages, that you can take the world but you’re always stymied by the law of probability and end up out of steam, throwing an endless succession of twos and ones in Kamchatka. Still, this is preferable to the modern version in which George W. Bush invades Iraq and we all die of smallpox.
Happily, my children are now eight, six and four so they’re way past the age when board games hold any appeal. Given the choice of mortgaging Old Kent Road or shooting James Bond on PlayStation, they’ll take the electronic option every time.
Then there are jigsaws, which I once had to explain to a Greek. ‘Yes, you spend a couple of weeks putting all the pieces together so you end up with a picture.’
‘Then what happens?’ he asked.
‘Well, you break it up again and put it back in the box.’
It’s not often I’ve felt empathy with a Greek, but I did then. And it’s much the same story with crosswords. If scientists could harness the brainpower spent every day on trying to find the answer to ‘Russian banana goes backwards in France we hear perhaps’, then maybe mankind might have cured cancer by now.
Crosswords like jigsaws and cricket, are not really games in themselves. They are simply tools for wasting time. And that’s not something that sits well in the modern world.
We may dream of living the slow life, taking a couple of hours over lunch and eating cheese until dawn, but the reality is that we have a heart attack if the traffic lights stay red for too long or the lift doors fail to close the instant we’re ready to go.
Answering-machine messages are my particular bugbear. I want a name and a number, and that’s it. I don’t have time to sit and listen to where you’ll be at three and who you’ll be seeing and why you need to talk before then. And even if I do pick up the phone personally, I don’t want a chat. I’m a man. I don’t do chatting. Say what you have to say and go away.
British film-makers still haven’t got this. They spend hours with their sepia lighting and their long character developing speeches abd it’s all pointless because we’d much rather watch a muscly American saying ‘Die, m**********r.’
Slow cooked lamb shanks for supper? Oh for God’s sake, I’ll get a takeaway.
Cricket, then, is from a bygone age when people invested their money in time rather than in things. And now we have so many things to play with and do, it seems odd to waste it watching somebody else playing what is basicallyan elaborate game of catch.
Please stop watching – then it will go away
This was penned by Jeremy in 2002. Before Twenty20.
Posted by Rahul.