Life After Scandal by Robin Soans, Hampstead Theatre, 21 September 2007

This was a very interesting and entertaining piece of verbatim theatre. Robin Soans is good at this stuff; we’d seen Talking To Terrorists at The Royal Court. It was probably this sole factor which encouraged us to book the play.

We were pretty much out of love with the Hampstead Theatre at this time; during the Anthony Clark era. Clark himself directed this one and did a decent job of it.

It was deservedly pretty well received on the whole by the critics:

 

The Years Between by Daphne Du Maurier, Orange Tree Theatre, 15 September 2007

The Years Between is a 1940s period piece by Daphne Du Maurier. Orange Tree Theatre stubs from 2007 are a bit thin on detail, but here’s a link to the stub.

I remember this play seeming a bit slow and dated, but it did hold our attention and the acting was very good.

Subterranean Homesick Highs, “MTWD Lost Masterpiece”, Middlesex v Leicestershire at Southgate Day 2, 12 September 2007

This is the last of my MTWD lost masterpieces. The background to the phenomenon of MTWD “lost masterpieces” is explained in this link – click here. In short, Sportnetwork permanently lost a swathe of published features from 2007.

But fear not; I tend to keep everything.

I need to explain some terms here. “Lover” is Gerry The Bookseller. The Special One and Special K is Murali Kartik. I wasn’t really reading ethics stuff for the Worshipful Company of Estate Realists (no, really not), but I was on the BCS Ethics Panel by then, so I suspect that I was reading papers pertaining to that role.

Subterranean Homesick Highs

 

“Ged feat. Lover” reports from a cavern beneath the mound that is The Walker Ground in Southgate. It was an up and down sort of day; Middlesex in the ascendancy and Leicestershire zooming in the other direction. Ged arrives late and misses lots of action, but Lover provides the vital update to enable Ged to complete his report.  Confused?  You will be.

 

Lover steps up to the plate and comes to the party

Ged had some business to attend to this morning, so he arrived at The Walker Ground 11:30/11:40 ish.  Ged neatly parked the Gedmobile (named Nobby) and spotted Lover chatting to someone at the Adelaide end.  Recalling that Lover is usually a punctual sort of chap, and recalling that Lover owed Ged a quid from a transaction earlier in the season, Ged spotted two opportunities.

“Morning Lover” says Ged, pausing only to watch his first ball of the day, with which Special K dispensed with Sadler – a nick through to Ben Scott.  “Seems I’ve brought the team some luck”, says Ged.  “Not really”, replies Lover, “that must be the fifth wicket this morning”.  “Cruumbs”, says Ged, ”good job I’ve run into you then; you can help be to cover the bit of the match I’ve missed”.  “Happy to help”, says Lover, “what do you need to know?”  “Tell me about all these wickets”, I ask.  And thus spake Lover.

“Well, it didn’t look too promising at first.  Lots of good deliveries but nothing quite coming off for Middlesex.  Then all the wickets started to fall.  That’s it really”

“Tell us about the wickets, Lover, the readers like to know about wickets,” Ged interjected.

Kartik took most of them, I think, although Murtagh got one (or was it two?).  Anyway, they’re coming thick and fast now,” Lover mumbled.

“A little more detail, perhaps, Lover” Ged politely enquired.  “Means of dismissal, for instance?”.

“Who knows?  Who cares?  Make it up.  No-one will notice.  Say what you like and credit it to me.”  Lover had clearly reached his limit.

“I think I’ll suggest that Nixon signalled and then attempted a massive reverse sweep as part of the captain’s campaign to restore order to the innings, overbalanced and was stumped off a wide one when Scott did an acrobatic take and swipe”, I said, half expecting Lover to correct me and thus to glean the information I wanted that way.

“Yeh, it went something like that”, Lover muttered.

“Gosh, thanks Lover”, I said, “and by the way, you owe me a quid”.

 

In a Heap

Ged tries to set up his stall in a quiet corner of the Phil Edmonds excavation, but a particularly helpful steward tells him that he is too close to the scoreboard (about 15 yards away from it), so he’ll have to muck in with the rest further round.  Ged was especially impressed by the nice couple who subsequently set themselves up on the exact same spot, only to be confronted by the steward.  “Thank you”, they said, “we’ll move in a few minutes, when we’re ready” and then sat there for the rest of the day.  Civil disobedience; don’t ya love it?

Ged then saw the rest of Leicestershire collapse in a heap.  Henderson nicked one through to Scotty.  Masters played an ugly stroke to get caught at slip by Strauss off Special K (that was Special K’s fivefer), Jerome Taylor nicked Finn’s first ball of the day through to Scotty (fivefer for Scotty too) and Naik was soon to follow as a sixth for The Special One.

By this point, Ged was well placed in the Phil Edmonds excavation sitting near a couple of Leicestershire fans (one of whom coincidentally turned out to be John Maunders dad – people really will start to talk about Ged!).  They seemed unsurprised at the collapse and at least glad that Maunders had top scored for his team.

 

Batting again

By this time, Ged had made a start on his work.  The Worshipful Company of Estate Realists have asked Ged to help them put together a paper on ethics in the estate agency profession.  Unsurprisingly, there is little material to be had on this subject, but Ged wanted to have a look through the little that does exist (and remember that Government and Quango papers cannot weigh in at under 100 pages).  Best part of a day at the cricket would be ideal for such a task.

Middlesex started unsurprisingly slowly and seemed little troubled by Masters and Taylor up front – the latter being clearly the more challenging of the two.  Soon, Masters gave up in favour of Henderson, who bowled tight but didn’t look as tricky as The Special One.

Straussy decided to go the sweep route and Hendo had him LBW.  Billy the Kid and Captain Ted set a “steady as she goes” course through till tea.

Half an hour (eight overs to be precise) before tea, for some reason, Leics took a drink break.  Seemed odd.

Ged made some good headway with his reading and even made some notes, despite occasional interruptions from friends and neighbours.

 

Evening session

It was a beautiful late afternoon at Southgate – just as Ged always likes to ponder about the place – but it wasn’t to be a beautiful evening session for Billy the Kid.  First ball after tea, Hendo hits the Kid’s pad.  The umpire thinks for a moment, raises the finger and Billy the Kid looks back at the umpire with a look of utter astonishment.  The Kid drags himself off, with a couple of backward stares and then enters the players’ tent.  There is then the sound of willow on something other than leather from within the tent.  Big Perce would be apoplectic at this point; thank heavens he wasn’t there to see it.

Captain Ted and Joycey looked steady – indeed during this phase they looked to get on top of the bowling and the score advanced rapidly.  Jigar Naik (which sounded like a term of abuse when his name was announced over the tannoy) was mostly tight but also gave away a few.  Ryan Cummins (Ged wondered, Pooter-like, whether he was always goin’) was expensive.

Then the softest of dismissals for Joycey (he’s had that sort of season) and only a short stay for Captain Morgan who nicked the hapless Cummins through to Nixon for 1, which was 1 better than his first innings.  Ged lamented that he has yet to see Morgan demonstrate his budding, tremendous talent in a first class match.

Fifteen minutes before stumps (with just four overs remaining in the day) Leics take another drinks break.  The turkeys go bananas over in the Phil Edmonds excavation and a near riot is only averted by some excellent stewarding, especially the steward who has such precise ideas on where chairs can and cannot be placed in the excavation.

At this point, Ged decided that he didn’t want to get mixed up in crowd trouble and anyway he needed to avoid the traffic on a big footie night, and so Ged made an early exit.  Apparently Captain Ted reached his ton before stumps.  Perhaps someone who remained till the end could describe that moment and also let us know if there were further crowd incidents at the end of play.

So that’s it for Ged – no more live cricket this season.  Ged did get home in time to see the last 7 overs of Zimbabwe teaching the Aussies a lesson and Ged might as well get used to televised cricket for a while now.  But the memory of an early autumn evening at Southgate when the weather is spot on and Middlesex are doing well really does take some beating.  Which is probably more than can be said for Leicestershire just now.

If by any chance anyone is still reading and cannot guess what happened in the match, here is a link to the scorecard.

England v India 7th ODI, Lord’s, 8 September 2007

Who’d have thought that a seven match ODI series between these two teams would go down to the wire?

I booked this one mostly because Janie was at that time expressing a preference for ODIs and it seemed a rare opportunity to take in some late season cricket at Lord’s.

Still a bit numb from all that had happened this summer, my recall of this match is not great.

Judging from the scorecard, it looks as though India finally ran out of steam at the end of a long tour.  Lord’s tends to get lower and slower by the end of the season. Perhaps the Indian batsmen set off trying to score far more than would be possible. Perhaps England bowled well.

No perhaps about our picnic – it would have been a good one.