Tuesday 27 December 2011

Fire in Babylon

I rarely if ever step outside the birding sphere on this blog. Occasionally there are allusions to my fanatical support of Tottenham Hotspur or a music video to accompany a post. If I am feeling really adventurous I may stray into ornithology which as my profession makes the header but as a subject I dont like to write about in an informal manner unless it broaches conservation. Today I am going to address something entirely different. My first love. My childhood. My now. Cricket.

Cricket is the greatest sport ever created in the history of the human race as it has both brutality and subtlety at its heart. As a player I am moderate managing the subtlety (and skill) whilst wholely lacking in the brutality. I try and at my peak I was decent enough (av 24.2 in 2003 batting at no.5 in the 3rd tier of 8 in Yorkshire cricket). I am currently in self-imposed retirement. No time. Children. Work. Wife. I know what is important.

Despite the above I would still stay awake an entire night to watch a beautiful innings or some destructive bowling. Michael Vaughan in 2003/4 in Australia. Flintoff and Thorpe in New Zealand. Harmison in the West Indies. Brian Lara versus Australia. Wasim Akram against anyone. I love it. I love the skill and the bravery and the fire.

This evening I am watching 'Fire in Babylon', the film documentary about the West Indies cricket team of the mid 70s to mid 80s. There are a bunch of blokes in their late 50s to early 70s being interview about matches that happened nearly 40 years ago. And they speak with soul and with fire and with brimstone. There is meaning and joy in what they achieved and they understand this. They were blazing a trail for black men and women across the planet against their old masters in babylon. Some, like Vivian Richards, were aware of what they were trying to achieve in creating a new order. Throughout the first half of the film (for I have only seen half thus far) I have been struck by the beauty and emotion of this piece with a soundscape of West Indian artists conveying brooding emotions throughout. Sadly I cannot be eloquent enough to convey exactly how important this film is but if you like sport watch it. If you like politics watch it. If you believe in equality, watch it. This film does not exclude anybody but consumes you in a peoples fight to take it to their former masters come what may. If you dont like cricket, you will stil enjoy this film as it contains such a strong message and some equally forceful characters. Im not sure anybody will reach this stage of the blog post due to my departure from normal procedings but if you have, please comment as I am intrigued by other peoples opinions.

cheers James


Gavin Haig said...

Although ok at most sports I was useless at cricket, so never really followed it. I made an exception for the '81 test at Headingly, and will never forget Botham and Willis turning the match around from nothing. I can totally understand the passion cricket inspires.

Re. non-bird stuff on the blog. It's your blog - go for it! What's the worst that can happen?

James said...

Apologies for the grammar in the post. I was 6 bottles of beer with large JD chasers worse off. Thanks for the vote of support on the off-topic ramble Gavin, although in my head I was asking for feedback on the film if anybody else had seen it. Having now read my feeble jottings (with a sore head) I can see it looks like I am asking permission. Doh.

How birds and brains become mutually exclusive

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