Wednesday, 2 January 2013

An Alternative History of 2013

Idle's New Year resolution is to write loads more rubbish and to make every effort to make it less like rubbish and more like a readable diarist. And by 'diarist' I aspire to Alan Clarke or James Lees-Milne (a grand old poof who I knew, being an executor of his wife's estate; poofs had wives in those days) rather than Bridget Jones or Adrian Mole.

A lofty ambition, clearly. The fact that it has taken me until half past seven in the evening on January 2nd to tap the keyboard is not exactly a flying start, particularly when my day has involved no more than two dog walks, mixing a jug of bloody mary, and watching first Amla and then Kallis score delightful 60s at Newlands against the hapless Kiwis, themselves bowled out for 45 by the splendidly named VD Philander.

See what I've done, already? Given you a 'what I did today', as though I were a prepschool boy again, doing his holiday diary (for which the 11 year old idle won a prize at the Dragon School in 1973). Sorry, it won't happen again. I mean to concentrate on the burning issues of the day and to put the idle viewpoint, firmly.

Because he chose a national holiday on which to die, and because he had been (a brilliant) BBC cricket correspondent, Christopher Martin-Jenkins' untimely death has had wide coverage. I doubt there are many who read more of CMJ's output than did I; I devoured The Cricketer at school, found his books in my stocking most Christmases, read every word he published as the Telegraph correspondent, even when overseas, and hung upon every smooth and concise ball-by-ball commentary he uttered on TMS. Now that the modern cricketing journalist has to be an ex-England player, regardless of wit, vocabulary, hinterland or attractiveness of voice, he is surely the last of his type. I will, honestly, miss him.

The fiscal cliff avoidance (brilliantly depicted by Adams in the Telegraph cartoon slot), is a dangerous fudge. Mark Steyn (Collision Course With Reality - see top right of this blog) put it well in November - the United States, its electorate and legislators alike, are heading deep into Western European Failed Social Model territory. Who would have thought the cliff would have been averted by a 'compromise' which raised taxes by $41 for every $1 of spending cuts? This is a one-way ticket on the Lunacy Express, and no mistake.


6 comments:

Scrobs... said...

CMJ was unique in his delivery, in that one could see every nuance, watch every action in the minutest detail, and hear the surprises and delights on the cricket field, all in the dead of night with the lights off, or on a blissful four-hour drive back home after a week away, on a Friday afternoon.

I will miss him too.

Elby the Beserk said...

Agreed. As one who struggles to turn on BBC radio without the urge to drown said radio within 5 minutes (we even have a Lefty friend who said she could no longer listen to Today {aka "The John Humphries Show"), TMS has been a shining light. CMJ was excellent, and provided a great counterbalance in that he was not himself a (well known) cricketer.

RIP, and I am sure his family must be proud of him for a life well lived.

Alceste said...

CMJ was a tremendous after-dinner speaker. The finest joke in my repertoire came from him(the repertoire is generally lousy, but this is a great joke). Since you ask, it's the one about three Sorbonne professors trying to define "sang froid". He was so engaging that I sometimes even feel obliged to admit that he was the source - though I don't mind leaving the impression that it was during an intimate tete-a-tete between the two of us.

apricotfox said...

Ahhhh! So that's who I got the sang froid joke from! I must credit him in future. ...you asked if I rememebered his Henderson performance and I evidently did....

idle said...

The sang froid joke, alceste, has been a winner for me for many years, thanks to you and CMJ. On average, a table of ten people will produce one person saying 'DO get on with it' (Lady Idle), six loud chortles, one nervous laugh (didn't get it but doesn't want to show) and one blank look from the resident dunce.

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