I hope that Devon Malcolm likes South African wine…

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More fun from the old magazines that I recently acquired from the library at The Oval cricket ground.

At this ground, on 20 August 1994, the fast bowler Devon Malcolm took 9–57 to help England to an eight wicket win.
And what was his reward for this fantastic achievement? A “century of bottles offered by Nederburg Cape Wines”. Malcolm is pictured with Colin Cowdrey, who, the caption says, “was the last recipient of this award in 1965”.

South Africa – then aggressively following its apartheid policy – was suspended from international cricket indefinitely by the International Cricket Council in 1970. It did not tour England again until 1994, hence the 29-year gap between Cowdrey’s and Malcolm’s awards.

The award, or at least the prize, no longer exists. Nederburg is a famous old name in South African wine but nowadays is an undistinguished supplier to supermarkets.

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PROJECT FRONT FOOT / DECEMBER NEWSLETTER

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A message from my friend Vic Mills:

“Snow on the ground and -5C here in Berlin. Time for a little winter Sunday sunshine with the PFF December newsletter.

Another busy month for the Dharavi Cricket Academy saw the distribution of the new season’s kit, our first matches, and a visit to the Mumbai Test. The highlight of our Rural Schools Initiative was the first kit handover by our friends at FemaleCricket.com. There’s something too for village cricketers with pictures that will astound and astonish.

Happy New Year

Vic”

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They call me the International Wanderers…

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A short article on the International Wanderers in an old Wisden Cricket Monthly magazine caught my eye.
By any standard, this is an exceptional squad of players. It includes two England captains (Close and Greig) and two Australia captains (the brothers Chappell), as well as a captain of New Zealand (Turner).

I believe that the International Wanderers was an ad hoc team that toured Zimbabwe – or Rhodesia as it was then – and South Africa during the 1970s, I suppose in support of keeping cricket alive in South Africa, which had been suspended indefinitely from international competition in 1970.

But what was really of interest to me was the office address of the joint manager R. E. Thomas: 7 Church Road, Redditch, Worcestershire. This is now the offices of Kerwoods Solictors; indeed, it might well have been Kerwoods in the 1970s.

I grew up in Redditch (somebody had to…) and there was a doctor’s surgery in Church Road that was occasionally visited when a family member or I fell ill. It is quite extraordinary for me to learn that cricket tours to the forbidden land of South Africa were being plotted here.

 

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My review of “Essteesee” by @AngeHardyMusic published in the “Coleridge Bulletin”

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Award-winning singer-songwriter Ange Hardy is Somerset-born and continues to live there but had never heard of STC until she realised that he was the inspiration for the Coleridge Way, a 51-mile footpath opened in 2005 that runs from Nether Stowey to Lynmouth. Having fallen under STC’s spell, a Lottery-funded Arts Council grant was given to Hardy to enable her to compose and record her fourth album Esteesee.

The full review, which was published in the Winter 2016 edition of the Coleridge Bulletin, can be seen here.

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Leonard Cohen and 1982 Latour

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There was a marvellous reprint of a 1991 Adrian Deevoy interview with Leonard Cohen in the February 2017 (sic) issue of Q magazine.

I recall the original interview and I retain the copy of Q in which it was first published. Actually, I have a complete set, from 1 to 368. I have kept them because I enjoy rereading the old magazines. Perhaps it’s my age but I do think that the very early issues of Q were much better than anything it publishes nowadays. Kids today can’t write – bah!
In his introduction to the republished interview, Deevoy notes that the nice red wine that’s mentioned anonymously in the original article was Château Latour 1982, which Cohen gleefully told his interviewer was “three hundred bucks a bottle!”

Nowadays Latour 1982 would be at least $1,200+ and, for bottles in immaculate condition and of unimpeachable provenance, $2,000+. So over 25 years it’s increased at least fourfold.

As Cohen sang in “Boogie Street” (on his 2001 album Ten New Songs):

“A sip of wine, a cigarette,
And then it’s time to go…”

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PROJECT FRONT FOOT & THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

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A message from my friend Vic Mills:

“Earlier in the month I sent a mail with news of the project’s appearance in The Daily Telegraph courtesy of a double-page feature by their cricket correspondent, Nick Hoult. I’m delighted to say that we now have a PDF copy of the feature. If you have yet to read the article then please click on the attachment.”

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Richard Hadlee drinks Champagne – again

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Here’s the great New Zealand bowler Richard Hadlee celebrating another outstanding performance (10-88 in the match) and a win for the Kiwis against India in Bombay in 1988.

I can’t be absolutely sure but a quick glance at the list of Man of the Match awards in Test cricket shows that Hadlee had probably won more MotM awards when he retired in 1990 than anybody else – which means he probably won more bottles of Champagne than any previous cricketer. He’s seen here with his teammate John Bracewell and a bottle of Henriot NV.

John Bracewell was later to become coach of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, of which I was a member for a couple of years when I lived and worked in the Cotswolds. My membership coincided with a very successful period in One-Day cricket for Glos. Happy days.

What is it with Henriot and great fast bowlers? Hadlee is also seen with Dennis Lillee and a bottle of you know what in the February 1989 issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly.

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How to celebrate being the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket…

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At the end of the cricket season I acquired a huge pile of old “The Cricketer International” and “Wisden Cricket Monthly” magazines from the library at The Oval, close to where I live in South London. Bill Gordon, former groundsman and now librarian, told me “take as many as you like and don’t bring them back”.

It’s such a pity to have to put these magazines in the recycling bin once I’ve read them but there is no secondary market for old cricket magazines. In financial terms they’re worthless; in the historical (cricketing) sense, they’re priceless.

It’s great fun reliving some memorable Test matches and County matches that I attended as a teenager and recalling seasons long-passed.

A few wine-related pictures and news stories have cropped up while I’ve browsed the magazines. Pictured here is Richard Hadlee – later to become Sir Richard – celebrating after close of play during the First Test at Bangalore, 12-17 November 1988. Hadlee had taken his 374th wicket during this match to become the all-time leading wicket-taker in Test cricket. By the end of the three-match series Hadlee had extended his tally to 391. What a superb cricketer he was. I never saw him play but I did sit behind him at Eden Park during my first visit to New Zealand in February 2004. At this time he was a selector for the New Zealand team and was, like me, watching a Plunket Shield state match.

In the “Cricketer International” image Hadlee is celebrating his great achievement with a magnum of Moët & Chandon NV, then as now ubiquitous. Nowadays LVMH makes “premium sparkling wine” in India under the “Chandon India” brand.

I haven’t sent wine into India before but I understand that import taxes are at least 150%, though in 2013 there were plans to reduce it to 40% as part of a free-trade agreement with the EU. I’m not aware of any progress with that so cricketers celebrating great achievements in India will continue to have to pay through the nose – or, like Jack Russell, drink nothing but tea.

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Wine songs: “Wine, Wine, Wine” by The Nightcaps

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Here’s a bit of fun from the say-uff of the USA.

I haven’t been able to discover how and why a white Texas blues band wrote a song called “Wine, Wine, Wine” – Dallas was hardly a vinous destination in the 1960s. The southern accents render the song as “wahn, wahn, wahn”, which is not dissimilar to the Sarf London pronunciation – “i” sounded as “aah”.

The Nightcaps were popular locally but never nationally or internationally. “Wine, Wine, Wine” was a hit in Texas and nowhere else. “Thunderbird” was their other hit and was covered by fellow Texans ZZ Top on their 1975 album Fandango! Later a copyright infringement case was brought by The Nightcaps but it turned out that they didn’t have the copyright on “Thunderbird” – ZZ Top did…

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On and off the field in Portugal with Sir Henry Leveson Gower

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Recently I read Sir Henry Leveson Gower’s autobiography On and Off the Field.

00036481-1200x1445Leveson Gower – pronounced “Loosen Gore” (and not hyphenated), which confuses everybody and not just Americans – was captain of Surrey 1908-10 and had a long association with the club. I borrowed the book from The Oval’s library, a 1953 first edition with a Surrey County Cricket Club stamp on the inside cover dated 22 May 1953. It’s possible that it was presented to the club by the author himself.

Chapter 23 is devoted to a tour to Portugal in April 1934. Sir Henry wrote, “The cricket in Portugal was quite good, and gave much pleasure to all of us who played as well as to the spectators. But we found many other interests in the country as well, especially in historical Oporto area where the worlds best port wines are produced. Under a treaty of 1916 with Portugal, the United Kingdom only admits as port the wine actually shipped over the bar at Oporto.”

3273352_origHe also describes a visit to the Factory House, a private club in Porto with a strong British influence, not least the Port shippers and families with British origins such as Cockburn, Croft, Taylor-Fladgate, Forrester, Graham, Sandeman, Symington, and Warre. “It is a world of its own without parallel anywhere”, wrote Sir Henry, “and I hope it will always remain so and be kept sacrosanct in a foreign land as a token of something which has meant much to Britain and Britishers of the past great days.”

In a book that is very much of its time and of its author’s social status, full of stories about how wonderful Winchester and Oxford were in the 1890s and what a nice chap and cricketer the Hon so and so was, there are two excellent comic stories.

At the Scarborough festival one year, a strong gust of wind blew away not just a hat but also the wig of a distinguished lady visitor, which was chased across the playing field by a butler, carrying a silver salver in order to return the missing objects to their owner.

At another Scarborough festival Leveson Gower had to present some prizes at a show that was given in a park near the cricket ground. One event had been won by a lady and her prize was a pair of hairbrushes. As he presented the prize he said, “I hope you will find this gift of hairbrushes more useful than it would be to me”, alluding to his own baldness. A colleague quickly and discreetly pointed out that the lady wore a wig.

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