Hello there. Been a while, eh? We promised that we would blog erratically, and we have kept that promise with flair, we think. Our excuses for not updating this blog since July are the following:
1) We’ve both had work and general lives on.
2) I’ve moved away from the rolling hills and parochial racism of Yorkshire, to the concrete hills and urban racism of London.
3) Mr Tickner has been involved in a burgeoning and increasingly sweet internet romance with another man called Miller. Peter, I’m not jealous. Although I will cut you if you hurt him.
4) We’ve got a gig writing anti-English gags for Malcolm Conn. It’s a lucrative line of work – you should give it a go.
5) I dunno. Fuck you – you’re not our real dads. Unless you are actually our real dads. In which case, hello dads. And sorry for swearing.
Since we last spoke, England won the Ashes and about two hours later flew out to Australia to defend them. So on the eve of another series, we are faced with the question of overkill – can you have too much of a wonderful thing like the Ashes?
In this case, the answer is no, you cannot, and the reason for that is largely down to Stuart Broad.
Those of you who have been with us from the start will recall that our opening piece on this blog was snappily titled ‘Is Stuart Broad any good or a bit of a dick? Or both? Or neither?’ The conclusion was that he was indeed a bit of a dick, and this was a bad thing. However, while his dick status has not significantly altered, this is now unquestionably a good thing.
There has been a sense recently that there are a few too many likeable players in the Australia team. A few too many decent guys. This will, quite obviously, not do. Australian cricketers are not there to be liked. They are there to be hated – hated because they’re arseholes, because they’re too good or because both. Australia and England should, for the purposes of cricket at least, despise each other. It should be Merv Hughes calling a procession of sub-standard batsmen arsewipes. It should be Mitchell Johnson goading Jimmy Anderson into taking a wicket. It should be Ian Botham and Ian Chappell wrestling in a car park.
The Aussies seem to get this too, and have embarked on a concerted pre-series campaign to make them as objectionable as possible, whether that’s through Michael Clarke’s surreal performance art piece/’I seen Alastair’ announcement of England’s team (incidentally, if you watch it closely, you can see the exact moment when something drops behind his eyes and he thinks ‘Aw, this isn’t as good an idea as Warnie said it would be’), Johnson saying he was going to break England batsmen’s fingers, Peter Siddle eating 15-20 bananas a day in a flagrant attempt to use up all the potassium in the southern hemisphere, or David Warner. Chuck in the apparent obsession with England somehow being underhand by playing quite conservatively and winning, rather than Australia adhering to the true ethos of the game by being creative free spirits and losing, and you’ve got yourself a team spoiling for a fight.
This is why Broad’s status as a weapons-grade bell in Australia is a wonderful thing for the series, because he creates antipathy between the two sides. The legacy of his non-walk at Trent Bridge will be 50,000 dribbling drunk Aussies screaming all sorts of uncouth and unintelligible things at the Gabba, in the hope of turning him into the meek little boy that, frankly, he looks like.
Of course, this is an impotent act of barracking that will in all likelihood only serve to inspire him, rather than put him off in some way. There seems little doubt that Broad loves being the heel, loves being the man to wind-up the opposition. Take him actually walking when he was out for the second time in that innings at Trent Bridge, the morning after a tsunami of bullshit had been sprayed all over the pages of our national newspapers after he failed to do the umpire’s job for him. What is that but an absolutely terrific act of trolling?
And how about his interview with Michael Vaughan last month, in which quite correctly expressed absolutely no remorse for the non-walk, commenting that if he had then England might have “only won 3-1 or something.” I damn near applauded when I heard that – a magnificent statement, akin to spitting in an angry bear’s gazpacho, after the bear had just about come to terms with the concept of cold soup.
Broad knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s half man, half itchy pair of underpants on the bottom of Australia, set on a mission to make life as annoying as possible. Only, unlike the underpants, he’ll probably take 25 wickets and bowl an unplayable spell at some point to win a Test for England.
Stuart Broad is still a bit of a dick. But he’s our dick now, and we must celebrate the damage he is doing to Anglo-Australian relations.