In a career move that could be seen as amiably eccentric or disasterously inept, Neil Hannon has recorded an album devoted to the religion that they call cricket. Yes, that Neil Hannon, the one from the Divine Comedy, who loves Scott Walker as much as we do.
As far as I’m concerned he was a fella who made a few reasonably jolly whimsical pop ditties about ten years ago. I now regard him as a kindred spirit, if not a demigod.
Linking up with his opening partner Thomas Walsh (aka Mr Duckworth), the pair call themselves The Duckworth Lewis Method, Hannon being Mr Lewis. Ostensibly aligning themselves with this summer’s Ashes series, a quick listen to the uploaded tracks and a gander at the rather spiffing artwork on the DLM myspace shows them rather to be saluting cricket’s chapness; a celebration of cricket in all its guises, providing one wears whites (as opposed to garish coloured jimjams), cableknit sweaters and smokes a pipe at the crease.
Whatever your views on cricket, with Hannon’s hand at the tiller, the game may get a few converts this summer. As Mr Lewis says; “I give you a kaleidoscopic musical adventure through the beautiful and rather silly world of cricket.” Amen.
We may even be able to complete a Pop Junkie Top 10 of Cricket songs, which currently stands thus:
1. Soul Limbo: Booker T & the MGs ~ Yes, you know the one. Surely everyone loves this track, don’t they? (couldn’t find the proper version on youtube – accept no substitutes in this instance).
2. When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease: Roy Harper ~ A song actually about cricket ~ Led Zep’s mate using the game as a metaphor for life. Requested by John Peel that this be played on air at the event of his death.
3. Howzat: Sherbert ~ Is it too controversial to say that this is Australia’s greatest ever contribution to pop music? Take a listen. This is a pop masterpiece. Not exactly about cricket, just uses the analogy of someone who’s time has come and gone.
4. Dreadlock Holiday: 10CC ~ “I don’t like cricket, oh no, I love it, yes”. After a string of monster hits through 1972 to 1977, this 1978 release went to number one and promptly ended their career.
5. Cricket Lovely Cricket ~ Traditional Caribbean Calypso from the 1950s by Lord Beginner.
6. Mambo Number Five: Lou Bega ~ Highly annoying and infectious tune adopted by Channel 4 when they wrestled terrestial cricket coverage away from the BBC. Ah, cricket on normal telly, those were the days my friend.
7. There is no number 7. Doubtless something will occur to me in my sleep tonight, but cricket has been rather undernourished by song down the years. Until now…
A rather wonderful piece of cricket/pop triv to finish off: David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd’s favourite band is The Mighty Fall, which I find astonishingly wonderful, but it does rather hinge on you knowing who Bumble is. He also loves Half Man, Half Biscuit. He’s younger than John Peel, but still, even so…
Bring on the Aussies, Mr Duckworth & Mr Lewis.