Day 41

5.04: I doubt that any human being has ever had an idea as good as making Allan Donald England’s bowling coach. The Guttenberg printing press? Nope. The blood transfusion? Hardly. Agriculture? Not on your life. Allan Donald as England’s bowling coach will be quite simply the greatest thing that ever man hath wrought. Nature tends towards it; the heavens expect it.

For non-cricket lovers, let me explain about Allan Donald. The plain facts are these: he’s a South African fast bowler, who played most of his professional cricket in England between the late 80s and early 2000s. I won’t bother putting down what his test match bowling average is – it won’t mean anything to you – but let me say anyway, it’s Godlike. Better than Godlike – God’s too fat and hairy to send down a convincing bouncer.

To get a sense of Allan Donald and why I have loved him since I was eight years old, here are some thought exercises. Imagine the Elgin Marbles. Imagine a new Mercedes. Picture the most enormously intricate astronomical clock. These are all things which serve their purpose exactly and beautifully. The musculature of the Elgin Marbles bring the battles of the mythological past into vivid relief; the sleekness and quiet of the Mercedes bespeaks its confidence, the tiny ticking motion of the astronomical clock keeps unerringly the rhythm of the spheres.

Now imagine Allan Donald, about a mile tall I thought when I was eight, easing steadily up to the bowling crease, his strides free and rangy, his arms swinging gently. He takes a leap a from a few yards behind the umpire and glides through his delivery stride not so much hitting, as docking in the delivery crease like a great sailing-ship putting into port. And then, with the merest feint of his wrist, he pumped that little hard ball of compressed cork and leather through the air at everything but 100 miles per hour. Vorsprung durch technik.

And for context’s sake, he achieved all this while playing for Warwickshire CCC in the 1990s – one of the most drug-addled teams sport has ever known (on which, perhaps, more another time).

Here he is visiting chaos, pestilence and devastation on England (and this one quite near the end of his career). He should probably play this video at the job interview. Or failing that just aim one of those rearing, jagging, fizzing leather missiles at the panel’s heads.

6.12: The title “how they’ll think of the internet after the world ends” just popped up in one of my RSS feeds while I was cogitating a troublesome sentence.

6.46: Well that sentence was licked eventually into shape, but we’re still hardly rampaging through the plot-scheme like communism across the post-war Caucuses. Perhaps what I need is one of those men in a suit and clip board to call, and give me a session on developing my output, and consolidating my synergies, which hymn sheets I should be singing from, the flag poles I ought to be saluting…

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~ by David Thorley on February 4, 2010.

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