Sunday, 31 October 2010

An Ashes Hero

Fantasy Bob thinks it urgently necessary to restore the reputation of the great fast bowler Richard Wagner as an Ashes hero. It is not for nothing that Wagner was once regarded as the Dennis Lillee of the opera house.  But despite this accolade, FB finds that the significance to the Ashes of Wagner's great gesamtkunstwerk, The Ring of the Nibelungen has constantly been disregarded by the critics.  Why?  After all, at the end of the final piece in the cycle, Gotterdamerung, as Brunnhilde throws herself on her beloved Seigfied's funeral pyre and the walls of Valhalla crumble into the Rhine, the whole world has been rendered to Ashes. 

Wagner - master of the full pitched delivery
This should be a clue.  But no; facile and over-clever critics suggest that the work is an indictment of the impacts of capitalist greed on the qualities of love and honour.  Other even more facile and self-regarding interpreters see it as the radical endorsement of capitalism as an engine to overthrow the corrupt established order.  But for FB, the Ashes is what it is about.  

The work is deep in symbolic meaning, and FB suspects that this is the problem.  One mistake in recognising the true reference of the symbols and you are lost.

FB's analysis starts from the ring itself - conventional interpretations are shockingly literal minded and see the ring as a ring that will bring mastery of the world to its owner.  FB's detailed analysis of Wagner's writings allow him to dispel this nonsense.  Examination of early drafts, and the pre-medieval sagas that were Wagner's source materials, demonstrates clearly that the ring represents Michael Vaughan's knee cartilage. 

Once this clue has been unravelled, it all falls into place.  In the early part of the cycle we see how the mighty hero Seigmund Botham finds a weapon (ie a cricket bat) left in a tree by his protective father (ie Brearley) and goes on to score 149* at Headingley.   Later and in possession of the cartilage Vaughan is triumphant - he is master of the world.  But evil dwarf Alberich Ponting continues to plot and manages to steal it and the cracks appear in the world.  A hero is required to regain the cartilage.  He must know no fear. That hero is discovered as Seigfreddie Flintoff.  Once these facts are established, it is obvious that Gotterdamerung is a highly prophetic representation of the 2006-7 series when the cartilage is lost forever and Seigfreddie is undone.  Some later critics recognise this and suggest that a fifth work was in planning in which Seigfreddie would search the waters again for the ring using a pedallo.  FB is more sceptical of this suggestion.

Yes, it all makes sense doesn't it?  But don't take FB's word for it.  The Ring Cycle is Test Match Quality -one of the highest achievements in sport.  Wotan's farewell to Brunnhilde is one of the greatest overs of fast bowling ever delivered.  Richard Wagner is a top Ashes hero. Try him.


  1. "But evil dwarf Alberich Ponting continues to plot and manages to steal it and the cracks appear in the world." haha nice...