Monday, 19 December 2011

The Surreal

With Carlton, the go-ahead Edinburgh cricket club expected to announce the results of its world-wide hunt for a new coach shortly, Fantasy Bob can reveal that one candidate at the top of the short-list dramatically withdrew his application at the weekend.

Salvador Dali -
favourite for Carlton job
Salvador Dali, better known as a surrealist painter than a cricket coach, might seem an unlikely candidate for a coaching position at the club, but the selection committee was determined to investigate as broad a range of possibilities as it could.  Just to plump for the usual bat or bowler with a Level 3 or 4 qualification would have been too easy.  The box needed to be thought outside of.   Something special and something different to allow the club to build on its championship season was what was required.  And the most famous exponent of surrealism might just have been the ticket.

There are cricketers who claim that as an artistic and philosophical movement surrealism has seen better days. The movement that was begun in Paris by Andre Breton in the 1920s and which proved hugely influential, particularly in the visual arts of the mid 20th century, has done nothing for cricket.  These critics also point out that Dali himself died in 1989, a factor which could get in the way of him being able to take a full schedule of net practice sessions at Grange Loan.  He might also have difficulty communicating with the junior members whose command of artistic idiom is not yet advanced.  However, the selection committee, justifiably, considered that such a view was overly conventional.  The surreal has the power to liberate the cricketer from the literal and quotidian, surprising batters and bowlers alike with its dream-like depictions of the raw power of the unconscious.  The committee was confident that the possibility of melting stumps and lobsters masquerading as cricket bats could take the club to to new levels.

Dali's most famous cricket picture
However, at the last stage, Dali controversially withdrew his application.  Fantasy Bob understands that he was outraged by events during the world famous Carlton Christmas Quiz.  The quizmaster, aka the club's popular skipper  Fraggle Watts, posed the question 'Which artist said,  'The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad'?'

Teams presented their answers, whereupon Fraggle pronounced that the answer was Pablo Picasso.

The response was immediate.    Dali spoke to FB from beyond the grave, 'It is outrageous.  I'm missing Strictly Come Dancing final to listen to Carlton quiz and this happens.  This is my most famous quote of all time.  I actually use it in my application form to Carlton.  I meet Fraggle.  I think he is my kind of guy who see a lobster in every telephone.  But then he compare me to Picasso - this is flash outside the off stump too far, this is one grassing dolly catch at cover point too many.  Picasso, pah! With his blue period, his pink period, his minotaurs, his Guernicas.  What kind of cricket is that - where are the melting clockfaces?  No, I no work with Fraggle.  He and me is finito, big time.  I withdraw my lobsters.  Carlton, so called go-ahead club, can look elsewhere for coach.'

Fraggle Watts in surreal garb
And with that the line went dead before FB could advise the incandescent surrealist that FB's own all-star quiz team had correctly identified Dali as the originator of the quote.  This might have appeased Dali, who would soon realise that when FB's Fourth XI take the field they embody the surreal in all senses of the term. FB's team were were on the point of demanding a UDRS of the answer given by Fraggle. It could have been critical to the result.  However when the innings closed, FB discovered his team had won the match ahead of the team from Carlton's deadly rival Grange CC.  Not wishing to embarrass Fraggle any further, but keen, sportingly, immediately to rub the Grange noses in the vinegar of defeat, his team declined the official challenge in favour of accepting without delay the handsome trophy and the adulation of the handfuls of fans in attendance.

FB spoke on behalf of his team, 'This is the greatest moment of our sporting lives.  All the years of intense training have finally paid off.  We're gutted about Dali, but, to be honest, we weren't sure he was right for the club.'

Why would FB have doubts about Dali?  FB's researches had established that the Spaniard's second most famous quote was  'I am going to my room to masturbate before I have a light lunch if you would like to come and watch.'  which, according to FB's sources, he uttered to a selection committee interviewing him for a previous coaching appointment.  FB would be concerned that Dali might take the same attitude to tea during the cricket season - a risk Carlton might not wish to take.

Meanwhile Fraggle commented, 'We got off lightly.  Having FB associated with this club is surreal enough.'

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