Saturday, 8 September 2012

A birthday

Today is Mrs FB's birthday.  Fantasy Bob's week has therefore been a frantic pursuit of a fitting tribute to her.  He tried to interest her in a new pair of batting gloves, but this suggestion was spurned.  Eventually he recieved an instruction to abandon his serial visits of Edinburgh's more prestigious jewellery shops.  This may have been just in time.  For the cctv systems in these shops were recording the visits of a shifty looking character whose only action was to hover in front of cases filled with all manner of treasures which even a casual observer could see to be well beyond his means.  It was only a matter of time before the police arrived and nicked him.

Mrs FB thought a painting would be nice.  As FB put his easel up and looked to get to work, she added in clarification, ' a proper artist.'  So there could be no doubt.  FB's expressionist study of doughty groundsman at work in the midday sun will have to await another commissioner.

FB is interested to discover that Mrs FB shares a birthday with some cricketing eminences - including Geoff Miller, the current England selector and the late Terry Jenner spin bowler and coach, and mentor to Shane Warne.  She also shares her birthday with some notable non-cricketers including Richard the Lionheart - fact of no relevance and scant interest.

A more interesting co-birthday holder is the great comic actor Peter Sellers, one of FB's all time favourites.
Regretably Sellers was not a cricket fan.  In the movie What's New Pussycat, Sellers plays a psychiatrist treating Peter O'Toole who attempts to convince him that he is not in need of psychiatry by the means of reciting the laws of cricket.  Sellers as the psychiatrist listens patiently before asking 'Cricket?  Is there any sex in it?' 'No,' says O'Toole, 'cricket is a game for gentlemen played by gentlemen.' 'Then it is sick....sick.'

At other times however, Sellers put on a show of being a cricket obsessive.  He did this particularly to gain the good opinion of the Boulting brothers, highly important film producers in the UK in the 1950s.  The brothers were cricketophiles of the first order.  John Boulting ran a charity side in the area of London in which Sellers at that time lived and he thought that it would do his career good if he offered to turn out as a celebrity player.  His cricketing skills were untested, but he ended up with a valuable 5 year contract.  The brothers said they signed him because he was handy with a bat and can talk cricket.  and he continued to talk cricket in their presence.  Fine films such I'm All Right Jack and Heaven's Above followed, but no film about or featuring cricket, more's the pity.

As far as FB is concerned, Peter Sellers' greatest performance was in Stanley Kubrick's Doctor Strangelove.  Which was not a cricket movie.  Despite this, it also carries the approval of Mrs FB.

Here is a birthday present in the form of a clip from this great movie.

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