Saturday, 6 January 2018


Fantasy Bob has been avoiding the distressing reports about England's continuing Ashes humiliation by immersing himself in the biography of Gustav Mahler, a present on his recent birthday. 
Gustav Mahler at the end of his run up
As his worldwide handful of faithful readers knows, it has long been FB's quest to determine the bowling action of the great Austrian symphonist.  At last he seemed to have an opportunity to make progress on this vital question.  This authoritative biography would surely have much to say on the subject.  FB's hopes were built up only to be dashed again.

Shamefully, although the author addresses some important questions such as did Mahler ski (his conclusion is not), there is absolutely nothing at all about his cricketing prowess.  That Mahler must have been a cricketer is transparently obvious to anyone with a passing familiarity with his work - after all what is The Song of the Earth other than a series of hymns to the variable quality of wickets  encountered by Mahler?  But cricketing facts have been ruthlessly suppressed leaving FB no further forward.   Will he ever find confirmation of his intuitive speculation that Mahler was the originator of the Doosra?  It looks unlikely.

This is not to say that this biography is totally useless.  For besides all the stuff about death, melancholia, death, melancholia and death, it reveals important new information to FB namely that Mahler's cousin four times removed is Beyonce Knowles.
Beyonce - possible addition to the pace attack?

(For those of FB's handful of worldwide readers that are not up with these things, Ms Knowles is an American popular singer, apparently of some stature).

This is a momentous revelation.  On the face of it there is little similarity between Mahler's Songs for Dead Children and Beyonce's Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) - for example,  there is little evidence, at least to FB's ear, of off-stage cow bells in the latter piece.

So FB does not know how to assess this new information.  The book does not give any additional information beyond a bare statement of this relationship.  In particular the author has chosen not to give insight into Beyonce's bowling action. A lost opportunity, for it would surely display some inherited characteristics from Mahler's own action and so could be a vital clue in  FB's long, and so far unfruitful, search. 

FB will therefore have to do the hard work himself and review all available footage of Beyonce in search of clues as to whether she might be a worthwhile addition to the pace attack.  Life is hard.


  1. Whatever Beyoncé's skills as a bowler might be, a performance by her would have to be more entertaining than the lamentable English efforts down under. Destiny's Child, the girl band of which Beyoncé was originally a member, once released an album which sums up the current Ashes series - The Writing's On The Wall

  2. FB is in awe of your knowledge of Beyoncé's ouvre.