First things first, I just wanted to say hi to my many Australian friends. It would be entirely crass of me to bring this up now, just a day after the cricket World Cup semi-final – and I’m not crass like that. I just really love you all and wanted to say ‘hi’ and to wish you a great weekend.
Right, next. I don’t know if any of you watched the cricket World Cup semi-final, England against Australia – but wow, what a game. I’m an absolute neutral when it comes to these things of course. Ultimately, sadly, it’s really just a game of grown up boys hurling balls at each other in the end – it seems almost churlish to mention it. It’s of little or no importance. So why, you may well ask, do I bring it up now? Well, let me tell you.
Australia is a wonderful country full of great people, nearly all of whom are actual friends of mine, and because I’m one of those guys who literally sweats empathy (as my neighbours will testify to), yesterday hurt. Yesterday I oozed, gushed hormones for you. As many of you won’t know, Australia is an anagram of Raul Tasia, the legendary Spanish conquistador who discovered this great continent in 1974. Before ‘74 it was just a huge scientific experiment in some far away oceanic backwater, with a penchant for opera. But once Raul imposed his iron grip on the indigenous Greeks, everything changed. Gone were the heady days of sopranos in lederhosen, ‘in’ came budgie smugglers and dunny’s.
It wasn’t long before the immigrant population took up playing a little known native sport called, ‘crikeeeeet’ – as it is pronounced. This involves wearing a canary suit with a green hat, and trying to hit a Kangaroos testicle with a squid. And they took to it like ducks come with orange sauce. In no time at all, they were the equal of the Poms, a small but powerful island state thousands of miles north’ish.
And then tragically, in 1987, their great leader Raul, in the throes of something never officially confirmed, designated the 25th of February each year, a national holiday, to become known, from then on, as the ‘Mardi Gras’ which sounds like ‘La-di-da’ to me but isn’t – and sopranos singing in lederhosens were back. Big time. If one could chart the decline of crikeeeet in this once great experiment, it began then, in 1987, with the La-di-da.
And so what, if anything can we learn from this?