I love the cricket. They have a pitch here, and pads and bats but these are solely for stalking about the high street in a vague pretence towards A Clockwork Orange. But no my droogs, no cricket is played. Which is fine because whilst cricket is my favourite sport, then also it is not that at all. It is indeed a game I have been reminded (several times). And yes a test match is five days long. Lovely. When I’m painting or drawing, or building and gluing then better even than talky-books is the cricket. I listen and look up twice an over or when something happens. Or more likely nowadays (if it’s actually on Real Tele at all) bound down the stairs in time to catch the replay of a wicket lost that I’ve caught on the radio. I can’t write and look up twice an over.
But this, that or noses for nannies aside then in a high street in South London and many years ago it was unusually quiet, No doubt in that dead time after the bones of lunch and before the zombie walk home from school. And coming in the direction opposite I spy a familiar figure. He looks at me as I look at him and I cannot recall who he is, only that he’s very familiar. This is of course embarrassing and by now I’m finger raised and query-browed. He likewise, and so we stop, confused and awkward reflections.
You’ve had the conversation.
‘Hello there, no-name-used.’
‘Hi yeah, how are you and the same-back-to-you?’
Yeah we definitely know each other and just as much we neither know who the other is. Or one so clearly does that the other can only assume likewise. So as you have done too I say, ‘Busy at the weekend?’
‘Well there’s the game.’
We laugh, oh how jolly we are. Both nervous we both spark up. Only, one of us has to offer second-light. But I’ve got it. Hell I work with games, I play games – games it has to be said is what I do. It’s the game. A game. At the weekend and probably a work game. We laugh again and say something about something else, we nod. We’re stuck here with our fags and if we’re not careful we’ll soon be in the pub catching up. Catching up!
We don’t and we part and with more relaxed laughs. We walk on and I turn and he has too, as puzzled as I. If I were to pat my tummy so would he. It must be like this when evil Spock, or evil Bender, or the evil one from Bros bump into Spock, Bender, or the other one in Bros. I mean you don’t want to say anything do you? And hell, your evil self that you’ve not seen for ten years has probably got a terribly evil girlfriend. Caroline Munro circa 1973 almost certainly.
But home and a few days later and it’s not my evil twin, or one of them from Bros.
It was Phil Tufnell. Now far more famous from A Question Of Sport and Celebrity Tele but then just a neat spin bowler and playing for England.
It was Phil Tufnell and there was no Caroline Munro.
Much as it tickles me I can’t help thinking it might have been nicer the other way around.