30 July 2009

A Dish Served Reheated

We need to have a little talk about Freddie, and it should happen before more cricket happens because he is already turning into a bit of a moving target.

First Act: of praise

I have been mulling over Freddie since he announced his retirement, because he really was something in 2005:

In 2005 with him and Harmison and Hoggard it was like England, exasperated by endless criticism of the county system as an incubator of talent, simply decided to pull a bunch of thugs out of the pubs and off the streets (Hoggard out of a turnip patch) and unload them onto the pitch. They were such specimens of strength and health, but it was a Barbarian ideal rather than the usual Greco-Roman one. And then there was the beastie brain that eyed appreciatively the layer of fat that said they could not only survive the colder months but bring plenty of dead things back to the cave and elbow out the rest of the herd for more than their fair share.

Before I rummaged the above picture out of the Useful Box I searched on the net for Flintoff's spread-eagle stance as I remembered it and not finding anything to my satisfaction entered "blond viking" into Google Image instead and found this:

I liked the stance, but that really is more the Greco-Roman type and indeed I think we all know now how Shane Watson has been occupying himself while off with injuries (or how he gets them all?). What we learn from this however - Ponting take note - is that whoever faces off against a blond viking is inevitably a hideous orc.

But archetypal physiognomies aside, in 2005 it was also the special thrill of being caught up in a moment. The article that went with the picture of Freddie above is called: “Planets into alignment as Freddie stands tall with bat and ball”. It’s not that it was a fluke of circumstance but that whatever it was, was also the crowd and the time and the place and the season all coming together in that special sport way that turns a bunch of contingencies into something pre-ordained and makes you part of the action.*

* I keep thinking of Freddie as Milla Jojovich in the Fifth Element, and each of the elements of wind, earth, water and fire get activated and then there’s the big pash from the crowd/Bruce Willis and Freddie/Milla throws his head back and a huge beam of light pulses through him that pulverises the ‘Great Evil’ (Russell Crowe, even then?).

Second Act: but if this is a eulogy, doesn’t that means he’s dead?

So, I want to render unto Freddie what belongs to Freddie, but now we come to this now in 2009 and I’m pretty sure one of my French philosophers says that there’s something unholy about trying to repeat a passion.

After the last match one of my cricket friends was telling me about her turn-around on the Flintoff front (from Good Flintoff to Bad Flintoff) and I said yes, it all felt a bit reheated. And reheated is I think the word: a bit crusty round the edges and possibly only lukewarm in the middle. It’s obvious in one sense to say that it all seems a bit posey now, but I don’t mean his vogueing, more that it's like an amateur re-enactment, like he's playing himself, and it isn't completely convincing. I would not be surprised if he ripped off his own head in the dressing rooms to reveal Tony (or was it AndrĂ©?) Dimera underneath.

And he’s injured. Injured! Do you have any idea what that does to his Paleolithic stocks? Beastie brain has already curled up a lip and turned back to its cosmopolitan.

Of course in Edgbaston in 2005 and for some time after that we could enjoy Freddie because we didn’t know he and his mob would - could! - damn well win the whole thing. I’ll grant there’s a bit of “oh no!” going on here.

Nevertheless, please for your comparison:

2005 vs. 2009

I know my yoga teacher would say there’s a hell of a lot more heart chakra going on in exhibit A and I’d say she was right.


  1. If Freddie is Tony Dimera, does that make Stuart Broad Bo Brady?

  2. Not enough facial hair I think, although OBVIOUSLY these people are masters of disguise.

    I'm thinking Stuart Broad = SAMI Brady (note UNCANNY similarities between the names, including IDENTICAL initials, WHAT A GIVEAWAY).

    Wikipedia tells me that at some point "Sami dresses up as a man named Stan and workes (sic) for Tony DiMera and does many evil deeds."

    "Stan" (HA) = "Stuart"?
    "Evil deeds" = ?????!!!!