Wednesday 10 July 2013

Duckworth Lewis Method & Billy Cooper

Neil Hannon
My dear old thing.

On a blue sky day, while the tiny urn is being used as a Lilliputian prop by the captains of England (& Wales) and Australia to motivate their Ashes heroes the unfortunate troops at Trent Bridge today will be missing their musical talisman.
Billy Cooper, the Barmy Army's trumpeter,  has been banned by officials at the Nottinghamshire ground and the terraces will be silent.

Billy Cooper
Fear not. Between the superior ramblings of our beloved Test Match Special pundits you can still hear Cooper's motivational call in your headphones by listening to Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh's latest album 'Sticky Wickets' whilst on the terraces today. Without any chance of rain across the country this will be the only Duckworth Lewis Method in operation and one with much more cheek than the dry but essential system of deciding curtailed cricket matches.

Simon Little - Bass
Just two nights ago (08/07/2013) I was lucky enough to sketch this caricaturistic 6 piece outfit in all their finery, complete with moustachioed groupies at Lords Cricket Ground. A chance to sample their new material and a few favourites from their debut album at the home of cricket. Now you must know Duckworth Lewis Method's material is heavy influenced by the gentleman's game and like the game itself a mixture of tradition and charming intricacies.

Thomas Walsh
Lyricist Neil Hannon looked every bit at home in these surrounding, potted palms cast striped shadows across his attire. The only blots on the colonial landscape being the giant photos of Michael Atherton and Alec Stewart peeping through the foliage. Hannon is a Tufnellesque figure, the slim physique, the slight redness around the lower lid of the eye and penchant for good living.

Tosh Flood
Thomas Walsh is the perfect partner to Hannon with an air of Bumble about him. No, not David 'Bumble' Lloyd who appears on the second album but the Dickensian poorhouse beadle from Oliver Twist. An impressive figure who actually carries the audiences' focus and humour on his sturdy shoulders whilst Hannon is squirreled away at his keyboard.

It is easy to be swept away by the lyrics of this intelligent group but it was the musicality and undercurrents of sentiment that caught me at deep-backward-square rather than tickle my silly-mid-off. Tosh Flood played beautifully on 'The Nightwatchman', a lament for the last man standing, and they play it as though we watched a man on the battlements rather than at the crease. 'Out in the middle' tugs your heart with its floating 1970's melodies and 'Line and Length' were both 'jaffers', the latter was a chance for Hannon to rise above us once again on guitar.

DLM fans Lol and Emma Dyer
I was taken aback that it was the music rather than the lyrics that effected me most, even though I am a man who is eagerly lapping up every word of Aggers, Maxwell, Vaughan and Blowers on the radio this very day on TMS. I know it is this wordplay that attracts many in the crowd to support the Duckworth Lewis Method, they love that cricket has complex rules, idiosyncrasies and complexities, it makes them feel members of the club more than an any 'egg and bacon' tie. Don't forget the music though, it's got the Trent Bridge officials running scared, why else would they ban the innocent trumpet from England's green and pleasant land.



  1. Superb - can't decide whether the artwork or the wordcraft is the more eloquently expressed with a pen!

    1. Thanks Dr Fizzy, wouldn't have been there if hadn't been for your generosity.