Gig review: The Duckworth Lewis Method, Lord’s Cricket Ground, London
Tuesday 09 July 2013
“We're not doing a cheese album,” quips Neil Hannon, sporting a Carry On Up the Jungle pith helmet to his fellow satirist, Thomas Walsh, who appears to be channelling WG Grace with his weighty beard.
The comic duo are performing on a small stage (pictures of Michael Atherton and Alec Stewart, a reminder of English cricket's dark days, adorn the wall behind them) in a carpeted function room at the home of cricket, two days before the Ashes commence. They're accompanied by the Barmy Army's Billy “The Trumpet” Cooper, who is banned from blowing his instrument at Lord's matches. Not here, though, where absurdity rules.
“If you’re going to flash, flash hard,” intones Hannon on The Duckworth Lewis Method’s deliciously daft “Boom Boom Afridi”, from the pair’s second cricket-themed record, Sticky Wickets. Commentator David “Bumble” Lloyd, who appears on the album along with Daniel Radcliffe, is sadly absent from this determinedly jaunty affair.
DLM's “concept”, conceived by Hannon (The Divine Comedy) and Walsh (Pugwash), isn’t quite as droll as the first time around on The Duckworth-Lewis Method. There isn’t anything, for instance, that quite matches “Jiggery Pokery” about the fiendish spin delivery Shane Warne propelled down to a befuddled Mike Gatting in the 1993 Ashes: “Robbery, muggery, Aussie skullduggery/ What in the buggery/ Was his delivery?”
There have been gently mocking songs about cricket before – most notably Half Man Half Biscuit’s unprintable ode to Fred Titmus and Roy Harper’s “When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease”– but nothing as erudite as this. I doubt the Pakistani middle-order firebrand Javed Miandad ever imagined he would get his own lovely pop anthem, and “Meeting Mr Miandad” is a highlight here.
As is their new track “Out in the Middle”, which even slyly mocks Lord's: “You can have an Oxbridge PHD/ You can have a box at the MCC/ But have you got what it takes to be out in the middle.”
Their plinky-plonky pastiches, which are interspersed with spoken word discourses, variously recall Gilbert & Sullivan, ELO, glam-rock, Ben Folds Five and Flanders and Swann. These deft lyricists wryly herald the underdog (“The Umpire), eccentricity and old-fashioned values (“The Laughing Cavaliers”), and even deliver the odd googly. The caustic “It's Just Not Cricket” spins rather viciously out of the rough with the lyric “Bend over bank-man and take one for the team/ A billion dollar bonus and a handshake from the queen/ It’s not right, it’s just no cricket.”
It's a rare moment of seriousness in this supremely silly [mid-off] experience.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If you're not already angry about the migrant crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 2 David De Gea: Manchester United goalkeeper's £29m move to Real Madrid off - because paperwork 'not done in time'
- 3 Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
- 4 A Chinese journalist has appeared on state television 'confessing' to causing the stock market chaos
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge on the show?'
Wes Craven dead: Why Johnny Depp owes his career to director’s 13-year-old daughter
Trevor Noah, Edinburgh Fringe review: New Daily Show host warms up in inspired style
VMAs 2015: You can already buy ‘Kanye West for president’ t-shirts
VMAs 2015: Taylor Swift and her buddy Kendrick Lamar clean-up at awards - full list of winners
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms