Games people play

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The Independent Online
John Brown, 44, publisher.

I used to play a lot of cricket for the Virgin Casuals, which I started when I worked for Richard Branson. A friend and I were appalled that the proper Virgin team took it all so seriously. They shouted at us when we dropped catches, so we started the Casuals as a protest. It exists as a team to this day, and is quite successful, except that none of the players work for, or have anything to do with Virgin.

But the two most interesting games I've ever played were ones that were made up. I went to school at Westminster, and one term we invented a game called Nelgeing the Flune, which we pretended was a very old school game that we'd rediscovered. It was a bit like lacrosse, except that you played it with tennis rackets and a ceremonial rugby ball. The Times came and wrote it up and everything.

The other game was about two years ago, when the Viz team and I went to a charming hotel called Huntsham in Devon, which is like staying at a private house where you don't have to do the washing up. A number of people had asked us for a Viz film, and we thought we'd go down there and write a script.

We spent about four days in Devon, which was absolutely useless, because we couldn't write a script to save our lives. Instead, we invented a game called Stick Bongo which we played for hours on the lawn every day. You each have a cricket stump, and you have to kick a football and try to hit the other person's stump. We meant to copyright the game and make a fortune, but we never did, which is why I'm not going to tell you the secret rules.

John Brown's participation in cricket is now limited to his publishing "Wisden Cricket Monthly". He claims that its cover price buys "the best cricket magazine there is". Available from all good newsagents. However, we're not going to tell you how much it costs.

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