Friday, 16 September 2011


Swann waits to be told
 if he is to get the captaincy
Fantasy Bob shares the national rejoicing in the elevation of Graeme Swann to the position of captaincy of England T20 team for next week's matches against W Indies. No one is exactly sure why these matches are occurring but that should not detract from Swann's honour.  He is the fifth skipper to lead England this year and will bring his extensive leadership experience gained from the Northants 2nd XI and Midlands under 14s  to the fore. 

Swann's merits go beyond his top notch offspin and his committed batting, since he is the recognised jokester and tweetster supreme of English cricket.  Would he continue the clowning?  Swann told reporters that, 'I  think [the jokes] will stop to a certain extent who see me on the field realise I'm not that funny out there anyway - I'm as grumpy as anyone - so I'll probably have to lighten up if anything.'  This could be Fantasy Bob speaking - not the funny bit obviously, but the grumpy bit definitely.  Few would have thought it possible for FB to be outgrumped - they may be about to be proved wrong.  Whether Swan will tweet his fielding changes to his players rather than use more conventional means of communication remains to be seen.

A song about off spin
So good luck to Swanny next week.  In 1919 George Gershwin presaged this great event by writing his song Swanee.  This was Gershwin's first big hit and is most strongly associated with Al Jolson.  Legend has it that Gershwin and lyricist Irving Caesar wrote the song on the bus home through Manhattan.  No one knows how they came to fix on an English sportsman who had not been born yet and who would play in a game with which they were hugely unfamiliar as the subject of a song.   That is one of the great mysteries of art.  This is also Gerswin's only cricket song.

Gershwin went on to true greatness - as will Swanny, if he is not there already.  He was 21 when he wrote Swanee.  He died tragically young 18 years later from a brain tumour.  In those years his work fused classical and jazz traditions and delivered a string of highly distinctive hit songs that are still as fresh and inventive as the day they tripped off the piano in Gershwin's apartment.  He is the David Gower of song writers with grace, flair and easy talent to burn.    His influence on Amercian music and popular music remains profound.  The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song was inaugurated in 2007 and is given to a composer or performer for their lifetime contribution to popular music.  Paul McCartney was the most recent recipient.  Previous winners were Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.  Brian Wilson has just released an album of his interpretations of Gershwin standards.  Form is temporary but class is eternal.

George Gershwin gets to grips with scoring

Here is FB's Gershwin First XI

The Man I Love
Embraceable You
They Can't Take That Away From Me
Lady Be Good
I Got Rhythm
Love Walked In
Let's Call The Whole Thing Off
Bess You Is My Woman Now
Someone To Watch Over Me
But Not For Me
Test Match Quality.

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