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July 1 – Aus v Essex – Day 1

On May 30, 2010 the European Court of Justice declared le droit d’oubli (the right to be forgotten) to be a human right [1]. It is an old non-right Sophocles and the Greek philosophers might have debated at length, if they had thought of it, in an age where Delphi was adorned with stone dedications from those bent on immortality.

The French Revolution saw this for what it was, an affectation of the rich, and did their best to educate the rich with the guillotine and confiscate their wealth. It lasted for a while until the upstart Corsican turned the blood-stained rabble into an army, made himself Emperor and modernised French civil law. Napoleon had a well developed sense of personal identity as did the Russian Cossack and the Duke of Wellington.  When the French are not remembering, they are aching to forget.

The exploits of the modern cricketer these days are preserved less through oval honour boards and statues of the best loved, or the fading memories of players and spectators, than the newsreels if YouTube, which pile up on each other like the tide wash on the Thames. There is no Delphi, only the ubiquitous cloud.

As well as being a keen student of ancient history, The Prof is the Chairman of the Ashes Prank Committee [2]. He called an impromptu meeting during the lunch break today against Essex to table complaints from the player’s representatives. They read like a set of demands from a construction union:

  1. “An epidemic of anti-sledging civility has broken out. Jimmy is denouncing sledgers as game traitors. This is a work, health and safety issue. What the [expletive deleted] are you doing about it?” (Wicky)
  2. “Ashes history is written by the Victors. Rewrite it.” (Coach2.0) [Ed. This may have been taken out of context]
  3. “The Ashes tour is a sledge-free zone like a squishy apple past its prime.” (The Captain)

The committee concluded, by acclamation and leg stamping, that the weight of opinion demanded a stronger response from the Prank Committee in order to normalise relations with our English friends, Trevor’s bunch. The Prof knows a few people at Google and YouTube and invited them to quietly forget the page links to England’s Ashes victories in 2010 and 2013, and any other relevant collateral their team of post-graduate historical ethicists thought worthy of de-archiving.  In effect, they had a free hand to re-write the score books.

They came back late in the day seeking approval for a number of ‘Captain’s calls’. (At the time, Junior Junior Marsh was doing his very best to overwrite his name into the no. 6 berth for the First Test with another century (137no).) We were inclined to approve these requests unseen, until The Freak observed that meaningful deliberation would add the supplementary details our audience expected. I have recorded what I could for posterity:

  1. Links to England Ashes victories redirected to the Ashes summer down under 2013/14. YouTube links to same retitled as “Fantasy Cricket: choose your team”. Supplement: Links to Andrew Strauss redirected to Kevin Pietersen’s social media properties
  2. Links to Graeme Swann retired. Supplement: Swannie’s retirement speech spliced together with Andrew Strauss’ on-air KP blooper and academic articles about what it means to have your head up your arse
  3. Links to Stuart Broad diverted to Trapper’s best innings 2013-2015 – this runs for 24 hours. Supplement: SB’s bowling links diverted to the ‘Broad as Test Batsman 2014-15 short videos’
  4. ECB and England Team Management links diverted to The Headmaster, Eton  College, Windsor, SL4 6DW Supplement: Links to Alastair Cook retired or redirected (as appropriate) to Prefects Common Room (Fags Entrance), Rugby School, 2 Little Church Street, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV21 3AW c/o Messrs Anderson, Broad, Wood. Links to Ben Stokes diverted to Rugby School c/o Mr Prior, Sgt Major [Ed. There was some disagreement about Stokes. He is more like an Aussie than an Englishman]
  5. Trevor Bayliss Australian citizenship revoked under the new Anti-Terror (Foreign Fighters) legislation. Supplement: Links to Bayliss superannuation suspended, and his birth details inserted into the Strauss (the piano player) family tree.

We added one for The Captain. All his first ball ducks redirected to Alastair Cook and BB McCullum – they deserve each other in a sledge free world.

There was a lot of other minor work undertaken including SEO’s for the Gatting Ball, the Lyon Square Jeff, Pigeon’s greatest sledges, and 2015 World Cup Innings I Valued (Darren wanted this). It took us until stumps to work through the list, communicating decisions to Seattle as we made them. Everything was done by 7pm.

We sat and waited for the firestorm. It broke around 9pm GMT. Downing Street announced action in the ECJ to enforce a droit a la memoire. The English Association of Public Schools announced a class action against the French for anything to do with WWI frontal assaults, and the Greeks turned their finger to their EU bankers. The Prof had agreed to defend everyone from everyone else in his new human rights venture with noted mouthpiece Geoffrey Robertson QC, the latest business investment from the Players Pension Fund No 9.

I saw the Prof briefly at the bar after dinner. I knew he was after me; he had that look in his eye. He wanted to know why the Diaries of the 17th Man were trending #3 worldwide. ” A private matter Prof”, I replied. “I prefer to maintain my right to silence.”

As the Delphic Oracle always suggested on each way bets “Know Thyself.”

Australia 6/440 v Essex

[1] Google Spain v AEPD and Mario Costeja González C-131/12
[2] The other members are The Freak, Puff, Darren (Sarah’s delegate from the Department of Propaganda & High Performance) and I, as Committee Rapporteur and Treasurer


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