Friday, December 16, 2022

Being Geoffrey Boycott on a podcast

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My favourite cricket podcast is Oborne and Heller on Cricket, which can be hard to find if you don't know about it as its home is The Chiswick Calendar. As the name implies, that's a site devoted to this desirable London suburb.

In October, it had as guests Geoffrey Boycott and his co-author Jon Hotten, who between them have produced the book Being Geoffrey Boycott.

As the extensive summary on the podcast's page for this edition explains:
Geoffrey and Jon explain the scheme and origins of their “book of two halves”. Geoffrey’s is a detailed first-person diary from memory of every one of his Test innings from 1964 to 1982, undertaken at the behest of his wife Rachael in pandemic lockdown at their home in South Africa. 
Matt Thacker at the publishers Fairfield (like Jon a past guest on the podcast) had the idea of submitting it to Jon to respond to each passage, explaining its background and deepening the reader’s understanding of Geoffrey’s life and feelings at the time. 
Geoffrey had rejected Jon’s first effort (for making him sound like a stage Ee-Bah-Gum Yorkshireman) but after some conversations between them and more advice from Rachael Jon’s later drafts had grown on him (and he had cancelled his threat to run him out.)
Listening to this podcast, you are reminded what a riveting speaker on the game Boycott can be. Here he does without his gimmicks - there's not a stick of rhubarb or granny's pinny in to be heard - and, thank God, he does not have to contend with the puerile teasing of Jonathan Agnew.

It reminds you that Boycott is respected around the world as a broadcaster and batting coach.

Nor is he as stubborn as he's painted to be. He went ahead with the book at his wife's urging, even though he continued to have doubts about the idea.

And I was interested in his verdict, as a close friend of Brian Clough, on Dave Peace's The Damned Utd, as reported by his co-author:
"It's a brilliant novel, but it's nothing like the Brian."
Geoffrey Boycott: an intelligent and surprisingly subtle man.

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