The Televisor

Ninety-two years ago, and to a limited audience, ‘The Man with the Flower in His Mouth’ became the first piece of televised drama.  This three-character, Italian drama, set in a railway bar was the start of the narrative arc that ends in another three-character drama set near a bar, but without any Italians.

Nearly thirty-two years ago, a man working at CERN, wrote about a small project he had combining the concept of hypertext with TCP and DNS.  Nowhere in that project brief on the world’s first website was there a mention of possibility of using the idea to broadcast details of the latest wild hack across the line at Walsham to the world.  John Logie Baird and Tim Berners-Lee never knew of Ashley Forbes, local butchery legend, or Neil Baker, local building merchantry legend.  But they have unleashed them to the world, for Walsham Cricket Club is now competing with T-Series for You Tube audiences.

If you search hard enough, then you can find, recorded for all time, the moving images of Neil Baker plucking a right-handed swooping catch at first slip.  You can see how, very discreetly, he regains his feet and checks that most of his vertebrae are still in place.  You can also find footage of Forbes charging in from the Village End, bowling with a mellifluous action and such mesmeric grace that the beguiled opposition subsides.  The world is not big enough for such things.

As counterbalance, there are plenty of moments of comedy – the kind that only men and women trying to hit a sphere with a plank of wood can produce.  It records the calamitous middle-order collapse that Walsham specialise in – the type that sends numbers 8 and 9 running to the changing room discarding clothing en-route. It is only a shame that no footage exists of Ned Campbell at Haverhill fielding at short cover – but on reflection – the world is not ready for that moment.

On the field, Walsham no matter what the side or opposition, have won games with metronomic regularity.  The Sunday XI are perilously close to promotion out Division 5.  The Saturday 1sts continue to press the top three, with the second XI scoring freely – notably Simon Barrett with a maiden tonne at Woolpit.

So pull yourself up close, pour an iced drink, settle back, and watch, with the ‘Men on the Wooden Bench with Strong Opinions’, the drama unfurl.


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