Malcolm sped into the kitchen in his jeans and pink rubber gloves. 'What do they DO in the bathroom?' he wondered. He dropped his flatmate's magazines into the bin, stashed his bottle of disinfectant, checked his reflection in the teapot and grabbed his list. They would be here soon. His first party of the new decade. Vacuuming – check. Straightening the furniture – good. Artwork – check. He'd taken down the tatty band posters and put up some new space travel ones he borrowed from the physics department, as well as the one with the close-up of the bikini bottoms and the message 'Hang loose!'. The scene was set.
Soon they'd be here, he'd greet them at the door, they'd pay the cover charge (correct change, please) and pick up a paper cup of punch, and start talking to each other about whatever people talk about at these things. Their studies, things happening in the news, Vietnam, cricket. The list again. Music. Music! Where was the band? Don't they wear watches? It was a simple arrangement, surely – book them, and they will come. He'd made a simple request that they clean their instruments first. Had he missed something? People seemed to like music at parties. He dusted off Frank Sinatra's 'Watertown' and put it on the record player. Good. Groovy, most likely.
Where was everyone? Weren't they aware he was destined for great things? Didn't they notice how easily he influenced people? He could shape big things. His skills were legendary in the department. He could head off any speculation with accurate precedent, he'd illuminate political gossip with legal anecdote. At his birthday party he'd had those guys from commerce eating out of his hand. The sociology girls from next door were always complicating these affairs with quite strange ideas that made some of the guests uncomfortable. Malcolm had tried to explain the simple transactional nature of social gatherings. He'd tried to explain that fundamental market forces apply – his supply creates a demand. Talk and they will listen.
He looked at the clock and frowned. They will come.
As I write, Antarctica is knocking at the door, the shadows are long on the television and Bryan Waddle is delivering one of his dire verdicts that sound like a homily from a hungover coach. Sri Lanka, that flighty mountain goat of a cricket team, are capering past our paltry score. Which bleak clichés will you enjoy today? A dose of reality. Stumbling toward a semi. I turn on the TV and Ian Smith is gruff. I turn the radio back on. Smithy is there also. I hope he's careful, this world cup seems to have a high rate of attrition. Rigor has gone missing. Jerry Coney is still astray. Has it been that bad?
For cricketing enlightenment in difficult times, you must try 'Ganesha Speaks', where you can view, among other things, Daniel Vettori's biorhythm report. Scroll down to view the head to head strength charts, with our Dan taking on Ricky Ponting. Superb.
Humour ought to help. Who said sports fans don't deal in satire? Unfortunately at this site they have to spell it out, but they've wholesome mirth aplenty. The team in the studio here particularly Malcolm Speed's announcement of the 'Super Surprise' round, featuring NZ v France, and the mid-Super 8 "Vicars and Hoes" [sic] fancy dress party.
Macca has been quiet lately, since the moratorium on players blogging. And the tour diaries of the Black Caps have been consistently artful, with James Franklin emerging as the new Barry Crump.