WHAT a week it's been for cricket. The drama of Melbourne, observed from the Thunder Bar, which is the only place open that time of the morning, to a thunderous snapping of suspender belts by the Ukrainian lapdancers who have by now developed a critical appreciation of cricket that is quite remarkable. And their immersion is in Test cricket, not the inferior one-day game nor the unspeakable Twenty20.
As curvaceous Katinka of the Crimea put it as Tim Bresnan bagged the final wicket for England to beat the Aussies by an innings plus: "Zis iss der real game, der Test, iss like der chess. Vun day iss der draughts. Tventy20 iss der pocket billiards! Me yiff you kissee, yes?" These gals learn really fast from the punters around them. They would fit in well at Lord's.
Yes, drama all the way, and not just in Melbourne. Here at Kingsmead it was a tantalising seesaw, plenty of action, Test cricket at its best. Okay, we blew it but that's showbiz. We get our chance again this weekend in Cape Town, but it seems even if we do pull it off we haven't done enough to pip India in the world ratings. But we'll be right up there.
Cricket is a strange game, and I was conducting research at The Pub With No Name the other evening when a sudden squall of rain drove research in an entirely different direction. I was with two fellow-members of the Florida Road rugby colloquium (now in summer recess). One second the night was clear and the festive lights were twinkling. The next a curtain of rain descended like a monsoon and people were scrambling for indoors. Perfect strangers found themselves sharing tables, some of the ladies so enticingly drenched that one wanted to invite them home to get out of those wet things.
It was like being at a Miss Wet T-Shirt competition on the London Underground, everything very close-up and with drinks being served. As I say, perfect strangers were thrust into conversation.
One of our perfect strangers and she was pretty damned near perfect was a blonde from London who seemed to be conducting some kind of medical research. She wanted to know what, er, medication we males favour for performance enhancement in, er, the Lists of Venus.
This is not a usual topic of conversation in The Pub With No Name, where it is generally presumed without question that the habitués are of exceptional prowess in such matters. There was a great deal of joshing and I was perhaps able to point her in the right direction with some information about bangalala muti, developed in Lusikisiki by the late millionaire herbalist Khotso Sethunsa, who had a string of wives and even more mistresses. I think they call it advertising by example. I hope it helps in her researches.
Yes, sport can take us in all kinds of unexpected directions. More cricket this New Year's weekend, Newlands and Sydney. More of the Thunder Bar. You need bangalala muti to see you through.