Now I like classical music and I love cricket! Listening to Test Match Special (TMS) - Aggers, Blowers, Boycs and all - is truly one of the sounds of an English summer - especially with this weather...
And tuning into Katherine Jenkins - Sunday evenings on Classic FM - will invariably see me reaching for the knob. But classical music and cricket together?
England narrowly won the First Test against Australia (14 runs) despite the absence of their greatest cheerleader, Billy The Trumpet Cooper. Billy, an orchestra professional, was banned by the ground authorities in Nottingham, due to a long-standing ban on musical instruments. And Lord's – the headquarters of cricket – announced that it will permit no music at all in the Second Test, which started the day before yesterday, except for the two national anthems at start of play.
How do they expect cricketers and fans to get in the groove without music to cheer them on?
It’s very sad – one of the great things about cricket in the Caribbean, for example, is the music you get in the crowd. It adds atmosphere and far from distracting the players, probably inspires and encourages them. Shame on Lord's and Trent Bridge. In fact, music has never been allowed at Lord’s! I’d rather listen to Billy playing his trumpet than the mindless junk many cricket (and rugby) venues play through their loudspeaker systems when there is the slightest pause in the games. It’s as though they think nobody can tolerate a moment’s silence!
|Billy at the WACA|
Billy is truly the embodiment of English eccentricity. He belongs to a boisterous ragtag band of sports fans called the Barmy Army. They're considered "barmy" for very good reason: These people follow England's national cricket team - and spending their hard-earned to boot - everywhere.
They travel all over the world, sitting through rain and sweltering sunshine, watching games that can last up to five days, cheering and chanting lustily, even when defeat is certain - in fact, sometimes inevitable.
As his nickname suggests, Billy Cooper is a fine trumpeter. Ten years or so ago, Billy started showing up for cricket matches with his instrument.
His heartfelt renderings from within the crowd of the Blackadder theme, "YMCA" and — when England are about to lose — "The Last Post" — soon made him famous. Billy's trumpet became one of the signature sounds of the English summer, along with the whack of croquet mallets, whining lawn mowers and Jonathan Agnew on TMS.
But no Billy at Lord's? - it sucks!
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