A glance at the CPL

Stabroek News Sunday - - NEWS -

With the cur­rent CPL Cricket Tour­na­ment in full cry, a very nice lady from the lo­cal me­dia called ask­ing me to write some­thing, in a lighter vein, on the event. It was on a very tight dead­line, and she caught me on a day with a cou­ple roti on the tawa, so I had to beg off, but it was a sub­ject I had pre­vi­ously scrib­bled some notes on, and here they are. I have pre­vi­ously touched on the very touchy sub­ject of Test ver­sus T20, and won’t deal with that here; folks who can­not abide the dif­fer­ence – I call them “the Testy group” – are be­yond sav­ing any­how. My fo­cus to­day is es­sen­tially on the mat­ter the very nice lady had in mind – the CPL – and my notes are a mixed bag.

To be­gin with, I find some of the rah-rah con­nected with T20 to be over­done, but I recog­nise that once you go down that road, the ex­treme stuff is go­ing to seep in – you know, the lady with the ex­ces­sively large be­hind brac­ing the cam­era, or the pa­thetic home­made cos­tumes – so deal with the husk as well as the corn.

To sum­marise, what is hap­pen­ing in T20 is far more than just a cricket game – if you can’t see that, noth­ing any­one can write will help you, so I’m taking that as a given.

Af­ter a few matches of the CPL this year, some things are def­i­nitely bet­ter. From the first match, one could see the more pro­fes­sional light­ing now be­ing used on the danc­ing girls. (By the way, folks, the word de­scrib­ing what the ladies are do­ing is not ‘wine­ing’; booze is nowhere in sight. What they are do­ing is ‘wind­ing the waist’ and in Caribbean di­alects that be­comes ‘win’ing’… please). Pre­vi­ously the ladies would get out there and, frankly, just jerk the glu­teus max­imus around, with a good dose of back balling… that is con­ven­tional stuff and when you see a lot of it, which happens, bore­dom sets in. Now, with the use of a lit­tle imag­i­na­tion – more sub­dued light­ing, high­light­ing shapes and en­hanc­ing move­ment – we have a more sen­sual ef­fect but the way it’s done it moves from what used to be tacky, al­most vul­gar, into some­thing more artis­tic, and not so bradar, as we say in Guyana, and, thereby, more ac­cept­able. And while on this as­pect, the CPL pro­duc­ers have also clearly moved from the some­what an­gelic fe­male forms we see in other T20 tour­na­ments and are show­ing us in­stead the more volup­tuous shapes we’re known for in the re­gion. Again, if you find that of­fen­sive, turn off the damned TV (it’s yours; you don’t have to ask per­mis­sion) and go watch golf, or four guys play­ing poker.

It may be a small thing, but bet­ter this year as well is the CPL jin­gle. Okay, it’s a mod­ern soca/dance­hall fu­sion, but it’s an en­gag­ing piece of mu­sic, with a num­ber of twists and turns, well sung, and well recorded. Again, if that kind of mu­sic is not your bag, I re­mind you that your TV set or smart phone has a vol­ume con­trol. For young peo­ple think­ing of a mu­si­cal ca­reer, you can learn a lot about the craft of jin­gle writ­ing from study­ing the ones in the me­dia, and this year the CPL has a win­ning one in­deed. It’s com­merce, well done.

Now a com­plaint: across the board, all com­men­ta­tors, please stop be­ing so lib­eral with the “great shot” la­bel. I have seen it ap­plied to some of the most bla­tant cow swipes, or cross bat, where the ball ends up on the bound­ary. Cricket lovers fume when they see a ‘four’ be­ing ex­alted with no­body stop­ping to say, as is of­ten the case, that it re­sulted from a clumsy inept cricket shot. And on the ques­tion of com­men­tary, gen­er­ally, the stan­dard could do with some up­grad­ing. Lis­ten­ing to sev­eral of the games broad­cast so far, one is im­pelled to say, “Lord, help them if we take the word ‘what’ out of their vo­cab­u­lary. We are re­galed with ‘what a shot, what a hit, what an ath­lete, what a game, what a win,’ on and on.” For heaven’s sake CPL, hand those guys a dictionary, or lock them in a room and play them tapes of com­men­ta­tors who know the lan­guage and know how to put drama in the thing, what to em­pha­sise. Get some folks who know how to speak English with style and imag­i­na­tion … a shot to

Fthe bound­ary is not just “what a shot”… it’s “a flow­ing arc of power and con­trol, the ball run­ning away, ju­bi­la­tion in the stands”...what hap­pened to lan­guage like that? What hap­pened to “Lara, play­ing back, freez­ing for a mo­ment, as if weigh­ing his op­tions, and then mov­ing like a swords­man, slic­ing the ball to the bound­ary”…have the com­men­ta­tor mimic the NFL, fol­low­ing the cricket ball vo­cally, “he’s found a gap in the cov­ers, and the ball runs through, skim­ming the grass, bang­ing up against the bound­ary, mas­ter­ful, beau­ti­ful.” If you can’t do any­thing else, at least put up a huge sign in the broad­cast booth “The use of the ex­cla­ma­tion ‘what’ is banned from all broad­casts.” Also get them to lis­ten to the com­men­tary in the cur­rent WI-Eng­land and In­dia-Sri Lanka matches. in­ally, the tour­na­ment needs to pay more at­ten­tion to the folks han­dling their TV broad­casts. Some of them, es­pe­cially the Mor­ri­son gen­tle­man, are truly ex­ces­sive, “push­ing too hard” my young nephew says, and are of­ten clearly ig­no­rant about some as­pects of Caribbean cul­ture. If you’re go­ing to tell lis­ten­ers about the food, for in­stance, please put peo­ple to do that job who have at least tasted, if not made, the stuff. Mr Bishop and, par­tic­u­larly, Dar­ren Ganga, deal with cul­tural or so­ci­o­log­i­cal mat­ters well, in a re­laxed man­ner – Ganga shows a wide knowl­edge of all the play­ers; their ten­den­cies and fail­ings – whereas some of the out­side com­men­ta­tors can make us cringe. I un­der­stand the need for tele­vi­sion view­ers in­ter­na­tion­ally to hear an Aussie or English or In­dian voice, but come on guys; we’re in the Caribbean, get with it.

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