September 30, 2020
The poet, comedian and Actor takes on his generation’s big one. And, yes, he is well aware of the responsibility
Tim Key: when the Ashes and the Edinburgh festival aligned in 2005
By Tim Key for Wisden Cricket Monthly
You think I’m not nervous writing about the 2005 Ashes? You think I don’t understand the responsibility? If you’re over 50 there is another contender. Of course there is. You’ve got Botham, 1981 and all that: commentators checking out of hotels early, olden-days folk listening to the wireless in traffic jams, Willis’ locks steaming in, Botham’s huge arms, Botham’s sixes, Botham’s cigar. Botham. If you’re under 15, then fair play, you’re all about Stokes and Leach, and good luck to you. Anything in between though and there’s only one summer for you: 2005. No ifs. No buts. And my experience of it, as a rookie comedian, was as follows.
When you’re a cricket fan, your summer is defined by the Test match itinerary. Similarly, when you’re a young comedian, your summer is defined by the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. When you’re both, things get blurry. August starts to stretch, quite palpably, at the seams. It squeaks. If it’s an Ashes summer, the problem becomes bigger. And if it’s the greatest Ashes contest of all time, you’re done for.
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