Hello and welcome
Welcome to this, a compendium of all things Blowers.
Life is as hectic for me as it ever was. I am trying to keep more balls in the air than ever before! I still commentate during the English summer on four or so Test Matches a year and one or two one-day Internationals for the BBC. I wonder each year if I can still do it any more, but I ﬁnd as soon as I get into the commentary box it all comes ﬂooding back and I get more fun out it than I ever have. Now, after poor old CMJ bit the dust a couple of years ago, I am the last of oldies still in harness. I suspect they should have put me out to grass years ago, but maybe there is something to be said for having a little bit of bottle age in the commentary team! For the last two years I have been in demand in Australia to commentate on International cricket for a a commercial network where I have done my best not to confuse long hops, yorkers and cover drives with Finger lickin' good Kentucky Fried Chicken. Not easy!
My other great love has become the theatre. I began to do some one-man shows in 2001, inspired by Dudley Russell who is the other half of Pam Ayres. For a few delightfully amusing shows I teamed up with John Bly of Antiques Roadshow fame. John, of course, knows more about Chippendale than Chippendale did himself. He is the greatest fun, the sharpest of dressers with a wonderful sense of humour. The latest news, hot off the press, is that he and I are about to join forces again which will be fantastic. There is a happy parallel between the Roadshow and Test Match Special and between Arthur Negus, the Roadshow's founder and John Arlott, the greatest cricket commentator of them all. The stories of both are hysterical.
For the last two years I have had the best fun of all with a two-man show I have put together with Peter Baxter who produced TMS for thirty- four years and did so much to make the programme what it is today. Backers and I did over 200 shows with 'Memories of Test Match Special' and we have done the full month at the Edinburgh Festival for the last two years. And The Times ave us a four-star rating! It was comedy, not cricket and it was a show that stretched far beyond the boundary and the actual game of cricket per se. No statistics, no coaching, just masses of laughter with the great stories of Brian Johnston, John Arlott and the others.
Now for the future! Backers and I are launching a new show, 'Rogues on the Road' in the second half of the Edinburgh Festival this year, in August 2015. This is going to be all about our hysterical adventures travelling round the world over the last ﬁfty years. All the hopeless airport tangles, the lost baggage, the visit to a brothel (after hours, of course!!) in the mining town of Kalgoorlie, my experience of taking a young Bollywood starlet out to dinner in Bombay, dinner at the Blue Mountain Inn in the mountains of Jamaica, a mugging after a calypso concert in Pirt of Spain, and on it goes.
Then there are the fun bits of my earlier life. Having lunch with Ian Fleming in Jamaica where I met Noel Coward. Going to dinner at Coward's house 'just down the road'. The background to all this is the family tie with that preeminent villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Fleming knew my father at Eton and I tell the story of how he pinched my family name for his white-pussy-striking baddie. 'Rogues on the Road' will be a lot of fun and so don't miss out. Backer and I have have a big autumn theatre coming up when we're playing all round the country. And, also hot off the press, there is a chance that I may join up with that wonderful, self-styled British Battle Axe, Christine Hamilton, for a few one-man, one-girl shows. They'll take us pretty near the edge I am sure and maybe, just occasionally, right over the top!
And now another thing. If you would like to use me as an after dinner speaker when we'll all have a terriﬁc laugh, you will ﬁnd on this sensational new website exactly how to book my sense of humour. You can also discover how to buy my own labelled red and white wines. Just now I have a delicious Cote du Rhone and a really toothsome White Burgundy. They're a good deal more than half-serious wines - you would expect nothing else would you?! - and so get online and they'll soon be winging their way towards you. No self- respecting dinner can afford to be without them! You can also buy copies of my last half dozen books on this streamlined website. That excellent publisher, Wymer are republishing my ﬁrst two books, 'Cricket In Three Moods' and 'The Packer Affair'. Then there are copies available of 'Squeezing The Orange', 'Thirst For Life', 'Cricket's Great Entertainers' and 'Cricket And All That' to be had. So that's a few birthday and Christmas presents taken care of!
My voice is also highly available for Commercials and indeed for anything else you may want to do with it. Anything is considered as long as it's fun - that's important. We none of us laugh enough and we all feel better when we do. Which is why my life has always been surrounded by gales of laughter - and the odd glass of impeccable red wine. You can't do one without the other as the fellow once said.