Henry Blofeld talks about the seasons of his life..
and a bit of cricket.
Myself and 3 of my cricket buddies went to see Henry Blofeld at the Harrogate Theatre last Friday. ‘Blowers’ is a stalwart commentator for the BBC’s Test Match Special. To me, he’s got the most crickety voice in the world*. His voice is to cricket what Murry Walker’s voice was to F1.
He’s knocking on a bit now, but still dancing. His delivery was gently bowled and his anecdotes, silky smooth and pitched at a perfect angle – perhaps a slightly older angle than for where I was sitting. Very enjoyable though, he waxed lyrical about (amongst other things) his relationship with the Queen Mum, Noël Coward and Ian Flemming. The latter of which named his Bond Villan ‘Blofeld’ actually after his family – his father – a good friend of Mr. Flemming by account – his brother and he were all members of the same club and when he turned to the members list for inspiration, he had a three lined whip shouting their suggestion out to him.
He also talked cricket. One of those enviable professional sports journalist qualities of being able to recall every ball, score, bowler, test, series and year for each and every story – or had the knack of being able to skirt around the missing bits so succinctly, one didn’t notice.
He poo-poo’d and cleared up the “The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey” story that was alegedly voiced by Brian Johnston when Peter Willey faced Michael Holding during the ’76 England West Indies – it wasn’t. He also agreed to a suggestion that a moat instead of a boundary would improve the game. I quite agree my dear old thing.
*Yes, more so than Geoffrey Boycott and Richie Benaud.