Yesterday I met up with an old school friend whom I last saw some four years ago. He is a distinguished biographer of James Boswell and Hugh Trevor Roper, now working on a biography of John Le Carre. This must be a fascinating work as the author, like Daphne du Maurier, is a semi-recluse and has severed himself from the literary world. Such biographies demand massive research and time, but the reward is disproportionately low financially. Such is the publishing world that a biography of a B-list celebrity would greatly outsale any work of proper scholarship. Book pages are shrinking in all newspapers and I despair for the nation’s literacy.
I was interested to learn from my friend that in the 1860s there was an aboriginal cricket tour, the team playing the MCC and then a House of Lords side. A Times leader took the view that cricket could educate the aboriginal, a patrician attitude that extended in cricket 100 years on and was perhaps responsible for the MCC losing its moral authority over cricket and power transferring to the sub continent.