The historic function of summer sports in Britain is to facilitate rain appreciation in maddening, obsessive detail. Cricket is the most extreme example. There has never been a cricket game in this country in which rain has failed to stop play I exaggerate, but only slightly. Why would a game be invented that depends for its existence on it not raining and yet be played in a country where it is always going to rain? Why would Worcester’s beautiful cricket ground be situated near the flood-prone River Severn if not to make us fall in love anew with rain’s power? Only in Britain would the beautifully byzantine Duckworth-Lewis method be invented. This involves deploying a mathematical formula to help decide rain-interrupted one-day cricket matches. Why did Duckworth and Lewis invent it? Not to help decide the result of a cricket match. Nobody, not even Geoff Boycott, cares about such inane guff. It was to help us think about rain and how much we love it while affecting otherwise.
Or consider Glastonbury. Nobody really stands groin-deep in mud in a Somerset field to hear U2 or Coldplay. That would be the very definition of madness. No, Glastonbury and other summer festivals were invented to get us up close and personal with rain and its leading non-urban consequence, mud. True, at most British festivals there’s a risk of trenchfoot, but the path of true love never did run smooth. Glastonbury has been cancelled this year which means it probably won’t rain: our all-wise God only makes it rain in Somerset at festival time. He knows what we like.
And yet we pretend that we hate the rain. If we really did, we would move to the desert. But we don’t because if we did, something inside us would die. There is no song title more spiritually harrowing to British sensibilities than It Never Rains in Southern California. Then why do so many Brits wind up in rain-lite LA? Because they’ve forgotten about Albert Hammond‘s song but remain seduced by the film of The Big Sleep. In that vision of southern California, former desert has been enchanted by rain. Humphrey Bogart repeatedly turns up his shamus’s trenchcoat collar against another satisfyingly intense Hollywood downpour, or drives night-time streets slicked sensually wet and streaked with reflected tail lights – the whole seductive mise en scène of film noir that you can get for free tonight in Peterborough.
Strange Random Rain Quote:
“Never run in the rain with your socks on.” ― Billie Joe Armstrong
- A possible contender to the Duckworth-Lewis method (aperiodical.com)
- ICC retains Duckworth Lewis, DRS (iol.co.za)
- Indian engineer challenges Duckworth-Lewis method (dawn.com)
- ICC chief Haroon Lorgat defends decision to retain Duckworth-Lewis (guardian.co.uk)
- London Olympic opening ceremony to feature real clouds – that will rain! (investmentwatchblog.com)
- Derbyshire weather the storm (skysports.com)