Tim Graham, 1958-2015.  R.I.P

Tim Graham was at university with me but we lost touch after graduation. A couple of years later we re-united when Tim witnessed Grace Jones grinding me onstage at The Lyceum to "Pull Up To The Bumper." I invited him to join my cricket team, VCC (aka The Currymen) and soon we were twirling away at opposite ends as the club's spin twins. Tim's classical onfield attire and attitude - the school tie knotted around the waistband, the batting stance from a sepia age - is at odds with the curious hindu sportwear combinations we see him sporting on the streets of north london. "The Cobra" is an homage to Tim the off-spinner and fragrant touring room-mate.


The Cobra


Oh flannelled fool,  bequiffed and bewildered,

Marooned at square leg, unused, unconsidered,

In an island of fag butts you wait for the call,

A glance at the captain as their opener stonewalls,

And then a brief nod and the cobra unfurls

A jaunty skip run up, a few practice hurls,

Huttonesque jaw-line square-on to the pitch,

The old school-tie waistband you give a last hitch

Then an elegant back arch, time standing still,

The cherry unleashed, the bitterest pill,

A shimmering parabola fizzing to its destiny

A puff of dust, oh blessed turn, the rest is history.

And now sunkissed Currymen swoop and caress

The Cobra’s taught sinews, oh up against him they press,

No longer recalling his half-hour scoring zero,

No longer a luxury tweaker, but the fragrant hero.