Start the Car: The World According to Bumble by David Lloyd
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Cannonball Read V: Start the Car: The World According to Bumble by David Lloyd

By Karo | Book Reviews | February 27, 2013 | Comments ()


Start the Car: The World According to Bumble was meant to be an easy read, but turned into something bigger (and more annoying).

See, I'm a cricket fan. "Fan" seems such a lame word when it comes to cricket, which I found turns people into full-blown obsessives. When you've glimpsed enough of the logic behind it - and it's the most logical game, despite what 80% of the world's population might think - everything becomes important. You gladly stay up all night looking at an automatically updating scoreboard (like this) WITHOUT ANY PICTURES. You preach to the uninitiated. Your heart performs a little dance when you spot people dressed in white standing around in a field, even if they're just pharmacists on a field trip. You live cricket. And I should know. I own a 490-page anthology of cricket verse.

So anything from Bumble Lloyd should be great fun. For me, having been of the initiated for only 8 years now, he's this guy off the telly, commentating for Sky Sports. He was a player and (England) coach before that, but as I said, that was before my time, and I have a lot of catching up to do in that respect. As a commentator, he's the one for the jokes and innuendo, not always to my taste, but he's definitely the voice of cricket for many (you wouldn't think cricket could be funny, eh? Well, it can be.)

Now, one thing I can say about this book is that there is no need for it. Bumble might be great as a commentator; as a writer, not so much. There's a proper writer "helping", of course, but the important bits are Lloyd's, and that's where the problems start. Turns out Bumble is that bloke off the telly, and no more. He makes no secret of the fact that there isn't a deeper, more meaningful side to him than the jokes and the enthusiasm, which would be fine if that was your cup of tea, but it's not mine. He undoubtedly knows a lot about cricket, and he loves it in the same obsessive way as all the cricket nerds I've met over the years. But the whole book just reinforces the unfortunate aspects of the cricket scene. It's a laddish thing. Forget about the gentleman's game - where Bumble is concerned, it's a jolly good time with the boys, and what would that be without the thinly veiled misogyny and borderline racism... I'm sure Lloyd is a great guy, and the great lengths he goes to in order to show how much he appreciates pretty much every player he's ever met is almost annoying. He's being very, very careful not to discriminate against anyone, but as soon as he starts talking about his mates down the pub or team outings, there WILL be a casual remark about how his Chinese language skills don't go beyond saying "Herro, isn't this rubbery" or how his missus keeps him on a short leash (har har). I'm not even ashamed of being so nit-picky about it. It bloody annoys me. It shows the celebrated cricket guy as exactly what he is: a late-middle-aged bloke who's proud to have never grown out of surroundings where jokes like the above are the only jokes anybody ever makes, and innuendo is the purest form of wit.

Towards the middle of the book, he makes some good points about the future of cricket and the importance of turning the English players into high-profile athletes with a rigorous fitness programme. He knows his stuff, and when it comes to cricket, his approach seems even visionary. Shame about the character.

I guess I'm not the target audience when it comes to this book, not being a typical Bumble follower (maybe because I'm foreign and female? Just a wild guess...). I was looking forward to the cricket talk, but most of the book is Bumble talk, and that might not be for everyone.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read V. Read all about it , and find more of Karo's reviews on the group blog.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • ViciousTrollop

    Now I have that woman yelling "start the car!" from that Ikea commercial in my head. Great review!

  • Theunis Stofberg

    Thanks for that. I will give it a skip then. Bumble has always been a bit of an ass and his jingoist view of the world has always been irritating. When it comes to great Cricket books there are really not a lot around. Cricket players are not very "wordie" (hence the nicknames on the field that always seem to be one syllable) and it takes a good writer to bring out the best in the books, (Graham Smith's books is terribly boring) but historical books are usually better. Try and find the Bodyline book. I am currently filming a tv doccie on the South African team in the Cricket World Cup 99 and the following months that led to the Hansie Cronje scandal and in my interviews I spoke to a journalist that is currently writing Mark Boucher's book. I have high hopes that it might become one of the best Cricket books as Boucher was the king of sledging and the writer himself is a seriously funny guy. Heres hoping that some quality will come out of that.

  • Karo

    That does sound promising. Bumble ends several chapters with a sledging anecdote, and they always fail. It's very much a you-had-to-be-there thing, so it would take a great writer to make it work. I'll have a look for the Bodyline book. (Right after I find a cheap old Ashes DVD to further indoctrinate my children. Harhar.)

  • Theunis Stofberg

    just a clarification. I meant that there has not been a great deal of good biographies written about cricket. There are great cricket books though. the modern biographies are mostly dull as dishwater though.

  • ,

    So he's sort of a mildly racist Dick Vitale?

    Also, somebody has to say it:

    Bumbles bounce.

  • Captain_Tuttle

    I am completely fascinated with cricket, and I understand nothing about it. I'm guessing this isn't the book to read as a primer on the googlies.

  • Kballs

    Most of my immediate relatives are British and I catch a little cricket action every time I visit the isles and it seems pretty straightforward. I just can't wrap my mind around a televised sport that lasts for days. And the fact that there is ingrained misogyny and racism within it is completely hilarious.

    "No, no, slatterns and darkies, no cricket-having for you! You'll only get caught behind by the simplest of googlies! Fuck thee off!"

  • ,

    "can't wrap my brain around ..."

    It's not that unusual. The last two minutes of college basketball and most football games seem to last for days.

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