fire in babylon

We seem to be living through a golden period for documentaries – many reaching the cinema before release on dvd.

As a cricket fan, I can highly recommend ‘Fire In Babylon’ – the story of the all-conquering West Indies team from the mid-70s to the mid-80s.

It had been talked up last summer on the BBC’s ‘Test Match Special,’ but I only saw it last night courtesy of the documentary strand ‘Storyville’ on the BBC iPlayer.

What was slightly shocking was the intense hostility the players felt towards the rest of the cricketing world – and England in particular.

Tony Greig’s comments before the 1975 series – ‘we intend to make them grovel’ – didn’t exactly help.

But even so, the physical violence meted out by the bowling attack was a sight to behold.

One sleepy, very hot Summer’s afternoon in North Yorkshire in 1982, I saw the feared WIndies pace bowler Colin Croft steaming in at full tilt during a match between Settle and a ‘Rest of the World XI.’

People moved away from the boundary rope – and ran for the hills.

In the late 80s, I did a short tv film with Clive Lloyd, the captain of that feared team, about his life away from cricket.

A quiet, more gentle and thoughtful person you couldn’t wish to meet.

Even if you don’t enjoy cricket, you’ll enjoy the musical soundtrack of ‘Fire In Babylon’ and the period detail of 1975-1985.

More later in the week about Booker T Jones, whose ‘Soul Limbo’ heralds the start of every edition of ‘Test Match Special.’

Fire In Babylon – BBC iPlayer

Booker T and the MG’s – Soul Limbo

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