not a member? click here to sign up
At the pavilion with Neil Hannon, Pugwash and the Irish cricket team
You know them as heartfelt songwriters. But when they’re not mucking about in the studio, Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh enjoy nothing more than a game of cricket. And they’re not just in it for the cucumber sandwiches, either.
Paul Nolan, 15 Mar 2007
You join us in the clubhouse of the North County Dublin Cricket Grounds in Balbriggan, where Divine Comedy frontman Neil Hannon and Pugwash mastermind Thomas Walsh are discussing (with a remarkable degree of authority) the finer points of cricket with three members of the Irish team, John Mooney, Eoin Morgan and William Porterfield.
This month’s Cricket World Cup in the West Indies sees Ireland participate in the tournament for the first time, and Neil and Thomas are keen to do all they can to demonstrate their support for the cause.
The three cricketers, for their part, seem absolutely chuffed to be attending this summit with two of the most talented songwriters in Irish rock. “It’s not everyday I get to meet lads who sell albums all over the world,” observes John. “Yeah, I’ll let you know when they get here,” laughs Thomas. Then, looking over at Neil, he says, “Oh, there he is!” It turns that when Neil and Thomas collaborated on the single ‘Tinsel And Marzipan’ before Christmas (released in aid of the Irish Epilepsy Association, Brainwave), cricket was high on the conversational agenda.
“Every time we went on telly to talk about the single, we’d end up discussing cricket and ELO,” says Thomas, to which Neil adds, “Yeah, we’re so with it!”
“But we just love the game,” continues Thomas. “When I was a kid our family used to go to Wexford on our holidays, and we’d buy these cricket sets in plastic bags. Myself and my brother would head over to this field nearby and we’d play the game all day. I remember listening to the 1981 Ashes in Australia on BBC radio – and waiting for fucking five minutes for the reception to come in! We also played on the little pitch across from the polo grounds in the Phoenix Park.
“I mean, we were into it in a really big way. Of course, when you get to 16, 17, you start to get more into football. And from there it’s a downward spiral into sex, drugs and masturbation 40 times a day – the usual shit (laughs).”