Saturday, November 28, 2009

An Aussie calypso summer...

Still on the theme of sport and stories, I came across another inspirational tale this week watching a documentary that you may think sounds geeky but is actually very, very cool.
It follows the epic West Indies cricket tour of Australia in the summer of 1960/61 and has all the ingredients of a great adventure story: characters that captured the hearts of the nation, high drama, sportsmanship, history-making events (the Brisbane Test resulted in the first ever tie in 83 years of Test cricket), controversy (Australians were enamoured of the touring team and its black Captain, Frank Worrell, during the era of the White Australia policy), courage, fierce competition, romance (where there are fans there's fire in the hearts) and heart-stirring friendship (500,000 Aussies celebrated the Windies at a farewell ticker-tape parade even though they lost the series).
Calypso Summer tells the tale through the eyes of the players, with real life legends like Garfield Sobers and Richie Benaud telling anecdotes about each other with signature understatement that makes you laugh out loud.
But isn't it peculiar how we make assumptions about people based on first level dimensions - things that are obvious to the naked eye like colour or gender. 
Listening from the kitchen to a lilting, musical accent, I glanced at the TV expecting to see a long, tall West Indian like Wes Hall or Alf Valentine reminiscing, but to my surprise it was a middle aged white man with a pink weathered nose whose name, Gerry Alexander, is as Pommy-sounding as his skin is fair. But Alexander is a true-blue Jamaican - wickie for the Windies on the tour. 
It took a minute or two to reconcile the accent coming out of his mouth with the visual because my brain was programmed to expect an English brogue. And I had to give myself a rocket for my lack of imagination.
It's liberating to know that in creating characters, the writer has licence to imbue each one with whatever traits and quirks we choose. 
In this world where truth is usually stranger than fiction, I doubt one could ever invent a character that is truly in-credible.
There was a kid in my primary school who used to catch daddy-long-legs spiders, rip the legs off them and eat the body. Right in front of us. 
You can't make that stuff up. 
Do you know anyone with a truly unusual, quirky bent that sets them apart from the rest? Tell me!

1 comment:

Tom said...

Quirkiest character I know - my father-in-law. One rainy day, I went over to meet Jane at her folks' place to find her father jogging up and down the hallway, it wouldn't have been more than 10m in length. Whilst accustomed to his weird ways, I couldn't help but ask him, "What are you doing?" He replied, "Oh Tom," huffing and puffing, "it's raining outside so I thought I'd go for a run inside, I've just done my 50th lap."

He was dressed in a button-up shirt, business pants complete with belt, and hush puppies.