Q&A with Lawrence Arabia

Q&A with Lawrence Arabia

What’s your earliest cricketing memory?
At my grandparents' place in Lower Hutt in February 1988, watching the England test at Eden Park on TV. I seem to remember my grandmother telling me with some longing and regret that Jeremy Coney had recently retired. As children do during televised cricket matches, I got bored and went outside with my father to play backyard cricket, for the very first time. I discovered a natural talent for bowling that day and thought I may have found my vocation.

Do you prefer to watch cricket on the TV / listen on the radio / follow online / watch live / a combination of the above?
During that incredible third test in March, I spent almost the whole match listening on the radio, except for the moments when I was at the game. It's the ultimate way to deal with a test match cos it allows a kind of osmotic processing of the game, carrying on with your normal life, but absorbing the feel and rhythm of the game, letting it colour your moods and influence your beverage choices.

Do you play, formally or socially? Have you ever taken a memorable wicket, or compiled a memorable innings yourself?
I still play a little bit socially, but my physical abilities really don't match my mental image of myself as a cricketer. Not only is it demoralising but I seem to injure myself quite a lot when trying to bowl at a pace that I'm really not capable of.

That said, I once played for the top third form team at Christ's College, the 3.1's. A couple of years behind Two Metre Peter. I was undoubtedly the worst player in the side, but in the last match of the season I took 5 for 26, aided by a howling norwester blowing across the pitch. Definitely one of my life's peaks.

How was your day at Lord’s?
I ended up spending two days there, including the horrific fourth. It was totally wonderful really. The simultaneous intimacy, yet enormity, of the place, and the deep, boisterous hubbub in the ground; all the coloured trousers on the ex-public schoolboys; Tim Southee's brilliant bowling. I spent most of our second innings out on the Nursery Ground drinking pints of Marston Bitter, listening to the horrible roar of the English crowd as our wickets fell.

Have any of your musical collaborators been into cricket? If so, how has this enhanced or hindered your recording or shows?
Hayden Eastmond-Mein and Andrew Keoghan, who play in my band most of the time, are both pretty intensely into cricket. Keoghs played top level club cricket in Christchurch in a team with Chris Harris and Chris Martin, and Hayden's claim to fame is winning a grassroots cricket grant for our musicians' team, the Kowhai Cricket Club, as well as being a cultured slogger in the Virender Sehwag vein.

I can't really say it's affected the shows or recordings particularly – at most it's a mid-rehearsal recreation, and once when we were playing shows in Australia last year we did the SCG tour when we had a day off in Sydney. We have considered actually planning tours around the cricket schedule, but this hasn't come to fruition yet.


Lawrence during the SCG tour next to the statue of Yabba on The Hill.


If you could time-travel yourself to any cricketing decade, what would it be? Or is this one just fine?
Let's say the turn of the twentieth century, the so-called Augustan age of cricket. The days of C.B. Fry and Ranjitsinhji.  Would be nice to have seen the Australian team of 1948 too...

Do you have a favourite cricket book?
The one I always turn to is "The Playing Mantis." It's an essential tome.

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