One Day in the Life of Ivon Ivonovich: chapter one


This piece first appeared on the Guardian BTL pages. Its author has now kindly shared it with The Full Toss

Camp 34.7, Omsk, Siberia – October 11

Winter advances apace. The cruel wet snow is a constant reminder of the impossible, relentless struggles that lie in the months ahead. And why? For what end? The prospect of Spring brings no relief – so distant does it seem, such a bleak reminder of the good men we are to lose before then.

But oh! – despite the cold, our hearts are aflame! Finally the substance of Great Comrade Pyotrsen’s expositional treatise on the inner workings of the Ministry has reached us.

The Ministry has been curiously silent. Klarkov refuses to speak. He simply paces the corridors, day and night, muttering about ‘good families’, ‘the right sort of men’, and showing an uncanny desire for cheese. Oh how it thrills me even to think of it! Klarkov – the pompous bloated Klarkov – impotent and dumbstruck!

Then, today, The Steel-Man emerged from Ministry to address the camp. He spoke of the Great Comrade, though never mentioned him by name. ‘Aaaww, look, you know…’, he boomed, ‘the thing is, that in the Ministry… there’s things who are difficult.’ He stood taller. ‘And those things are the environment and philosophy of the, you know, the harmony, going forward. And the skill-sets what we do.’

He grew taller still and struck his fist violently on the podium. ‘And, aaww look, I personally for the others in the Ministry refudiate the claims one hundred and twenty percent!’ The clerks and officers of the Ministry stood, awe-struck, before applauding. The Steel-Man, visibly exhausted and emotionally drained, was lead back to his carriage.

The bumptious clerk Agniev scurried through the crowd and up to the podium. Amidst cries and shouts, he attempted to address us. ‘Friends! Let us show our gratitude to the Leader – and his fragrant wife – for the selflessness and love he has shown by choosing, independent of the Ministry, to address us today!’.

We Octobrists were confused – where was Klarkov, Downtonovich, where was the dossier fabricated by the Ministry against the Great Comrade? Non-plussed, we looked back up at Agniev for explanation.

‘Friends,’ he continued, ‘I am sad. I am sad. This whole episode has made me sad.’ ‘Why?’ shouted the increasingly trying Comrade Moronovich, ‘because the lady Pyotrsen made you look foolish?’. Agniev shuffled his papers, ‘Ahem, it has made me sad because this is bad for everyone. Everyone. Except me. And the Steel-Man. And the Great Overseer. And the Ministry. Rejoice and be glad that justice has spared the righteous – God be with you comrades!’

We shuffled back to our bunks outside the Ministry. Talk turned immediately to the genius of the Great Comrade. However, our joy is tempered. We in the camp are not so naive as to think Great Comrade Pyotrsen can be easily re-re-integrated into the Ministry. The hard winter is almost upon us and there is much yet to be done.


    • Gee whizz! What is wrong with Aggers? He’s just lost the plot completely. Certainly is a Ministry Man who refuses to listen to anyone but himself. I find that so very very sad. Does anyone know why all these folk refuse to listen to anyone else apart from themselves and their ECB mates? Do they really care about England Cricket at all? Maybe it is just me but it feels like the landed gentry telling the poor workers to get on with paying the money but remain silent. The workings of the Ministry is nothing to do with any of us. I wanted to try and have the same warm glow about Aggers as I used to have listening to him on the radio whilst watching the test matches on TV with the sound on silent. After what he said to Mrs Pietersen, I think he really showed what he is like. Not very nice at all. All those times when he sounded so affable on the radio he really is so patronising and condescending. What sort of impression does he think he’s giving setting up his own new accounts? Can’t take the heat of real questioning?

      A great many who I admired for years now have shown themselves to be far worse in a way that Pietersen could ever be. At least with KP, what you see is what you get. He has made so many mistakes and tried to put them right. These others have just gone on looking like a gang of “nice guys” when all the time they are vengeful, nasty, spiteful. I am not sure anything will ever change until the present ECB incumbents are gone. Money seems to be their prime mover. They do not seem to care about the players and the game as long as they can make loads of dose. Not content with the wholesale take over of the ICC, they have now made yet another deal with Sky for even more money. Not sure how our youngsters are supposed to get enthused about Cricket. Maybe that is the idea? They want their “class” of people in cricket. No more Botham, Boycott, KP, or ordinary people, but just the right “type” from the right “background?” Just a very sad period in the beloved game.

      Sorry to be maudlin.

  • There is undoubtedly a real issue here, one that a lot of cricket fans, indeed sports fans in general shy away from. That is the place of politics in sport. The abuse being hurled by the ECB and its media acolytes is only similar to that heaped upon unemployed people and disabled people for the last 5 years or more by the government and its media acolytes. You have to spot the similarities and work out ways of challenging this extremist position taken by the elites. Sport has become another ‘battleground’ where fans are the great unwashed, who after all, only have to pay to watch either live or via tv. But their opinion is not valid in a world where economics and profit speak loudest. You may wonder why the ECB have not spoken following Pietersen’s book – they don’t have to – they are not accountable to anyone except their sponsors. Fans are unimportant and can be abused just like anyone else who disagrees with their position and behaviour. This is war. Writing on blogs does not harm them or change anything. Players, who may be adored for their skills, who are an integral part of the system are no different from their masters and will disregard fans too. Of course they have to tow the party line. the financial gains to players make it very difficult to rebel so don’t look to them for change, it won’t happen.

    We have to get to grips with the politics and the means to create change if we want something different – it won’t be easy – not will there be much talk of ‘sport’.

    • Exactly right Lanky, and backed up by something David Collier said at the weekend, Arron picked up on it and pointed it out on a previous post….

      “David Collier was on R5 this morning. He was asked about declining interest after 8.4m watched the 2005 Ashes. His response was to boast about 1.3bn watching the T20 finals day. Mainly, one assumes, in India.
      This was a perfect example of the ECB’s contempt for English fans without Sky. It won’t be picked up because everyone is banging on about bullying and Twitter accounts. They’ve been getting away with this sort of argument for years.”

      So there you have it. The 2005 ashes audiences on free to air TV are not worth the trouble set against billions in India and around the world. Domestic England fans can go F themselves. This is very short term thinking ( no surprise when we are run by bankers at the ECB) because who will be playing or even interested in cricket in 20 years time?

  • Headlines in the Independent :

    “Flower charged with most serious offence possible”

    “Flower issues apology for disgraceful attack”

    Sadly, not for Andy though – he is above criticism


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