Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. Fanatical about cricket since he was a boy, Miles Jupp would do anything to see his heroes play. But perhaps deciding to bluff his way into the press corps during England’s Test series in India wasn’t his best idea. By claiming to be the cricket correspondent for BBC Scotland and getting a job with the (Welsh) Western Mail, Miles lands the press pass that will surely be the ticket to his dreams. Soon, he finds himself in cricket heaven—drinking with David Gower and Beefy, sharing bar room banter with Nasser Hussain and swapping diarrhea stories with the Test Match Special team. But struggling in the heat under the burden of his own fibs, reality soon catches up with Miles as he bumbles from one disaster to the next.
Fibber in the Heat by Miles Jupp Review
Blagging, Bowling, Banter and dodging Balamory.
I know a lot about the beautiful game, I’ve played it, I’ve watched it. I also have plenty to learn about what makes it such a spectacle. So when I was handed a book on one of my beloved subjects, written by Miles Jupp (aka Archie The Inventor from Balamory) – whom I was fairly happy to have out of my life once my children’s fascination with the colourful houses or Tobermory had drawn to an end – I was slightly sceptical to say the least.
What could a posh comedian possibly teach me about my favourite sport?
Because cricket isn’t just about trumped-up spectators using strange terminology, like “silly mid-off” or “cow corner” as they quaff down Veuve Clicquot. It’s actually about people interacting with each other, not just players, but the audience – including the media. And in this hilarious tale of bluffing, chancing and winging it, I have to hand it to Miles, he has succeeded at painting the real picture of cricket. So much so, that I am sure he’d convince even my wife to give it another go… Well, almost.
So forget Lords and The Oval, turn yourself up to a Division One or Two game at the County Ground, Taunton. Leave your partner to enjoy his cricketing domain – do a bit of shopping, or find an old school buddy and reminisce about the good old days over a pint of Dry Blackthorn. For this is the spirit of the sport Miles urges us to revel in.
A young man’s journey, alone…
And Fibber in the Heat is just that. Cricket is the backdrop, but to be honest, any sport could be. The author takes you on an exciting journey through the eyes of a cricket journalist. And the power of human kindness helps Miles become the professional he always wanted to be – from rookie without a match pass, to an accepted member of the media crowd.
Remarkably, this IS a true story. Fibber in the Heat describes how Miles, a wannabe cricket journalist forged a ‘brief career’ reporting on a real test series between India and England by joining the press corps in the host country – the beautifully mosaic India!
And better still, it is a tale delivered with wit, timing, and a dash of humility. If the book was a drink, it would be a White Russian, carefully made with all the correct ingredients, but not overdoing it with any one element. In fact, just like my favourite tipple, anyone can enjoy this game and Miles’ excellent read really is testament to that. So turn up to a game and immerse yourself. Take this book with you for inspiration. You’ll be surprised by what happens…
Indeed, it does help to know some of the characters mentioned in the story line. This will definitely give your opportunities for laugh out loud chortles the edge… I read my copy on a packed Monarch flight to Leeds and can vouch for my spontaneous guffaws raising more than a few eyebrows and the occasional tut. But, actually, the ‘heroes’ of this book are just normal people, who, like you and me, stay in hotels when we travel overseas, and occasionally miss what’s back home.
Miles is well looked after by some of the senior correspondents, proper journeymen. However from start to end it’s not an easy road for the rookie to negotiate, and you do feel sorry for the young man, even amidst the humour. There are plenty hurdles to overcome, some are simply too big an ask. And well, if I say anymore about those I’ll give some of the best bits away…
Everyone loves a nutshell, so here it is: try cricket, try Fibber in the Heat, and you may just be richer for it.
(Note from The Editor: Many thanks to Chris Curtis for taking the time to read and review this book for The Glass House Book Club. For more of his musings follow him on twitter @curtisc1977 or visit his author page here.)
Fibber in the Heat is published by Ebury.