“It was not just a vehicle for four runs,” writes Felix White in his new memoir It’s Always Summer Somewhere. “It was the gentle articulation that life can be long and hard. That every person you share your life with influences you in some way and then, in a singular expression behind your conscious will, they are somehow there with you too.”
As a leather jacket-wearing guitar-playing die hard Oasis fan from South London, White doesn’t fit the typical image of a cricket writer. Somewhat fittingly then, It’s Always Summer Somewhere is not a typical cricket book. It is in essence a post-band memoir from the former Maccabees guitarist who has since come to prominence as a cricket writer, podcast host and film composer.
White takes us from the roots of his cricket obsession through his teenage years smoking weed at second slip to the success and eventual break up of his band The Maccabees. Throughout the book run the twin strains of his mother’s struggle with MS, she died when he was 17, and White’s use of cricket to understand and cope with grief.
White speaks often of his “deal with cricket” that means England will perpetually lose and he can mourn for cricket as a substitute for dealing with genuine grief.
The memoir is punctuated by a series of interviews, as White speaks to everyone from Alan Wells, (an England one-cap-wonder that launched the authors love of failed international cricketers), to popstar and White’s ex-girlfriend Florence Welch.
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White’s prose is both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. His sentences go on forever, and often result in poetic moments (his passage on a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive is a particular highlight) but there are other times when White’s love of long rambling sentences leads to passages that are just that: long and rambling. But it is effective more often than not though: For those who know him from his Tailenders podcast, he’s always unmistakeably Felix.
It’s a cliché with cricket books for reviewers to say: “Its not just for cricket fans”. Realistically if you have no interest in cricket this book may be a slog (excuse the pun). But White does comes closer than anyone to articulating why a sport that goes on for five days with no guarantee of a winner is worth the hassle.
This is also a must-read for Maccabees fans, as White gives fascinating detail on their evolution as a band and the tensions, constructive and otherwise, that led to their success and ultimate breakup.
It’s Always Summer Somewhere is sad, thoughtful, and often very funny. White moves from intense introspection to watching cricket from a festival fridge with ease, and despite the occasional clunky moment, he writes a charming book.