How Cardus found his way down under

Cardus In an Australian Light is the sixth contribution from the Cardus Archive based at Old Trafford featuring Neville Cardus' work down under mainly during and just after the Second World War.

Cardus described the favourite periods of his life as his first five years with the Manchester Guardian and "every day of my seven years in Australia". It didn't always seem that way. While he enjoyed the sun and sheer energy of Australia, and relished his minor celebrity, he struggled with the common touch. As he wrote to a friend in 1945: "Compared with Sydney or Melbourne, as far as culture or common sense go, Rochdale is as Athens under Pericles."

Early criticism of Australian musicians brought a rebuke in their Parliament from a Tasmanian senator. Some reviews continued to be caustic, but in time he also found plenty to admire. Not surprisingly, music rather than cricket dominates his writing and broadcasting of the period; there was simply more of it. After the War he wanted to become a full-time music critic, covering the 1946/47 tour for the Guardian (against the wishes of its sports editor) as he needed the money. Almost a third of the book is devoted to reports of this series, which Australia won 3-0.

Bob Hilton and David Masey have delivered more than a collection of extracts and articles, although there is enough here to remind of his brilliance in evoking colour and personality. They analyse his time in Australia, his attitudes, friendships and his mood. It is respectful and admiring without being uncritical. But I would have liked more on the perception back home of his wartime presence away, especially given a hint it may have cost him the Freedom of the City of Manchester.

Richard Hobson
Reproduced courtesy of The Cricketer

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Softback Cover, 137 pages with illustrations.

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