According to Skull

Published: 2004
Pages: 264
Author: O'Keeffe, Kerry
Publisher: ABC Books
Rating: 3 stars

According to Skull

On my travels I ran into a couple of people reading Kerry O’Keeffe’s According to Skull.

This was not surprising as this was the best selling sports book of Christmas 2004. In fact it was the only sports publication to challenge the plethora of titles by Lance Armstrong.

Both people told me that the “book was good, but not as funny as they were expecting”. After reading the book all I can say is “gee some people are hard to please”.

The book is written almost like a Sportsman’s night script (of which Kerry is one of the most popular exponents of), with Kerry O’Keeffe moving from one amusing anecdote to another. During the book we encounter some great characters and some very amusing situations, from the author having to pass up a barbecue at Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall’s mansion to attend “a stuffy cricket dinner, with old farts” (the 1980 centenary of cricket dinner) to the form guide on the plane trip to England for the Ashes battle in 1977. This was the infamous “how many beers can one man drink from Australia to England?” The winner was no surprise – the 5/2 favourite, Doug Walters, with 44 cans!

The book is not all beer and skittles though, as Kerry bares his soul on issues such as alcohol abuse and his many years in the wilderness once his first class cricket career wound up. He drifted from one dead end job to another, staying at pubs until stumps because he simply “did not want to return home to a lonely flat”.

Even during these dark times the O’Keeffe humour shines through, such as the time he took the ‘new carpet saving jar’ much to his wife chagrin, and punted the lot on the Melbourne Cup.

You get the impression from reading the book that Kerry O’Keeffe was not the biggest fan of the Chappell brothers’ demeanour or captaincy ability. In fact O’Keefe would be the first Australian player from the era of Ian Chappell that does not rank him the best captain of the period. Instead he nominates John Benaud (younger brother of Riche) as the best captain he played under.

Kerry O’Keeffe is fast becoming an institution on Australian radio. He brings great humour to the ABC cricket coverage, and seems to have one of those styles you either love or hate. He has formed some great on-air chemistry with some of the international broadcasters, in particular Harsha Bhogle (pronounced Bogley) Here is some of their best banter:

Harsha: How do you think Gillespie is looking this morning Kerry?

Kerry: Not too good. He looks stiffer than a triple scotch!

Harsha: (puzzled and with head starting to wobble): Stiffer than a triple scotch did you say?

Kerry: Yeah. He’s that stiff!

Harsha (in a serious tone): Kerry how many stiff ones do you have a night?

Kerry: I am 54, Harsha ONE!

And those people told me it was not that funny? If you want a laugh and also some serious cricket talk you should have a look at According to Skull.

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