Cricket TicketsMartin Chandler |
Author: Akel, Jules
Publisher: Christopher Saunders Publishing
Rating: 4 stars
I first learned of this title when, with my last ACS Journal, a flyer for it appeared. I will admit to having my doubts about the book, and it took me several weeks of contemplation before I decided to buy a copy. A book devoted to the subject of tickets to cricket matches, especially when restricted to only one ground and the very modern period of 1993 to 2018 did not necessarily strike me as the sort of thing I would enjoy.
In the end my weakness for a well produced limited edition won the day, and I am very glad it did, as Cricket Tickets is a most enjoyable book and, for me, had one very helpful and wholly unexpected benefit.
The book’s author is Jules Akel, a graphic designer, Scotsman (if not by birth then by location) and, that apart, a bit of a mystery. I would have liked to learn a little more about the man responsible for the book, but the absence of anything autobiographical is not a major complaint. I expect Mr Akel is an essentially modest man who, if asked, would say that by far the more important background information is that related to his initial commission, and that is provided by former MCC secretary Colin Maynard in his foreword.
That foreword, another by graphic design expert Dr Paul Rennie and Akel’s acknowledgments take up 15 preliminary pages. After that the book devotes a page to each of the tickets designed by Akel for Tests, ODIs or List A finals. Those pages comprise a large scale full colour reproduction of each ticket, a basic note of the outcome of the match and a few notes by Akel explaining his design.
I attended a handful of the matches for which Akel designed these tickets, and must therefore have had some of them in my possession at one time, but I have to confess to not recalling them. It matters little because, until reading Cricket Tickets, it had certainly never occurred to me that so much thought went into these designs. All however are attractive and interesting, and a few are quite simply stunning. When pushed to choose just one as a personal favourite I selected that for the India Test in 2002. It remains my first choice although the wind was rather taken out of my sails when it was pointed out to me that the image that purported to show Vinoo Mankad was in fact a photograph of his son, Ashok.
And the unexpected benefit I mentioned? Before reading the book I had no knowledge or indeed understanding of what graphic design was, why it was important and how those responsible for it went about their task. Reading about Jules Akel’s thought processes on the Lord’s tickets has however stimulated my interest which means that, when I next see her, I will be able to hold down a proper conversation with my elder step daughter, whose work I have never had the inclination to discuss with her before – as I start to cross-examine her about her daily activities her face will, I am sure, be a study in amazement.
There will, inevitably, be many who will not want to give much time to a book devoted to something so ephemeral as these tickets, but if the subject matter is of any interest at all this beautifully produced book is highly recommended and, at a mere £20 plus postage for the standard hardback, represents something of a bargain for such a high quality book. Rather dearer, at £100 plus postage, is the numbered limited edition of 50 signed by each of Akel, Maynard and Rennie, a book which also contains half a dozen examples of the featured tickets, and has the most impressively robust slip case I have ever encountered.