Virtually in touch

Watching the world cup one-day final on the phone, after an unfortunate encounter with online...
Watching the world cup one-day final on the phone, after an unfortunate encounter with online pornography. Otherwise, on tour in Canada with Laura Williamson. Photos: Supplied
Being away from home can today be a matter of so far and yet so near. A bit like cricket, writes columnist Liz Breslin. 

LIz Breslin
LIz Breslin

Hello from the Canada of things. Or, to be more precise, the BC corner of Canada, where I'm on tour for a couple of weeks with fellow poet Laura Williamson.

Part of the privilege of travel these days is the relentless ability to be in touch. We can social media our exploits from every corner of the province, making sure to make it look like the best fun at the best angles. Which it is. (Mostly.) There's even Wi-Fi on the international airplanes, which meant the millennial in our row could vlog his girlfriend with updates during the flight. Which was great. (Mostly not.)

And of course, we've been using technology to keep in touch with everyone and everything important at home. Which is family (mostly) and, of course, sport. The cricket, the netball, that other tour (the de France one). We check in every day. (As a sideline, we've also managed to fit in a show in a bar, a show in a bookshop, a show in a coffee shop, a show in a skate park, a slam, an open-mic where we had a full jazz band accompanying our poetic efforts, a visit to Grinder and Tinder the grizzly bears, a surf lesson, some other stuff I forgot to mention and the time to make it look enviable on Facebook.)

Jet lag is nobody's friend. Still, the time difference was (kind of) a blessing in disguise when it came to the cricket.

Theoretically, we could see more of the action in real time, though the mechanisms of not being able to find it online meant I accidentally clicked here for download when I shouldn't have and my computer started spewing porn-teasers and warnings and I got scared and missed a crucial half-hour (OK, yes, it's true, all the half hours are crucial when it comes to cricket) while speaking to the computer-fixing hotline people in Canada and messaging my brother in the UK. Oh. So. Global. Every time the lovely calm voice on the other end of the line said "So now I want you to go ahead and use your computer browser so I can see how it's working,'' I furiously typed WORLD CUP CRICKET LATEST SCORES. Oh. So. Nerve-racking. As it turned out, we had our tech and (mostly) the bug all sorted by the time it came to the second of the super overs - we'd video-called New Zealand and were very silently holding the phone very very still and peering in on another computer screen and hoping very very very hard.

Later that day Laura read her Very Important Series of cricket haiku at our show in a bar on Main Street, Vancouver. I liked her haiku because they were all about England's defeat by New Zealand in 2015. They are Historic Haiku, of a proud and glorious time. Like this:


Missing: pair of balls.

If found, please return to the

English cricket team.

Haiku are important in making sense of the world (as well as in making fun of the English cricket team). If you don't believe me you can ask the Wilderpeople people. So I made up my own for the occasion.


We lost the world we

lost the world we lost the world

we lost the World Cup.

It needs some work. Though everything's a work in progress. Later, getting RNZ updates on the Island Highway from Nanaimo to Tofino, I wrote a companion poem for the Silver Ferns.


We won the world, we

didn't get paid; we won the

World Cup anyway.

Everything's a work in progress. And in a haiku World Cup I wouldn't fancy my chances, but at least, like social media updates, haiku are a fun and concentrated way to spend fun and concentrated time on the road. To ride out the missing of what and who is home. And to say what you want to say.


I miss you, the screens

are not the same. I can't wait

to see you again.


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