Happy belated corrective lunar drift day everybody. Having the extra day in February has made all the difference, giving us the opportunity to rewind back to summer of last year and another memorable day in the studio, when cricketing brothers Mark and Gary Butcher generously gave an afternoon of their time to the Mixed Project. After a successful shoot, we sat down to hear the brothers’ unique perspectives on Mixed. Rhoda and I even found time for a quick orange juice and a chat off the record with the two legendary batsmen at the local tavern.
The Butcher brothers’ father, Alan is a former left-handed Surrey batsman who opened for England. Born in Croydon in 1954, the head of this exceptionally talented family is now known for his coaching, previously leading Surrey and recently spearheading Zimbabwe’s return to test cricket in 2011. Elaine, the Butchers’ mother, was born in 1954 in Camberwell. Two years prior, her parents had sailed over from Jamaica to settle in England.
Older brother Mark, born in 1972, made his debut for England in 1997 and went on to play for his country a total of 71 times. ‘Butch’ made a formidable eight centuries with an average of over 34. He also captained Surrey before retiring from professional cricket in 2009. When not in the cricket commentary box, Mark focuses on another talent he has been nurturing since he was thirteen: playing the Blues, with The Mark Butcher Band. We got to check them out at The Borderline a while back and we were really impressed… their debut album, Songs From the Sun House was released last year to positive reviews and is on our selective studio playlist at the moment (the cover portrait ain’t so bad either!). Following encouragement from friend Eric Clapton, the former batsman went on to enjoy career highlights including a duet with Sarah Brightman on the BBC’s Just the Two of Us, and playing at the Royal Albert Hall along side Albert Lee and Bill Wyman.
Gary is the younger of the two brothers, born in 1975 and is also a former first class cricketer. Starting his career with Glamorgan in 1994, he famously took a wicket with his first ever delivery (to cricket virgins, it just doesn’t get better than that for a debut). Gary went on to join his brother Mark to play for Surrey in 1999 and won a county championship whilst he was there. Gary was a cricketing all-rounder, bowling right-handed with a touch of swing. His best bowling was 7-77 with an average of 37.93, whilst with his bat he achieved a top score of 101 not out with an average of 27.89. Today, he has found a different avenue for his passion teaching at King’s College Wimbledon School.
We’re looking forward to sharing with you extracts of the brothers’ revealing testimony soon.