Archive for July 2011
It’s always embarrassing when you turn up at a party and someone is wearing the same dress as you. Especially if you are a man.
Due to a momentary miscommunication my mum and mother-in-law were a credit card swipe from buying outfits in the same colour for my recent wedding. Had the transaction been completed then we obviously would have had no option but to postpone our nuptials until an alternative outfit could be sourced for one of the pair.
A similar sartorial collision is looming at the Rugby World Cup. England have peered into their wardrobe and picked out a little black number to use as their away kit. Which clashes with the home strip of the host nation New Zealand, the All Blacks. Apparently they wear all black as well.
Jonah Lomu has a problem with this. He says it’s disrespectful to New Zealand players. It seems only Kiwis are allowed to wear black. You have been warned all you funeral-goers, Benedictine monks and emos – expect a spear tackle very soon.
Perhaps we can accuse Lomu of being a little dramatic. It’s not as if England are wearing shirts embroidered with the slogan “New Zealand are Rubbish Idiots” and I am as certain as I can be that they are not planning to wear black should they come up against the hosts.
If every national sporting side was so possessive about their chosen colours then we’d have to invent new colours and I can’t think of any off the top of my head. So let’s just agree that England can wear black when necessary and New Zealand whenever they like. They can also do their funny little dance before the game too.
No pleasure should be derived from the news that Wales have slithered below the Faroe Islands in the latest FIFA rankings. Absolutely no gratification whatsoever should be gained from the fact that a nation boasting a PFA Player of the Year and its own Premier League club has dropped precipitously below a team representing a volcanic crag in the North Arctic populated exclusively by fisherfolk and guillemots. None.
What is quite amusing however is that this Welsh ignominy was apparently sealed by a punctilious Faroese student (it’s him and the fishermen and the guillemots) called Jakup who spotted an erroneous calculation in the original Fifa listings which had Wales above his motherland.
His sums were corroborated by a Romanian computer programmer. Edgar is his name. Edgar has his own website which works out FIFA rankings and UEFA co-efficients and all sorts of fun stuff. So you don’t have to.
I commend you to pay it a visit. It’s a sexy mathematical cocktail of bewildering statistical permutations and potential seeding information and, and, sprinkled with pithy quotes from the Bible.
You can e-mail Edgar in case you think your FIFA ranking is wrong. I might contact him. Just to say that I like printing boring stuff on the internet too.
It seems that is now illegal to remark on Rahul Dravid‘s qualities as a batsmen without also voicing an additional comment about his good character. Everyone agrees that ‘the Wall’ is indeed a very nice wall. Nasser Hussain went as far to say gushingly that Dravid was a “sensational guy”, perhaps revealing a latent man-crush.
I have once encountered Dravid at close quarters. He was on Oxford St, standing outside Aldo. I can vouch that he appeared very courteous and humble while window-shopping for mid-priced loafers.
I can add Dravid to Shane Warne and Abdul Razzaq to the list of international cricketers that I have seen on Oxford St. It’s a rich seam, particularly when you consider I’ve only come across one footballer in that period. Jan-Aage Fjortoft. In HMV. True story.
I worry about Dravid. He looks a bit spoddy. I can’t help thinking that people might take advantage of his better nature.
We need a wicketkeeper. Rahul, put your pads and gloves on.
We need an opener. Rahul, put your pads and gloves on.
We need a wicketkeeper, and then opener immediately afterwards. Rahul, put your pads and gloves on and then put your other pads and gloves on.
Rahul, make us a brew.
Rahul, go get us some fags and a Toffee Crisp.
And so on.
Bet he makes a nice cup of tea.
Crooked cricketers of the world be warned. Steve Waugh is on a crusade to disinfect the game, to rid it of its vermin. And don’t go thinking you can lie to him. He’s got a special machine that will uncover your porkie the second it drops from your mouth.
But I’ve always been led to believe that lie-detection was the shifty associate of mainstream forensic science, a technology only to be trusted when employed in dubious cop movies. If it did work, then the entire judicial system would be reduced to “did you do it?”, “no”, “computer says you’re lying, you’re going down”.
Given his confidence in the efficacy of the polygraph, it may be that Waugh has seen too many of these films. In fact, it doesn’t take a bounding leap of imagination to conceive a scene in which the former Australian captain and his twin have hauled in some snivelling rodent for questioning and are playing out some outrageous ‘good Waugh, bad Waugh’ scenario. Mark attempting to wheedle out information with his persuasive charm. Steve prowling in the background, dabbing at his sweaty lips with his beloved red hankie, waiting to bring MCC justice to bear on the suspect’s fingers with the blade of his bat.
I’d watch it.
It is the debate that has split the country in two. The nation has not been this riven since a roundhead first offered a cavalier outside to taste his musket. It’s Blur vs Oasis. Moore vs Connery. Pro-life vs abortion.
The latest hot spud demands that each and everyone of us ask fundamental questions of our own worldview and decide exactly where we stand. Do you prefer brunettes or blondes? State or private education? North or south (Leicestershire)? Burly or willowy? Tall or really tall? Swing or seam?
I’d go for Bresnan. The selectors will probably plump for Broad. I don’t know really.
Welcome to the first and last in a series of sportspeople that resemble celebrity pets. This week’s effort is a cover shot from Cosmopolitan of Kelly Osbourne cuddling something that looks a lot like Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
I genuinely don’t know what this animal is. Is it a cat? A dog? Or even a tiny bear? Maybe it is just Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
For those of you edified by the spectacle of top-level sportsmen being a bit crap you might be advised to tune into the Open at Royal St.Georges this week. Last time round at Sandwich Tiger Woods hit his first shot of the championship into the clag and lost his ball, wading into the jungle like a Sunday hacker and suffering multiple shin lacerations from the nasty thistles.
The word on the Kent street is that the course has been softened up for tomorrow, the committee mindful of the public desire for a noted champion rather than the vaguely bewildered journeyman that was Ben Curtis in 2003. Some major tournament administrators labour under the misapprehension that creating a tougher test sorts the men from boys. It does the opposite. It invites men and boys to play together as equal, if that doesn’t sound like a homosexual golf orgy.
But there is still this:
This is the bunker on the fourth hole at Royal St Georges. It’s the deepest bunker on the major circuit. It’s so massive you could ski down it. It might have a second use as an eco-home for a family of ethno-sloanes. There used to be a thriving medieval village at top but it has been long since laid waste to by voracious erosion. Look closely at the foot of this vast granulated mountain and there are the antique skulls of the poor souls who ventured in there with a sand wedge and never came out again.
Let’s hope at least one unfortunate wanders in there, there’ll be more hacking than a red-top newspaper (ooh topical).
I bowled two overs yesterday. I conceded 37 runs. My team lost by two runs. It has led me to appraise my skills as a cricketer, assess my strengths and weaknesses.
My weaknesses as a bowler is probably my bowling. My bowling is quite weak. I’m not great at fielding either.
Among my strengths is the fact that I am not bad in the clubhouse. When batting, I am pretty good at the leave. The leave is my best shot. I’m better at not hitting the ball than hitting it. I am also very good at under-arming the ball to the bowler when standing at mid-on. I am so accurate that often the bowler doesn’t even need to break stride as he walks back to his mark.
My genuine skill in the game is scoring. I am very handy with a pencil in my hands. I know when to erase and not to erase. I can count to six.
Which is why I love the below clip of one of my brethren, Keith Booth, in action at in the score box at the Oval. Action is probably the wrong word. There is a long section at the end in which the most interesting thing to happen is Keith clearing his throat. My favourite quote is when Keith explains that his Tipp-ex is the second most important tool of his trade, behind only his laptop. Obviously no-one has shown him where the delete button is.