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All Shall Sleep


I knew I had it somewhere. Took me ages to dig it our but I found my scorecard for the World’s Most Boring Arse competition held in Essex (where else ?) in March.

While there’s a dearth of sporting action to enjoy I thought I’d share it with you. I even remembered to jot down the scores for you. BBC Olympic Coverage ?  Ha!!

Apparently, Seb Coe had to pull out at the last minute, on the basis that he actually gave an interesting press conference earlier on in the year. Factually incorrect, but interesting nevertheless. This gave first reserve, the former head of Liverpool Council, Derek Hatton, the chance to compete in the world championships once again, over 20 years after he’d been barred for “excessive use of boredom”. A good result over fellow leftie mogadon and self-publicist, Paul Boateng, Hatton succumbed to the mastery of Colin Montgomery (“The White Pele”).

The real Pele suffered all competition from jet-lag, and at one stage almost put himself to sleep, before recovering consciousness to edge out rugby leg-end Gavin Hastings. But that didn’t dent the Scottish drive for glory. Backing up Montgomery was Sir Chris “The Flying Lullaby”  Hoy. Caledonia, world leaders in dullness, have enjoyed great success over the years at the Championships – winning it for the last 73 years – and with Monty and Hoy spearheading the attack, who would bet against them winning again ? Not me, that’s for sure. The early retirement of Gavin’s brother Scott, and the near-fatal narcolepsy of Sir Jackie Stewart doesn’t seem to have affected the bluntness of their armoury.

Disappointing tournaments Claire Balding (who looked confused to see Colin Montgomery in the same room) and John Lydon*, who just looked confused.

Deborah Meaden had to be destroyed after the first round.

*Johnny Rotten disqualified for not trying to be boring enough. Eubank goes through on review.

**The Winner received a Postal Order for £17.50, and a guest spot on Countdown.

In Chambers, Balding Out, Bernie In.


Qualifying Session: Trouble with the fuel pump in the McLaren Pit

This’ll shock you: I’m not an expert on Bahrain Politics. Every morning for the past week the BBC has been reporting on the protests in the Bahrain capital of Manama ahead of this weekend’s F1 Grand Prix. The Beeb, who coincidentally last season lost it’s right to exclusively cover F1, has devoted extensive coverage (or as extensive a coverage as the Bahrain govt will allow) of the protests against the shocking human rights violations, and against the Formula 1 juggernaut staging a show at this time.

Amazingly, and what really amazed me, the Crown Prince of Bahrain thinks the race should go ahead. As does Bernie Ecclestone. The BBC actually bothered to broadcast that interview. Hold that front page. Bernie, sounding more and more like Porky Pig as he’s asked to justify racing during the start of a revolution may as well have said “Erbederbederbederbe th th th that’s all folks”. This race means a lot of cash for Bernie and F1 and he wasn’t about to start giving coherent answers to pertinent questions just to satisfy news outlets.

Mountains to climb: Bernie Ecclestone (bottom left hand corner)

Instead he went down the “never mix sport with politics” line. A line he conveniently forgot a few years ago when he was bunging Tony Blair a million quid. It’ll be tough for Bernie to regain and rebuild his reputation after this one (what am I saying ?? WHAT reputation ?) especially after the F1 road show moves on in the next few weeks to the Burmese, North Korean and the ever-popular 1930s Germany Grand Prix(s). [subs: please fill in here the plural of Prix]

True to form, the British Government have been Chocolate Teapotting this one. Not a word has come from Cameron or the Tory govt (I think we can forget the Con-Dems now, as they’re even lagging behind UKIP in the polls) about not traveling to Bahrain, or propping up an evil society (and how could they, indeed? ). So the Democracy movement in Manama is left to fend for itself. Protestors on the streets of the capital, petrol bombs thrown at tanks and armoured cars. I woke this morning to hear on the radio to reports of columns of tanks forming on the city streets, which at first I mis-heard as “the re-formation of Manama Armour ” Thanks god I was mistaken. No-one needs to hear their version of Venus again.

Manama Armour: Terrifying

It fills me with nostalgia seeing wave after wave of F1 drivers lined up in front of the cameras  to trot out lines such as “sport is the most important thing” (Felipe Massa) . Similar stuff was script-written for the rebel cricket tours of South Africa in the 1980s and 90s when the cream of English cricket disgustingly ignored the plight of black and coloured South Africans under the apartheid regime and took part in a series of matches which many saw as an endorsement of the racist system and administration. The players were exiled from the sport thereafter, but many (or even most) have been reinstated to some of the highest positions the game can offer. It’s not something the sport should be proud of.

"This has nothing to do with the huge wads of cash on offer". Mike Gatting, future English Head of Selectors David Graveney and John Embury before the 1990 Rebel Tour to Suth Africa.

I don’t expect for one minute they will down-tools and come out on the side of the trodden masses. I suspect the Bernie’s hierarchy (or lowerarchy in his case) has the morals and conscience of the Dwayne Chambers Fan Club. Chambers looks like he’s going to win his case against the British Olympic Committee‘s by-law ruling that the drug-taking sprinter should be barred from competing at the Stratford Sports Day this summer. He and the other cheat (that we know of), cyclist David Millar look likely to be allowed to race alongside others who took the rather naive route of hard work, good diet and hard training to achieve their goals. Well Done the Olympic Movement !! Do you have anything else up your sleeve which may make these games less attractive to watch ?

In completely unrelated news, Caster Semenya has qualified to represent South Africa by two balls to none (Duckworth-Lewis method).

Now the good news: Claire Balding is to leave the BBC, probably to go a work for the Channel 4 Racing team, where her anticipated teaming up with John McCririck seems likely to be the first X-Rated horse racing coverage on British TV. I’m having nightmares about it already. Balding will leave after the BBC (yes, I am having a go at them again) shed their responsibility of covering the Grand National and therefore just about their entire racing coverage. No great shakes, you might think. But for me it means La Balding won’t be popping her fat head and chin up during coverage of any of the remaining sport which the state broadcaster clings on to.

Balding (left) the new female to McCririck ?

Rapidly fashioning herself as a poor man’s Steve Ryder, Claire will now doubtless be employed to take the piss out the teeth of competitors at the Paralympics, which only Channel 4 have the rights to. Imagine ie: Balding, McCririck and Hopeless Deley. What a missed opportunity.

Finally, the cheering yet astounding news that Fabrice Muamba may play soccer again. In an interview to be published in tomorrow’s Sun on Sunday (let me know how it reads, will you ?)  describes how, even though they are baffled by what happened to him and his heart, doctors have not ruled out the possibility of the 24 year old Bolton FC footballer playing the game again. The popular midfielder “died” on the pitch for 78 minutes last month (please, no Charlton jokes here) yet the chances are he will play again. Truly amazing and inspiring.

My doctor told me this week that there’s no chance of playing cricket all the time I’m still taking Warfarin.  The chances of nicking myself and spurting blood all over my short and square legs is too much of a risk to take. So that rules out another season for me. He did, however reckon I’ll be able to play golf, “no problem at all”. Which will be a first for me.

Now back to Ted Kravitz in the Pit Lane.

I’m All Wrong, Jack


I read with interest that they’re going to let cyclists travel the wrong way up a one-way street. Brilliant! I have enough problems crossing the road and avoid being mowed down by these bastards as it is, never mind getting rammed up the arse by one of them cos I was looking the wrong way. No, I’m not gonna start again, I have nothing more to add to what’s gone before (see previous rants) . Suffice to say I am considering buying a Renault and may be Piquet-ing myself across the road should I see any of the lycra fascists peddling towards me against the traffic. I’m not sure if Lewisham council employs a safety car, perhaps they can buy one out of the cash from all the parking tickets they dish out around Blackheath. Hurrumph.

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I don’t know why I am surprised at this news as I have the feeling I’ve been looking the wrong way at life in general for some time. It’s all gone a bit how’s yer father, hasn’t it?: The Tories, if and when they get in, are gonna make massive defence cuts, while the Labour Party are attacking the BBC and wanting to “cut it down to size”. How are we supposed to know who to vote for (or indeed if)? Gordon’s been trying to please all sides for two years now and managed to please no-one. Osbourne enrages his natural allied voters by dropping schemes for aircraft carriers and fighters, while Bob Ainsworth (yes, isn’t he?) wants more nukes.

Under this supposedly socialist (small ‘s’) government, nothing is built without private money sticking it’s snout in, the poorest are still getting a kicking by the tax man and Gordon Brown courts big business and tabloid newspapers for their support next election (small ‘chance’). I was once at a press awards ceremony when the then Chancellor Gordon appeared, live by satellite, to laud praise on Paul Dacre, the editor of The Daily Mail. That’s The Editor of The Daily Mail. I felt distinctly bilious, it nearly put me off my champagne and canapes. The writing was on the wall there-and-then. Blair had already wooed The Sun and here was his McHenchman cuddling up the The Mail. Stone me.

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Time was when you knew who was who and where you stood. Tories cut taxes to save their rich mates, Labour upped the rate to pay for schools, health and a cheese sandwich and a warm bottle of light ale for any passing Trades Unionist. Unelected Peers were given seats in Tory Governments, while the honest working man rose up through the (elected) ranks to become a lowly, humble, under-paid Labour MP. What now?:Baroness Mandelson even ran the country for a brief period this summer with four fewer votes than Hamid Karzai raised in Afghanistan (none).
Back in the day public spending soared under a Labour administration and those of us on the right (or is it left) side-of-the-tracks were happy to pay more for the common good. Tories would hack away at the Welfare State and sod anyone who couldn’t afford private hospitals or education. They defended and invested in the military and weaponry and invaded anyone who so much as look at us in a funny way, while Labour cut the Services budget, were the party of Ban The Bomb…and invaded anyone who so much as looked at us in a funny way.

And bikes rode the correct way up the street.

During the war….