Writing On Literature

  • “If you wish to converse with me,” said Voltaire, “define your terms.” A definition of terms is the boring, necessary foundation to any philosophical debate, and is equally relevant to appreciating this book. In the title the publishers have chosen to pick out “win” in Knowing the Score, but David Papineau, a professor of the philosophy of science, isn’t offering a new and unlikely marginal gain in the quest for sporting victory. Nor is his book an ambitious attempt to mesh the universal cogs of theoretical philosophy and sport..." This book review was in the Times on April 22 and the full text is available here, possibly behind the paywall unless you never look at the Times, in which case you

    May 03,
  • I have a piece in the March 2012 issue of Prospect magazine, on the Jerusalem Marathon. Here’s one I did last month, on squash (Feb 2012): For sports with Olympic status, London 2012 is the golden ticket. Now is the opportunity to increase profile, participation and commercial partnerships. A medal or a notable contender, even a memorable cock-up (no-one forgets Olympian Eddie the Eagle) may establish a sport in the public mind for years to come. Spare a thought, then, for the game of squash. After failing to join the Olympic family in each of the last two bidding rounds, squash will remain untouched by 2012 stardust. ‘It’s really disappointing not to be part of the countdown,’ says Laura Massaro, National

    Mar 10,
  • I have a piece in the Feb 2012 issue of Prospect magazine, on squash. Here's one I did last year, on wrestling (August 2011): By the end of this July’s ‘second chance sale’, over three and a half million tickets had been sold for the 26 sports making up the London 2012 Olympics. There were seats unsold for football and volleyball, but the only individual discipline with tickets left over was freestyle wrestling. In the competition for least-loved Olympic sport in Britain, freestyle wrestling was the winner. What is it, exactly, that no-one is in a rush to see? Freestyle wrestling differs from all-male Greco-Roman wrestling (sold-out) in three ways. Holds below the waist are allowed, the legs may be used

    Jan 23,
  • This was the Rugby World Cup that was going to extend rugby's horizon. The game would show a surprising new face in unfamiliar surroundings to hundreds of thousands of potential start-up fans and players. Then the IRB decided to give RWC 2011 to New Zealand, and not Japan. This was a gift not just of the Cup, but of the cup too. Not even the flakey All Blacks could fail to win the Webb Ellis trophy with home advantage, though they tried their best, offering at the last a glimmer of hope to anyone who loves the game. That hope was extinguished. The All Blacks held on for their win that had been ordained since the IRB decision in

    Oct 23,
  • I was asked to write something for the Radley College 2011 rugby tour brochure to Australia. My envy of a trip like that just about allowed me to say yes. Maybe there's a spot for a physio's assistant? I have experience in this field. Radley College RUFC in Australia 2011 There’s an old joke in Ireland about a tourist asking for directions to a well-known local attraction.  ‘Aye,’ says the local sage. ‘I know where it is. Only I wouldn’t start from here.’ The same might be said of a rugby tour to Australia. A visiting side from England can expect the sporting welcome to be more traditionally Australian than for anyone else. Australians hate to lose. They hate

    Jul 12,
1 2 3 10