Writing On Literature

  • Broadcasting House, Radio 4 19/11/06  One hundred and thirty years ago, when English sportsmen first sailed to Australia to play cricket, their supporters back home were the same people who a generation earlier had been equally keen on brutal animal events like bull-baiting.  This was the popular spectacle that made the British bulldog a national emblem, for its tenacity in seizing a bull’s testicles. Between its teeth. Regrettably, painfully, for most of the last two decades, at cricket the English have been the bull and the Australians the dog.  Despite the heroics of last summer, anyone who’s been paying attention expects Australia to win the Ashes series that starts next week. They have a psychological advantage simply because they’re

    Oct 20,
  • 'Defeat, particularly dramatic defeat, confirms our worst image of ourselves. We are not effective, after all, not truly competent, not manly in crisis.’ The Boys of Summer, Roger Kahn The simple answer is yes. To take just one sport, rugby union, Britain has four separate countries each with its own competitions. The league system in England is the largest integrated competitive pyramid in the world, meaning that the bottom team in Midlands 6 East (South) can theoretically, by being a team of winners, reach the Guinness Premiership. This holds true for every team in the 114 leagues across the country, but, alas, not everyone can be a winner.

    Jun 18,