• I'm trying to find out about the new place I've come to live.  One way is to walk about.  I've done a bit of that.  There's also jogging.  I'm now a familiar sight along the Thames, tripping over mooring lines and dodging courting couples.  Courting doesn't involve much talking these days, it seems, and you can do most of it with your eyes shut.  The Thames on a summer evening is the longest Lover's Lane in England, with boys and girls in their late teenage taking another last chance to grow older without regrets. For the broader view, I've also taken to my bike, and yesterday I rode from Slough to Oxford.  Somewhere outside Henley I took a detour into

    Aug 31,
  • I was scheduled to make an appearance on Sky Sports News today to discuss England's feeble capitulation in the last Test of the Ashes series.  The interview was arranged on Friday morning.  The last time I was on, a couple of weeks ago, I was marking the three-year countdown to the London Olympics.  I was there to give my views on whether British athletes could expect triumph or disaster, though I suspect my role was to make the case for disaster. I am the Loss Correspondent.  I am the why-oh-why man.  Something must be done.  Don't know what?  Ask me.  Where are the medals?  I know where to find them. This is because in 2005 I went to Australia to look

    Aug 23,
  • On a bootleg Jimi Hendrix album called Mr Pitiful (German sleeve, Swiss pressing) Jimi has a shambolic stab at a studio recording of Wooly Bully.  He is long gone dogbone stoned, and has lost his earphones.  He finds this hilarious, but nobody else knows what he's looking for.  You know, he giggles, the ear-things, man, the ear-goggles.  I always loved that.  And since i-pods came out even more so.  Tuck in the plastic ear-goggles and see the world differently, in your own chosen way.   My music, my timing, my world.  I-pod, me-pod. The i-pod is a wonderful invention, but I can't help feeling there are some unanswered design questions.  I don't use my ipod on the bus, not since I was made jumpy by the

    Aug 18,
  • Saturday afternoon, and it’s the Hyde Park World Championship Series Triathlon on BBC 1.  This is the sport you get on terrestrial for £142.50 a year.  It went on for hours.  And hours. In principle triathlon should be interesting to watch.  Superfit athletes, male and female, cutting straight through the monotony of single-issue athletics by combining three events in one.  It’s probably quite interesting to do, making sure there are no muscles that don’t hurt by the end of the day and riding a bicycle 40 kilometres in a swimsuit. Unfortunately, incongruous clothing doesn’t make for great sporting TV, otherwise we’d already have gymnastics in dungarees, probably on Eurosport. The problem with triathlon as a spectator event is that

    Aug 16,
  • The latest news from England’s leaky cricket camp is that before the Headingley duckshoot Freddie Flintoff declared himself fit.  Captain Andrew Strauss, acting on the advice of doctors, disagreed and decided not to include him in the team.  Given Flintoff’s participation at Edgbaston, where supposedly his knee felt no worse, that doesn’t seem very fair of Strauss.  Given the opinion of the doctors, it doesn’t seem very honest of Flintoff. This isn’t the only subject on which Flintoff and Strauss disagree.  When interviewed, Strauss buys himself time to think with the thoughtful preface ‘to be fair…’.  Flintoff, on the other hand, prefers a bluffer, salt-of-the-earth ‘to be honest…’ Both players have perfected their own preferred stalling mechanism through sheer repetition.  Strauss is

    Aug 11,