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By Asides, Cricket and Literature

This morning I sloped up to Radio New Zealand to review Richard Boock’s new biography of Bert Sutcliffe: “The Last Everyday Hero”. Kathryn’s a cricket fan so, even though she hadn’t got to reading the book, we had plenty to talk about. Including an unexpected diversion into the subject of Fleetwood Mac.

Listen here or download from the link below:

[audio:http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20100825–1040-Book_Review_with_Dan_Slevin-048.mp3]

Book Review with Dan Slevin: “The Last Everyday Hero: The Bert Sutcliffe Story” by Richard Boock, published by Longacre Press — Random House NZ. (duration: 7m 58s)

World Cup Interlude

By Football and meta

Once again, things have gone a bit quiet around here but I have been producing some writing for the Internet at Russell Brown’s Public Address blog for the last week or two. Hadyn, Peter D and I have been World Cup guest-blogging and you can read my contributions here, here, here and here. My final piece, trying to reach some conclusions about the tournament, will appear after the Final is concluded some time next Monday.

On the subject of the World Cup, I came across this article at The Guardian today, again trying to sum the tournament up with two games to go:

As we saw in this year’s European Cup, and are now seeing in the World Cup, football is going through a phase in which the science of coaching has the upper hand over the technical skill of individual players. That emphasis gives an advantage to the rich European clubs, and by extension to their national teams, who benefit most immediately from the rising levels of tactical sophistication.

Which seems a reasonable conclusion to come to, I guess, but quite different to what was being said a fortnight ago. I would add that the argument about the primacy of the coach is confirmed by the success of New Zealand (the best coached and led side at the tournament?) and the failure of England, whose coach failed to overcome the negative influences of player-power and media bullying.

Anyway, the World Cup has taken a lot of my time recently, and the Film Festival kicks off in Wellington next Thursday so that’s another fortnight spoken for. Indeed, I have been beavering away at screener DVDs from the Festival for my Capital Times preview which goes to print next week — and I’ll post it here (and at Wellingtonista) as soon as I can.

Nomads and imports

By Asides and Cricket

Andy Bull (good British name) talking about English cricket’s nomads and imports in The Spin:

There is no need to mark a dividing line between those who arrived as children and those who made the decision later in life, just as there is no need to draw distinctions between players who have moved from Test-playing nations and those who haven’t. The point is that they decided to come at all. That is sufficient commitment in itself.

That sentiment is true for all walks of life, not just sport.

Management consultancy

By Hammers, Literature and Sport

CM3 box (1999)If I could have another life to live, simultaneous with my own, I would probably spend most of it playing Sports Interactive’s Football Manager (aka Championship Manager). While I tend to scoff at those who get excited at Beatles Rock Bands and am baffled but impressed by those who take games seriously, I cannot deny my achilles heel and so every year I download the demo of the latest version and then force myself to not buy the full game in order to stay sane.

The 2009 version introduced half-time and full-time team talks, allowing you to gee-up or dress-down your team depending on your psychology, theirs, and the state of the match. Motivational options included “Show your disappointment at the team” or “Tell your players to do this for the supporters” and you could single players out for criticism or praise (“Tell Cole that you are delighted with him”).

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A Straight bat Outta Compton

By Cricket and Sport

90 minutes away from the first day of the 1st Test of the Ashes from lovely Cardiff, here’s something to warm the heart of any cricket fan, the Compton Cricket Club from South Central LA rap about the game:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKa2mp5ePes[/youtube]

More on the Compton Cricket Club here, and here. I once toyed with writing a screenplay based on these wonderful people until I discovered the story had already been optioned — as an opera. My version would a be ripper, though, I assure you.

[Hat-tip The Guardian 11 Best Songs About Cricket]