Edition number 7; dateline 5 October 2007

Umbrage in the shadows
The Leisure Review is disinclined to adopt the modern usage of ‘performance indicators’ and tends to judge success by more traditional measures such as ‘umbrage caused’. Visitors to the excellent Leisure Industry Week may have been able to see the gauge twitching slightly as the chief executive of a national professional body (sic) sought to upbraid the TLR editor for some perceived slight in a recent issue. The editor was happy to concur with many of the points being made (not least the deathless "I did know what I was saying, actually") but from our distant vantage point he seemed to be struggling to hide his delight that somebody had taken the time not only to read the report on the national sports development seminar but also to take offence at it.

Big event, Small World
And speaking of industry bunfights. When it comes to deconstructing the conference experience, Row Z doffs its cap to David Lodge, professor of modern English literature at Birmingham University, whose novel Small World says all there is to be said about the awful predictability of the annual ‘get-together’. Quite what he would make of ISRM’s forthcoming jamboree, to be held at Centre Parcs in Sherwood Forest with delegates shacking up three at a time in the holiday village’s – well, shacks – we shudder to think. However, we know exactly what he would say to the idea of the conference dinner being delivered in the format of a medieval banquet as he portrays just such an evening’s ‘entertainment’ held to close a University Teachers of English Language and Literature annual conference held early in his book. For the true horror of the ersatz bacchanalia you need to read the book itself (from behind the sofa if you work for ISRM) but Lodge describes the aftermath thus: “In the bar the conferees, who earlier had been drinking heavily to get themselves into the mood for the medieval banquet, were now drinking even more heavily in an effort to erase it from their memories.”

The mysterious case of unheeded warnings
Row Z seldom takes the moral high ground but a story on The Guardian website shocked and disappointed Sideliner who issued orders that it be “covered”. The story began: “A top tennis coach accused of having an affair with a 13-year-old she was teaching appeared in court yesterday on five charges of unlawful sexual activity with a child.” The piece concerned the trial of a coach at the Lawn Tennis Association's training academy in Leicestershire and went on to detail the details of the case, which were both murky and unpleasant, and covered alleged abuse that took place over two years. Sideliner paid scant attention. However, coffee was spilt and the office harmony was badly disturbed by the lines, attributed to the prosecutor: “The relationship between coach and student transcended the bounds of a normal relationship. And despite repeated warnings [by the academy] the defendant continued.” Despite repeated warnings? Repeated? Warnings? Is Sideliner alone in experiencing profound despair at what appears to be a systemic failure by the LTA to protect a young person in its care? Apart from the poor girl’s mum of course.

Fighting talk from the Sideliner sofa
Believe it or not the Rugby World Cup is still with us and Row Z’s man on the sofa is beginning to speak of it as a classic of its kind. The breathless, and some times senseless, encounter between Fiji and Wales has apparently justified the cost of a TV licence on its own. And not because Row Z’s prediction (see Archive) was cataclysmically proved correct and ‘cold reality’ hit the entire Principality like a flounder in the face. This weekend sees the Lilywhites taking on the Wallabies in a game that some are calling the Antipodeans’ “chance for revenge”. Tosh. Only when the Aussies beat England in a world cup final in our own back yard will they be able to expunge the shame of their 2003 humiliation; you’d think!


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