Row Z edition 53; dateline 6 April 2011

New leaf as of 1 April
Having had advance notice of the communiqué from the recent TLR symposium (to which Sideliner was NOT invited; thank you) it is with some relief that the team at Row Z Towers finds that the great and the good who met in Oxford have jointly and severally opted to support the new institute for the sector. Having spent the last few years at odds with ISRM and ISPAL (well one of them did try to sue TLR, remember), it feels right and proper to draw a line under Row Z’s former editorial stance and announce our full and fulsome support for whoever takes on the chair and chief executive roles. Here’s the line…

And here’s our first positively meant piece of advice for IMSPA. We think that membership fees for the institute should follow the lead of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and take account of a member’s status. No, we don’t want a neo-con style discount for the married but there are a great many practitioners operating as freelances and consultants and their incomes are a deal less certain than colleagues lucky enough to be salaried. If they, like Sideliner, were to join the NUJ their freelance status would be accommodated. As for people who have been victims of the Tory axe and are now out of work, how are they supposed to maintain their professional status if membership fees have no flexibility?

The end of the peers show
Clearly the only way to resolve the dispute between LOCOG and the BOC is for Seb Coe to take Colin Moynihan round the back of Canary Wharf and slug it out, little mano y little mano. You could sell tickets (at prices designed to keep the poor people out) for The Rumble in Docklands: The Little Baron versus Little Lord Moynihan. We are, of course, joking to hide our embarrassment at such an arrogant piece of venality on Moynihan’s part and are grateful to the reader who pointed out that one of the BOC’s reasons for dragging this great nation’s name through the courts is that they believe their end of the wedge accumulated by flogging burger franchises should be taken out of the profit from the Olympics, not out of the profits from the Olympics and Paralympics combined, the latter being a much smaller sum. It seems that Moynihan, a passenger when he ‘competed’ and a liability now, does not want to share the burden of subsiding the Paralympic event.

False name, poor judgement
On the subject of the oval-balled game, Sideliner was delighted to hear that the pseudonymous upstart Joe Coach, who scribbles the odd piece for our companion title The Leisure Review, has been upbraided by the corporate communications department of the Rugby Union itself for suggesting, nay writing, “Martin Johnson is a menace.” This, it was ventured by Twickenham, does not come under the auspices of fair comment and could, it was hinted, have upset the “beetle-browed leviathan” himself. The team at Row Z will content itself with quoting the editor of TLR, Mr Jonathan Ives, who said: “Blimey, that’s why they got beat by Ireland is it? Sorry!”

Now where’s that hammer?
Scrolling through page after page of Sport England press releasage in an attempt to find something vaguely interesting, Sidey was struck by an old quote from the then newly appointed sports minister Hugh Robertson. Chillingly, he said: “Sport is, I think, one of the most under-used tools of government and one of the great challenges is to push sport out so that it starts to mean more across government.” Given that the ConDem’s toolbox seems to be full of blunt instruments which they use to beat the needy over the head, we wonder whether adoption by government is a good thing for the sector ;or perhaps not.

Who’s that politician in the black
What larks. Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, has undertaken training with a view to becoming a football referee. He has yet to run around Hackney Marshes with his spindly white legs hanging like pipe cleaners from his shiny black shorts but he has taken one or two theory lessons and doubtless this will help him control 22 Sunday League thugs in shiny shirts and shorts as they kick lumps out of each other filling in time until the pub opens again. Project Whistler is supposed to help Mr Hunt “get inside football”. What he will find in there one can only surmise, although Sideliner is prepared to bet that he’ll hear his name pronounced the way Jim Naughtie did it rather more than he wants to.


At the Arts End

Sack-cloth and champagne
In 2008 when Arts Council England (ACE) announced which arts organisations were going to be funded the “careless arrogance” of the quango caused as much furore as the decisions. Three years on ACE has learned the lesson and has translated the government cuts in as open and transparent a way as possible. Why then is poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy using words like “national shame and scandal” and ranting, “This news goes beyond shocking and touches the realms of the disgusting”? Because ACE has axed a poetry group, of course. One-eyed? The woman could comment on referees for Manchester United.

Cheery Mancs sidelining shame
Quite what justification the BBC can offer for sending Radcliffe and Maconie to somewhere called 6 Music continues to escape Sideliner. It was bad enough that radio’s middle-aged answer to Ant and Dec saw their Thursday evening slot handed over to a clips show but now the remaining three evenings will be bereft of cheeky chappies with a chummy northern twang playing obscure bands and chatting with musicians, poets and Noddy Holder. Shame on you, Auntie.

Unwelcome pest draws rat. Arf!
The news that Samantha Cameron is offering a drawing of a cat and a rat for auction says much for the gullibility of London folk, more for the arrogance of the Cameron milieu and very little about art. The line drawing would qualify as ‘naif’ or even ‘primitif’ if one were very pretentious and desperate to curry favour but since we’re not either we’re going with ‘poor’. In our defence, we are not alone in failing see the empress’s new clothes. Artist Rob Ryan gave SamCam only five out of ten for her daub and some advice on the anatomy of rats. Should anyone wish to link the chancellor’s name with that last phrase in an attempt at wit, be our guest.

Laugh? I almost voted Liberal Democrat
It might surprise some readers to discover that The Leisure Review, and by association Row Z, are what used to be called closed shops with every one of the staff required to be a card-carrying member of the NUJ. This has some attendant benefits, beyond the joy of raising two fingers to ‘The Man’, and one such is a stream of invitations to left-leaning arty happenings, usually in favour of one good cause or another. The latest of these to seize the imagination of the work experience lass who is detailed off to open all the NUJ emails is a comedy evening at the Kro Bar (see, even the venue is funny) which features “Shaista Aziz, former BBC and Aljazeera journalist” and, more promisingly, “vegan poet and outrageously healthy funnyman” Dominic Berry. On the promise that the latter will do lots of poo jokes, the lairy graphic designer is organising a wayzgoose and anyone who knows what that is can join us; well him and his mate Rick, who, when they’re together, make the blokes in the record shop in Nick Hornby’s novel High Fidelity seem socially well-rounded.


Drawing a veil

This month we shall be placing these Welsh rugby teams of news in their rightful fifth place in the 6 Nations of our attention :

Geoffrey Boycott’s steepling arrogance latterly manifested in his claims that Michael Yardy’s depression must have been caused by the Yorkshire milliner’s criticism’s of Yardy’s flat spin bowling; the Spanish cycling drugs cheat Alberto Contador’s steepling arrogance in threatening to take the UCI to a Swiss court if the governing body go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reinstate the ban for taking clembuterol, which Albie has had overturned by a Spanish court; the horrendous outfits being forced on Rugby League referees which combine the vilest of colours with an inappropriate weight of fabric and a deplorable cut; the cut in basketball’s Sport England funding which will only serve to encourage other NGBs to follow football’s and netball’s lead and employ operatives with “grassroots” in their title to count people who are participating in their (the NGBs’) sports blithely unaware that they (the NGBs) exist; the winding-up of Peter Mann’s bastard child ISPAL with nothing of note having been achieved in four and a bit years beyond a deal on Indoor Rowing qualifications and the strengthening of GreenSpace as parkies fled ILAM’s replacement pausing only to direct sports development colleagues to the door marked “obscurity”; 63 year-old Rolling Stone, Ronnie Wood, being nominated for a Sony Radio Academy award in the “rising star” category; Wayne fucking Rooney.

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