Row Z edition 55; dateline 2 June 2011

Justice Once: a funny name story
Just in case you hadn’t noticed, we are delighted to tell you that The Leisure Review, our sister publication, is now ‘on’ Twitter and can, apparently, be found at @leisurereview, whatever that might mean. Here at Row Z we shall not be venturing into that particular communications vortex which, Sideliner feels, is all rather odd and pointless. Except, that is, when it throws up issues of international importance and the odd amusing name. Did you know, for example, that the anonymised injunction row has led the lord chief justice to get terribly aerated and that he, the head judge of all the judges, is actually called Lord Judge and that at some point in his career he must have been plain Judge Judge? No? Well that’s Twitter for you.

Twitter at your peril
Sideliner is no prude and has had as many ‘nights on the pop’ as anyone with an active involvement in traditional English sports although never at the very highest level (and the Wales women’s volleyball team, while diligent and relatively talented, really does not qualify in that bracket). It may seem mealy-mouthed, therefore, to criticise England spinner Graeme Swann who tweeted from his hotel room in Cardiff that he had consumed “a dozen jaguarbombs, 2 pints of lager and a packet of crisps”. According to the new intern – Row Z Towers being too trendy an environment for a mere ‘work experience lass’ these days – Swann probably meant Jäegerbombs, which apparently consist of a shot of a branded spirit and a quantity of caffeine-based pop. That’s ‘pop’ as in ‘fizzy pop’, rather than ‘pop’ as in alcohol. Jaegermeister is a digestif liqueur with an alcohol by volume (ABV) content of 35%, which means Swann probably consumed between 15 and 20 units of alcohol in the four hours between announcing he was going out to celebrate “a ridiculous win” and his last tweet of the day, estimated at 4am. Which means he drank over a gallon of beer in the week of an international match, given that the second test starts on Friday, while staying up most of the night to do so. Quite what Lord’s thinks of this behaviour was, at the time of writing, unrecorded.

Running, out of volunteers
Our friends over at Inside Track have had a right old go about the leakage of volunteers from the track and field corner of the sports system. Having noted recent Sport England research which discovered the apparently previously unremarked positive effect of volunteers on sports participation, the blog argues that volunteering is under threat and palpably declining and offers a cogently argued reason why. Their case is irrefutable. If more vigorous volunteering leads to more active participation the corollary is true; if volunteering declines – as it has in athletics – then so, inexorably, must participation. Stating the obvious is clearly one of Sport England’s remaining roles but they really should avoid stating it anywhere near Gwenda Ward. You should read the piece. It’s at

Who’s hot?
Great news for squash and possibly racquetball (which is how to spell it). The sport is or has been or perhaps may be favoured by Dr Who. Our Northern Ireland and children’s television correspondent has reported that in the episode called The Doctor’s Wife the Time Lord was keen to leave this universe but could only do so if he could bring extra power to bear. His solution was to “burn up some rooms to give us some welly”. Having bid farewell to the swimming pool and the scullery, he says “Sayanora squash court seven” almost with affection. Whether this was the last of the courts to be disposed of or the first to go due to its crumbling front wall, whether he used it himself or kept it in case guests from the seventies joined him and whether he had plans to rebuild it when things were back on an even keel are all questions which must remain unanswered. Suffice it to say that Nick Rider and his team at English Squash and Racketball (which is not how to spell it) and Liza Baillie and her colleagues at Scottish Squash and Racketball (still wrong) are now all officially cool, among the under tens, at least, and with a certain type of student.

Park and pay
Following the revelation that Hammersmith and Fulham’s park keepers are charging professional fitness outfits to run around their parks [Surely, the public’s parks? Ed] Sideliner must doff the proverbial titfer to Kaya Burgess of the London Times who produced a piece of sustained irony that deserved to be seen by more people than travel beyond Rupert Murdoch’s paywall. We only saw it because the lairy graphic designer’s cousin is a toff and he sent us a scan of the piece, which was well worth the subterfuge. Burgess was a tad miffed that Wandsworth Council have proposed charging kids to use the swings in Battersea Park over the summer and she extrapolated on the other things that might attract the council’s entrepreneurial spirit. They could charge dog owners “excess baggage” if their pooch poops more than once; parking charges could be levied on lawns; heavy users of paths – skateboarders, cyclists and the pushers of child-laden prams – could be subject to a variable toll system; and, Sidey’s favourite, winos could be charged corkage on their bottles of White Lightning. Chapeau, Madame ou Mademoiselle Burgess, chapeau.

Cometh the hour, cometh the right man
Of all the moments of high comedy that marked Joseph Blatter's reinterment as president of FIFA it was perhaps Herr Blatter's announcement of Henry Kissinger as the person who was to be appointed to help football's world governing body clean up its governance that caused the biggest laugh in the Row Z office. Surely this couldn't be the same Henry Kissinger who had been Richard Nixon's righthand man as they egged each other on towards some of the most jaw-droppingly illegal acts ever directed from the Oval Office? Not the Henry Kissinger who tried to bomb Vietnam back to the negotiating table by raining ordnance onto Cambodia? Whose acceptance of the Nobel prize for peace was said to have indicated the death of satire? Yes. That's him. With a CV like that he's just the man for the job.


At the Arts End

Capital development
We are not quite sure where the accusation that ‘the Arts’ is a grossly London-centric profession comes from originally but an appointments advertisement from the New Art Exchange may have something to do with sustaining it. It seems the “ground breaking, award winning and internationally recognised arts space in the heart of inner city Nottingham” is in want of a director of programmes and are prepared to offer up to £35,000 to the successful candidate whose work base is stipulated as being “London”.

Windsor grape park
It seems that the nation’s favourite dole scroungers (and here we misquote Morrissey) are to be whiling away some of their idle hours using their home-grown grapes to make their own wine. The home in question, and let’s face it they have more palaces than most people have bedrooms, is Windsor Castle. The soi-disant royal family are a few years away from full production of Chateau Privilege apparently but it will doubtless be snapped up by their brown-nosing adherents and hailed as further evidence that, contrary to the impression given, the entire slew of duchesses, earls, princes and their unbelievably extended families are living high on the hog at the tax payers’ expense with no real benefit accruing to the latter

Matchstick cats and dogs anyone?
We doff our cloth cap to few in the celebrity pantheon but we’ll take it off and throw it in the air with a cheery “Huzzah!” for actor Sarah Lancashire who has voiced the view of many when faced with what we are constrained to call ‘modern art’. Her views, expressed in the Manchester Guardian (well, she is from Oldham) go something like this: “What is the Tate Modern about? I want to take every artist on display there and walk them around the National Gallery, and say: ‘Look, that’s art!’” Grand, lass, grand.

And we had Blue.
Given that he lives in the land of arch-irony, Graham Norton expressing surprise that “the UK” awarded ten of its precious points to the Moldovan entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, is indeed rich. With the track in question described by the lairy graphic designer, who it appears is something of a muso, as “sort of Beastie Boys meets Madness with a touch of Devo”, Sideliner prefers the simpler verdict “mad as a box of frogs” to describe the winning combo. That the song was delivered by chaps sporting over-sized black traffic cones on their heads and accompanied by an entirely pointless fairy on a monocycle only added to the delight in encountering a nation which sees the annual campfest for what it is: an extended invitation to eat, drink and fall asleep on your sofa with a little lesson on European geo-politics thrown in.

Drawing a veil

This month we shall act like Sepp Blatter when faced by a crisis as we deal with these little local difficulties:

Sepp Blatter and the three-ringed freak circus that is the governing body for world football; Sri Lanka’s final day collapse in Cardiff which Test Match Special never once suggested might have been caused by “unusual betting patterns”; Contador being allowed to besmirch Le Tour once again; Lance Armstrong’s “never been caught so I can’t be guilty” line; Paris in the spring time on clay courts complete with dust storms as you serve; badminton’s world body denying sexism in making women wear skirts with the words “We just want them to look feminine and have a nice presentation so women will be more popular”; Lewis Hamilton and his "Maybe it's because I'm black", er, “joke”; the lying, cheating, allegation-concocting English press.




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