Row Z edition 58; dateline 6 September 2011

Daylight robbery in two hemispheres
The third most looted brand* in England’s recent unpleasantness, Adidas, have angered New Zealand rugby fans by pricing All Black replica shirts for the forthcoming world cup at a staggering $250 in local outlets. If that wasn’t bad enough – and Google tells us that $250 equals £125** – the kit company is facilitating the sale of the very same shirts by American-based websites at $100 or, if you prefer, 50 of your English pounds. Adidas have responded by suggesting that the Kiwis should show loyalty to local retailers by buying what Frankie Boyle would doubtless call “the shiny, shiny” on their high street. According to retailer Rebel Sport New Zealand, “They point blank refused to reduce the price by even one cent.” The only suggestion we could come up with to break this impasse was for our Kiwi pals to buy themselves one of England’s lovely, new, black change strips and put some gaffer tape over the red rose.
*This is a made up statistic
** This isn’t

Crystal egg-shaped ball gazing
While we are on the subject of the rugby, Sideliner has been asked, yes actually asked, to offer an opinion on the likely outcome. These things are certain: (1) that Martin Johnson’s inability to find, develop or suborn from another nation a man who can function in the number seven shirt will come back and bite him in the bum; (2) that Wales will fail to get out of their group; (3) that England will but may not get much further; (4) that Ireland will flatter to deceive; (5) that even if New Zealand do overcome their own demons and actually win the damn thing it will not count as it’s in their own back yard; and (6) that rugby development would have been better served had the event been awarded to Japan, as it should have been.

Can you come out to play?
As an aside, The Leisure Review will be spicing things up by allowing readers and their friends to enter our Rugby World Cup Fantasy League. Sidey has no idea what this means nor why one should involve oneself but both the lairy graphic designer and the work experience lad believe it to be a proper wheeze. We quote from the extensive marketing: “Joining The Leisure Review's Fantasy League couldn't be simpler. Go to this address and then, if you haven't already, register to create your free fantasy team for this year's rugby world cup. Once you've picked your side, click on the link to join a private league and enter the unique pin for The Leisure Review Championship – 9182.” What, as the saying goes, could possibly go wrong.

And that’s an unsayable delivery
The floppy-haired intern was idling away an afternoon with the G2 crossword recently when he was forced to ask assistance with a cricket delivery-related clue. The solution was “chinaman”, an expression he had never heard beyond the very limited sphere of racist abuse in a public house; he certainly did not know that it related to spin bowling, despite having spent all summer listening to Test Match Special as Sidey insists on having it droning on all day, especially when we’re winning. Does this reflect a new found equitable attitude in the world of flannels and flanelling or is it simply that there are so few left-handed wrist spinners in the top flight these days that Aggers, Blowers and company have had no opportunity to dust it off and offend about 20% of the world’s population recently?


At the Arts End

You don’t need to make it up
There are few things worse than the enthusiasm of a late adopter but Sideliner just will not stop going on about Twenty Twelve, the spoof documentary which mocks all things London Olympics. Set in the offices of the Olympic Deliverance Authority (arf!), the series – which has, neatly enough just finished – pokes fun at po-faced, self-aggrandising ineptitude wrapped up in management-speak and arrogance. Nobody for a moment would suggest that an organisation that writes to its customers telling them about “the greatest show on earth” before suggesting they buy a stuffed toy called Pride the Lion could possibly be run by caricatures such as portrayed on Twenty Twelve but the name of the pretend PR firm at the heart of the spoof ODA is called Perfect Curve, and if there isn’t a company called that populated by vacuous young women with nice legs and a diploma in journalism from Putney University, there soon will be.

More beer, vicar?
Sidey was pleased to here that one of the Olympic sporting venues is already being used as a "community hub venue-space" or what we used to call a "church hall". It seems that the Campaign for Real Ale recently held its annual beer festival at Earl's Court, the venue for Olympic volleyball. Doubtless by the time God's Own Sport gets to fit its showpiece event between the parish council's whist drive and the Scouts bring-and-buy sale someone will have mopped up all the spilt beer so that the floor isn't too sticky. But why is this item in the Arts End? Because this year's champion beer is from Essex brewer Mighty Oak and goes by the literary soubriquet Oscar Wilde mild.

Lord preserve us, or at least Banksy
Banksy just can’t keep out of the news these days which, for a man who paints on other people’s walls without permission, is a tad counter-intuitive. We shan’t trouble you with his non-feud with somebody dubbed – or should we say daubed – King Robbo and instead focus on a Bristol academic’s argument that the grafittist’s work should be given more protection. John Webster, who is little more than a postgraduate student of law, made his publicity-gleaning claim after one of Banksy’s illustrations was painted over after being mistaken for 'regular' graffiti. We quote the Arts Council, who sniffed, “While graffiti is considered to be nothing more than vandalism in some sections of society, Bristol has a different attitude towards the artform and Banksy's work has been embraced by many in the city.”  We shall leave the last word to Webster,who chewed the end of his spectacles, paused meaningfully and drawled: “It can be argued that his work, due to its political and social statements, carries a cultural significance in modern society. The public has indicated that this needs to be kept and by extension, preserved.”

What have we learned?

The groundswell of support continues to grow so we persevere with the question  “What have we learned from…?”

The World Athletics championship: that Charles Van Comedy is a vainglorious popinjay whose time in the spotlight must surely soon end; that Jessica Ennis is the second best, not the best, heptathlete in the world; that Channel 4 are not feeling the love of the athletics community; and that the marathon is not an athletics event, being neither track nor field.

The World Rowing championship: that rowing venues do not have to look like the aquatic equivalent of a 1960s industrial estate; that whoever set the medal targets for 2012 knew full well that rowing would be worth a few gongs; that Paralympic classes are as logical as a soap opera script when the lead actor gets a film offer or a jail sentence; that Steve Redgrave isn’t getting any shorter, except in his criticism of failing boaters.

CAMRA’s latest “newspaper: that the concept of “5-minute activism” has been degraded to such an extent that soi-disant campaigning organisations are now using it to sell wares such as the Good Beer Guide 2012; that going drinking is now held to be good for old folk according to the Pub is the Hub people; and that not all magistrates have lost their sense of proportion in the wake of the recent unpleasantness as two breweries who have been bickering over who “owned” the Yorkshire rose have each been told to pay their own costs.



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