Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Who said cricket is boring? There has been an almighty squabble going on about whether England should play in Zimbabwe for weeks, with everyone from government ministers down displaying a fly halfs dexterity at moving a slippery ball on. Finally, today, against the wishes of the international board, the English board said no way Jose, we aint playing. They didn't leave it there though, they have requested that the game be moved. The Zimbabwe board have said in turn that they aint playing anywhere but in Zimbabwe, meanwhile South Africa (What has it to do with them?) have indicated that if England withdraw they will not turn up for the scheduled tour of England in the summer. The fat lady aint sung yet.
The English board have been very slippery and hypocritical in all this. The players don't exactly come out smelling of roses either, they have changed their tune a million times. The international board have been as craven as you would expect. I cannot think of anyone of them I would want in the front line with me. Lions led by donkeys.
Through it all, the players of Zimbabwe remained silent. Then yesterday 2 of them Andy Flower and Henry Olonga turned up for their first game wearing black arm bands, in memory of the death of democracy in Zimbabwe. They also issued a statement detailing the travails of that benighted land. This was a brave and foolhardy thing to do, political dissidents in Zimbabwe have an unnerving tendency to meet an early and violent death. Olonge has been suspended by his club already, which goes some way to demonstrating his point. A small demonstration at the ground was broken up by riot police, who should go by the name Mugabes Thugs Inc
As an aside, the worlds best spinner, in fact the best spinner the world has ever seen, bar none, is sitting at home after failing a drugs test. His old team mate, Ian Healy, claims Warne is paying the price for being a bit dopey.
Meanwhile on the field...who cares??!!

Brilliant Observer piece on how cricket has deveoped in black communities in South Africa since the fall of apartheid. This is about so much more than cricket and is well worth a read.
From the same source, another article on how sport has the power to transform lives, this time in Greenland.

I hestitate to recommend television without pity, hours can be lost there.

A bit late but what the hell, all you need to know about Chinese New Year.

New York picture collection

Mark Steel, while generally cracking wise about the anti war march on Saturday, makes the very valid point that if no one had bothered to protest about apartheid it would probably still be with us. Mind you it would have avoided all the controversy at the cricket world cup.
Get the bus to the demo, bleeding 'ell there is even one going from Cwmbran, even Mrs chuffin Buddha is going.
Share a lift.

Robert Fisk: The Keys of Palestine. Superb.

Songs inspired by literature, has a list of such songs. I was happy to alert them to Killing An Arab, the only Cure song I have ever gotten along with.
"Killing An Arab"

Standing on the beach
With a gun in my hand
Staring at the sea
Staring at the sand
Staring down the barrel
At the arab on the ground
I can see his open mouth
But I hear no sound

I'm alive
I'm dead
I'm the stranger
Killing an arab

I can turn
And walk away
Or I can fire the gun
Staring at the sky
Staring at the sun
Whichever I chose
It amounts to the same
Absolutely nothing

I'm alive
I'm dead
I'm the stranger
Killing an arab

I feel the steel butt jump
Smooth in my hand
Staring at the sea
Staring at the sand
Staring at myself
Reflected in the eyes
Of the dead man on the beach
The dead man on the beach
I'm alive
I'm dead
I'm the stranger
Killing an arab

Spionkop continues to e mail me bucket loads, this is one of his latest:
Extract from TRIBUNE of 7 February - 'during the 1930s. Michael Foot led a glorious campaign of direct action from his then eyrie at the London Evening Standard to pull down the railings of Hyde Park. The stuffy parks police were becoming increasingly concerned by the "frottage" taking place within the park boundaries and had erected the imposing railings so familiar today. When Michael ran into stiff opposition for his libertarian stand , he responded: "It's alright for you. You have all the hotels in the West End in which to do your fucking"'.
As is this:
20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
20:6 And shewing unmercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy BUSH in vain; for the LORD BLAIR will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy except when you want to drop bombs..
20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates but not if you work for TESCO:
20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
20:13 Thou shalt kill.
20:14 Thou shalt commit adultery.
20:15 Thou shalt steal.
20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour unless it's name be IRAQ..
20:17 Thou shalt covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt covet thy neighbour's wife, and his manservant, and his maidservant, and his ox, and his ass, and any thing that is thy neighbour's.
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