Posts from ‘March, 2010’

Doyle says Howya

This Blog thingy exists because there’s a book coming in May 2010 – The World is a Ball: The Joy, Madness, and Meaning of Soccer, by John Doyle.

Hereabouts you’ll find Information and News about the book, links to recent Globe and Mail Television columns, and to other soccer-related Blogs and Web Sites. Possibly, too, outrageous or insightful remarks about soccer and the build-up to this year’s World Cup in South Africa. Tears and laughter, just like the book.

The books opens with a quotation – “In my childhood in a small western town, the local soccer club had the status of an illegal organization.” John Waters, Irish writer, 2002.

It also includes, early on, a description of a game that took place in 2002. At the World Cup in Korea/Japan, Ireland played Germany in a first-round game. The description includes this: Continue reading

News about The World Is A Ball – International Rights Sold

U.S. rights to The World is a Ball: The Joy, Madness and Meaning of Soccer to John Atwood at Rodale, for release fall 2010, by The Bukowski Agency.

UK, Commonwealth, Rep. Of Ireland rights to Eoin McHugh of Transworld Ireland by Bill Hamilton of A.M. Heath for The Bukowski Agency, for publication in May 2010.

Croatian rights to Znanje D.D. for release in May 2010, by Agnieszka Zieliƒska of Graal for The Bukowski Agency.

The U.K/Commonwealth/Rep. Of Ireland edition has a revised Introduction by the author.

The Croatia edition has a Preface to the Croatia Edition by the author. Continue reading

Why the CBC should stop the hissy fit

Monday afternoon, just after the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) made public its intriguing but slippery plan to solve the infamous fee-for-carriage dispute, the nabobs of the TV and cable rackets unleashed their responses.

The cable guys were a tad miffed – dismissive even, in the usual manner of cable execs who believe they control the universe. The TV types were pleased, but in a hesitant manner.

Then it came – the sound of rattling cufflinks. Umbrage. Outrage. Steven Guiton, the CBC’s regulatory officer, stepped up to the microphones, looking furious. He proceeded to announce the imminent end of public broadcasting in Canada. “There does not appear to be a future for public broadcasting further to this decision” he said.

Horror! Murder in Gatineau, Quebec. The CRTC has killed the CBC. Driven a stake through its heart. Continue reading

The CRTC justifies its existence

There’s a large group of Canadians who are champion complainers. Whine, whine. Gimme, gimme. No fair. I want my MTV/HBO/Showtime/Fox News/that channel with all the celebrity news. I want it now and I don’t want to pay for it. Canadian content shoved down my throat? Screw that.

You know what I mean. Consumer greed for American popular culture disguised as a robust belief in the inherent integrity of the free market. Continue reading

Tara and Jackie: messed-up, gutsy, real

There’s a tall woman, fortysomething, staring right at you. Skeptical look on her face. You know what’s she’s thinking: “Life is full of little pricks.”

When Nurse Jackie (TMN/Movie Central, 10 p.m.) first aired last year, Showtime promoted it to U.S. viewers with billboards bearing that provocative slogan – and a shot of a nurse with a needle. The show’s star, Edie Falco as the formidable wife of Tony Soprano. Here she was, returning to TV as a formidably complex nurse, a woman brutally sarcastic to doctors and brazenly manipulating patients she didn’t like. Continue reading

A toast to Irish prime-time

Hello and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you.

“Ireland, Ireland, damp sod of earth/lost on the surf of the North Atlantic/Ireland, Ireland, mountains and mist/Vodka and chips, it’s so romantic.”

Those are part of the lyrics to an alternative anthem for Ireland, composed by a couple of fellas engaged in tomfoolery named the Duckworth Lewis Method. Ireland is our topic today. The Irish TV racket in particular. A dose of St. Patrick’s Day sobriety, if you will: Television in Ireland. And what we can learn from it. Continue reading

Fame at Last

The Fox, Bill O’Reilly/John Doyle battle as reported April 25, 2004 by The New York Times:

TORONTO — American-Canadian relations have seen better days. Canada opposed the war in Iraq, and got a stern public lecture from the United States ambassador, Paul Cellucci, in return. The Bush administration does not like Canada’s liberal drug policies. Trade disputes involving beef and softwood lumber continue to fester. But such frictions rarely get much television coverage at a time when Washington has a barrage of international problems to worry about.

That may be changing. Two weeks ago, the Canadian cable industry filed an application with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to begin including the Fox News Channel among its listings. That would bring the channel to a country with a very un-Foxian knack for legalizing same-sex marriage and teasing Yanks for burning down their own White House in the War of 1812. The cultural divide burst into raw insult when Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly recently got into a public brouhaha with John Doyle, the television critic for The Globe and Mail, Canada’s most influential newspaper. Continue reading

A Velvet Draw for Two Divorcées of European Soccer

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — “Are you seeing the beaches of South Africa for us?” a reporter asked Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss after Slovakia’s 2-2 draw in a World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic on Saturday night. Weiss smiled tightly and said, “Not yet.”

The reporter may have been a tad misguided about the attraction of the beach in South Africa next June – it will be winter there – but his question was illustrative of the country’s focus on qualify for its first World Cup. Weiss’s answer was realistic. But he, like all of Slovakia, can be more than cautiously optimistic. All Slovakia has to do now is avoid defeat and this tiny nation of 5.5 million, long over-shadowed in everything by former partners the Czechs, can make its World Cup debut. Continue reading

Deciphering a Victory in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES — I came here to see a soccer game. Just for the weekend. A long trip for a short visit, but doable. Argentina was playing Colombia in World Cup qualifying on Saturday night, so it was going to be worth the time on planes and the money spent.

Like everyone coming here to see soccer — and soccer tourism is a growth business in beleaguered Argentina — I anticipated a fabulous atmosphere. Screaming, singing, chanting fans watched uneasily by police, just in case of real trouble. I saw the police, for sure, and the fans, all 45,000 at River Plate Stadium, but the cops were relaxed and the fans were the edgy ones — not enthusiastic rabble-rousers. Continue reading

England’s Expectations Too High for Its Players

LONDON — On Wednesday morning, the start of a mild gray day, the final participant in the famous Fourth Plinth experiment in Trafalgar Square had her say. The experiment — Antony Gormley’s project allowing 2,400 people to spend an hour each on the plinth (a pedestal on which a statue usually stands) over 100 days — was eccentric, but it gave ordinary people the power to perform or preach in a great public space.

While others had railed against global warming or taken off their clothes, the final person, Emma Burns, a 30-year-old medical photographer, draped a Liverpool F.C. banner on the plinth and read out the names of the 96 Liverpool supporters who died in the Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989.

The hundreds of people watching Burns end the plinth experiment broke into a spontaneous singing of the Liverpool supporters’ song “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” It was a surreal, emotional scene. Continue reading

Spain, the New Brazil

BRUSSELS –- How sweet it is to see Spain play. Live. In person. It is not like it is on TV, where the camera follows the ball and the intricate orchestral maneuvers that ebb and flow around the play cannot be seen.

A full, expectant crowd of close to 50,000 came to the Roi Baudouin Stadium on Wednesday night to see Belgium play Spain. Most, of course, were here to support Belgium, which has made a vigorous and impressive start to its World Cup qualifying campaign, but even the most partisan supporter was also here to savor Spain’s skills, those of the European champion, unbeaten in 27 matches. Continue reading