We want the sport!

Dear all,

Well July has seen a milestone – yes everyone I am THIRTY YEARS OLD. Good god above. Yes my twenties are over and I am now allowed to be a slightly grumpy sod rather than prematurely grumpy. It’s interesting to reflect back on my life thus far. When I was a little kid my dream was to be a performing musician so I guess I’ve acheived that. Admittedly not quite in the way I imagined back then – I probably had images of massive venues with people dancing and singing all the words etc. Of course the reality of playing the banjo not in Mumford and Sons and being into rather more ‘niche’ music has long since manifested itself but that’s in no way a problem. At least I’ve had my bit of playing in the sorts of venues I’d imagined thanks to my guest appearances with the Levellers, Seth Lakeman, Joss Stone, Imelda May et al. Plus I appeared on stage with a Saw Doctor – four year old me would be over the moon and 30 year old me is pretty chuffed too. Just to clarify, when I say a Saw Doctor I mean a member of the Irish band the Saw Doctors not anything more sinister. That part of my act is yet to come…

Well that’s a brief assessment of my life. I’ll do the rest when I’m 40. Anyway, let’s catch up. First after my last blog was a trip to Portslade in Sussex for a gig at Railway Roots. It was a right belter as well hosted by political songwriter and all round gent Robb Johnson as well as a ludicrously talented 15 year old opening act Anouska Marshall – big things to come from her I think. Owing to an illness for the organiser, long time favourite Hales Club was sadly postponed til another day so instead it was up to Cumbria ahead of an appearance with legendary Alistair Anderson at Furness Tradition festival in Ulverston and then off to Northumberland for an album launch gig at Coquetdale Music Hall in Thropton near Morpeth. Great to play with Alistair again and a wonderful venue that last one! All in all, a belting weekend.

Next up was a bit of downtime in Penrith with the folks and to celebrate THAT birthday. It was all rather lovely and a bit of much needed rest as well ahead of returning to giggery. And that return to giggery was in sunny (and not at all windy…) Anglesey at Folk On The Farm. A bold statement but this might just be the best festival of the year so far – what a belter! The audience were absolutely lovely and even got up to dance a fair bit before the end. Angelsey was also strikingly nice to look at too as I drove around. The view from the stage was absolutely stunning too!

So it’s been a fun month thus far. And of course I enjoyed the opportunity to enjoy a bit of Wimbledon tennis. This leads me on to this week’s rant – sports coverage. There is an extraordinarily simple premise that the TV stations have failed to spot which is that when people watch sport, be it highlights or live coverage, what they want is THE SPORT. I have long whinged about football coverage on various channels – BT Sport with their ridiculous box in the corner that shows replays while blocking half the actual live sport, Sky Sports with their bloody silly hours of fiddling about with that daft computer thing and the BBC Match of the Day with its stupid short films about the history of the fixture in question instead of just getting the ruddy hell on with it. But then along came ‘Today At Wimbledon’. I remember recently the first ever Match of the Day (football) was on iPlayer so out of curiosity I had a look and noted that there was two minutes of introduction at the beginning and one minute of summary at the end. In between was football and nothing else. Today at Wimbledon perhaps ought to take note. Most of the games covered, the highlights consisted of the last shot of the game followed by five minutes analysis. Now what gets me about all this is the following – surely creating that bloody stupid film ahead of a match on match of the day took a lot of time, I would imagine that machine over at Sky cost a fair bit as well and finally pundits earn exorbitant amounts. But all anybody who watches sport actually wants is THE SPORT. So surely it would be far cheaper, easier, less complicated and less bloody irritating if all they did was say ‘and now here’s the sport’ and showed THE SPORT.

Just my thought anyway.