When the sports minister arrives not only on time, but five minutes early for an appointment, then you know there is someone in the country he is gaga about. He pulled up to the front of Olympic House on Wednesday night at 7.55pm in a mini convoy that consisted of a black Porsche SUV and another car that was also black, but not a Porsche.
Then Floyd Mayweather and his entourage arrived in two Bentleys, both of them big, black and shiny, and just about everyone went gaga.
Michael Slater’s voice could cut through concrete, which is a good thing if you are in the construction of buildings, but not so good if you are in the construction of commentary. It sliced through the morning air yesterday, turning the day of our lord into the morning of our, “Oh, Lord,” as he fought for airtime with Ian Healy and a somewhat bemused Mike Hussey.
Slater, as one colleague has observed, seems to think he is covering a race horse and has been told that it is a sin to allow for even the smallest bit of dead air. A pause is not a time for reflection, but a sign of weakness. The Channel 9 commentary team feel like they are in competition with each other to speak the most, as though they get paid by the spoken word. This is what happens with good Australian teams when they begin to break up prematurely – they have to try desperately to make room for them in the booth, which is why they have squeezed three of them in there. Some of them are excellent, others mediocre, a few others in for nonsense value and at least one of them because he is old.
There’s nowt so queer as folk, as the saying goes. In the 21st century you’d hope and expect that there was nowt so queer as queer folk having to make an announcement that they are queer, but homophobia is set thick in the world; there is much loathing hidden, lurking and threatening boys who like boys and girls who like girls.
The wonderful thing about the coming out of Thomas Hitzlsperger, the 52-cap German footballer, was the simple fact he felt at ease enough to announce he was gay. The sad and frightening thing about it was Hitzlsperger announced it only after he had retired from professional sport.
On the pavement outside 44 Stanley in Milpark early yesterday morning, three car guards stood and sat, listening to a radio broadcast of the funeral of the father of the nation. One, who sometimes gets a tad stoned in the afternoon, waved hello at me, pointed at the radio and shrugged his shoulders. There were no words.
Thirty metres away, at the hairdressers inside the shopping centre, a man was having his head shaved, risking cuts as the man with the clippers watched the procession of Madiba’s casket out of the corner of his eye on the TV in the corner. If you see a man with an unevenly shaved head walking around Johannesburg today, that was a man who decided to get his hair cut at the very wrong time.
Any day now, the message must surely come through that the BCCI will be cancelling the rest of the tour of South Africa. Haroon Lorgat, the CEO of Cricket South Africa, was spotted in the president’s suite at SuperSport Park. The horror.
To make it worse, he then walked down on to the actually field of play, using, wait for it, the exact same stairs the Indian players had used when they walked on and then off the field after Quinton de Kock had scored his third century on the trot against them.