September 27, 2003


Regarding yesterdayís column, Mark Latham writes:

Tim Blair has shown his ignorance of Australian sport by asking: "how does one become Latham's sort of fella without betting on the races?" - a reference to John Singleton (Opinion, 26/9).

Blair needs to get his backside trackside. Singleton is best known as a racehorse owner, including the Group One winners Ha Ha, Sunday Joy and Belle de Jour.

I don't know about Singleton's gambling habits. What I do know is that every time he wins the Golden Slipper his acts of generosity at Rosehill are legendary. That's my sort of fella.

Unlike Tim Blair, who is always looking down his nose at working class pastimes like rugby league, the track and club-life. The Australian should not allow people to write about sport unless they know something about it.

Always looking down my nose at working class pastimes, am I? Thatíll be news to anybody I know, or who reads this site. Lathamís defence of a millionaire mule owner reveals the disconnect between his tribal ALP fantasy and the reality of his cosying-up to wealthy, protected working class poseurs. Happy to debate this anytime, Mark.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 27, 2003 05:36 AM

Funny how the Australian publishes a letter by Mark Latham, who has all the access in the world to the media, but elects not to publish a letter from a Joe Average like me trying to get my voice heard. Ironic too, since its the first time I've disagreed so strongly with Tim... Here is the letter they rejected:

"Like many Victorians, Tim Blair mistakenly associates higher crowd figures with an overall superiority of his code compared to Rugby League. In reality, Australian Rules football is a game with soaring kicks, a lot of manoeuvring of players well away from the ball, and rapid shifts in the position of play. All of these factors make it a game which is best appreciated by attendance at the game, and television cannot do it justice.

Rugby League on the other hand has most play centred on the ruck area, and the skills are difficult to appreciate from a distance, resulting in a game which is more suited to viewing on television , rather than from the grandstands.

This may explain the differences in attendance, but as for watching either game, I'd rather walk around a restaurant with a Campari and soda."

Posted by: Geoffrey McCowage at September 27, 2003 at 07:39 AM

Spot on, Geoffrey. It's almost as if League was made for television. The viewing audience for the big games is huge and there is serious money in coverage rights. It's true that you miss the excitement of the crowd with tele-coverage but at least you get to see the game. And whether you gather in a suburban lounge room or in front of a big screen in a bar, copious amounts of alchohol and a few dickheads cheering for the other side make it more fun than being there anyway.

Tim is surprisingly off-beam on this one. Unless he is just trying to get a rise out of League fans, of course. If so, good luck Tim! League fans don't take themselves or their sport very seriously (how could you?), which is more than I can say for the AFL. In that respect, it's like the Sydney-Melbourne rivalry itself - Sydney-siders laugh about it but Melburnians are as defensive as all fuck and take it very, very seriously indeed. I'm from Brisbane, so I should know!

Posted by: Bob Bunnett at September 27, 2003 at 08:52 AM

Tim, old chap. How are the silvertails at the Laverton end of the Werribee shit pond?

Posted by: slatts at September 27, 2003 at 02:20 PM

We are doing just splendidly, Bernard! Shall we meet at McDonald's for our traditional Saturday repast? Toodle pip!

Posted by: tim at September 27, 2003 at 02:22 PM

The only sport about which Latham knows anything is Gutter-Mouthing and Tall-Poppy Cutting.

Posted by: Bushy at September 27, 2003 at 02:56 PM

Do you guys bet the dogs down there? Now that is a freakin' low rent sport.

Posted by: Andrew at September 27, 2003 at 04:02 PM

Not true re the dish-lickers Andrew. You've obviously never had the curried prawns and rice at Wentworth Park.

I know its my fault, but we've really lost sight of the original theme of this thread, which was to respond to the letter which Mark Latham got published, in contrast to moi....

Posted by: Geoffrey McCowage at September 27, 2003 at 07:22 PM

I must confess myself to be in a quandry.

I had, up until this very moment, been highly skeptical in regard to the soundness of many of the views expressed by Mr Blair. I shall not elaborate further on this, as it will diverge too greatly from this particular topic.

However, through this column, he has turned the tide, and I find, quite to my surprise, my rising impulse to stop tuning into the site thwarted. Will this be a Stalingrad, wherein my doubts are hopelessly put to rout, and herald in a resurgence of optimism in Mr Blair and his unique perspectives? I cannot say.

What I can say is this: I admired the piece tremendously. For any journalist to make such a baldfaced, public assault on Singleton and his cronies is a courageous stand.

I commend you Sir.

Posted by: Mick at September 28, 2003 at 12:19 AM

I'm thinking Latham->Singleton:


Latham's terms, not mine.

Posted by: The at September 28, 2003 at 08:55 PM

love your work mick. so florid.. yet horrid as well.

Posted by: roscoe p coltrane at September 28, 2003 at 09:02 PM