Great Team Talks of Our Time

John Hart, World Cup Semi Final France v All Blacks 1999

Harty: OK fellas, it’s business time. Time to focus. Honestly? I look at you blokes, and I reckon it’s going to be a bloody walkover. Relax. Express yourselves. Hey, I know we only just beat Scotland, but remember, the whole world thinks we’ve got secret moves yet to be unleashed. And as soon as this match is over, believe you me, I’m going to think of some. I’m not here to farkin muck around.

Taine: Can I just say….

Harty: Hey, Taine, remember what we discussed about you talking and that? OK. Now. We all had a farkin great time on that beach in France. I think those games of force back and the new haircuts are gunna be farkin priceless. We bonded, you know. I’m going to treasure those times, shit, I might even put ’em in the book. Now, let’s hear from Fitzy…

*embarrassed Silence*

Harty: Fitzy?

*Silence, broken by Jeff Wilson taking a shot from his asthma inhaler*

Harty: Fitzy? Oh fark, yeah. Anyway, I made a business plan for today’s match – it’s real simple, see if you can follow this:

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So yeah, number two needs a bit of work, but fark it, it’s only the farkin semi. I think the brand is strong enough to make it through this one. Speaking of which, now Kevin Roberts is going to say a few words. KR?

KR: Hey, WOW! I love you All Blacks guys. Gee WHIZ, you guys are farkin awesome!

Harty: Get on with it.

KR: OK, OK, OK. I LOVE you guys. Anyway, at this stage of the comp, it’s all about the BRAND.

Harty: Yeah, the brand.

KR: If you’re getting the crap kicked out of you by a 110kg French Prop, then go with it. You just gotta make sure the Adidas logo is facing the cameras.

Harty: That’s right.

KR: And you know what, I even made it so today’s Man Of The Match gets their face on a JET! How do you like that, mates, your farkin face on a farkin Jet.

*Impressed murmurs from the All Blacks*

Harty: Abso-farkin-lutely, let’s get out there and CREATE SOME VALUE, alright? Let’s go!

*All Blacks rumble off down the tunnel*

Harty, alone in the dressing room: Fools. Little do they realise this is but the final stage of my evil plan to fark New Zealand rugby forever. I cleverly won that series in South Africa to put them off the scent but my finest hour is at hand! And it’s all thanks to ME, JOHN HART! Mmmmmwhah hah hah hah hah!

Josh Kronfield: I forgot my scrum hat… hey what’s going on? What’s all this evil, maniacal laughter about?

Harty: Um, nothing. ***Look into my eyes***everything’s fine***relax***everything’s fine***just relaaaaaax. See you at half time.

Weekend Roundup

All Blacks v Australia – Words like ‘Of’, ‘Fuckwits’ and ‘Pack’ spring to mind. Australia are now unrecognisable from their Brumbies-inspired glory days under McQueen and Eales, and any lingering goodwill that run gathered (it WAS a great team) is long gone. Resorting to bashing McCaw seems like a final roll of the dice from ‘Knuckles’ Connelly, halfway through his first season. They’ve lost 3-0 to a below par All Blacks who are only showing glimpses of that Lions Tour form (put that down to the rotation policy, and the low-keyness of it all with all eyes on French WC already). Thank god we don’t have to play Australia again this season, let’s leave them and the Saffas to grind out more brain-numbing rugby like their last match – I won’t be watching them, save for any unforeseen Clockwork Orange-type scenario.

Auckland v BOP – I got along to the game on Sunday for a recovery session from the night before. Eden Park was bathed in sunshine, and with feck-all people there, there was loads of room to spread out and take in an entertaining game. The Bay were undone by having two guys sent off so close to half time, and once Auckland got into gear there was little chance of a shield challenge-style result. BOP fans are still the best, we could see your man with the grey wig (what, is it that stressful being the bay’s number one fan?) trying to rile the crowd up. Auckland looked like Auckland always do – fairly ruthless, but little real flair. They’ve got some BIG lads in the team, though.

Bolton 2 Spurs 0 – Shit. I’m giving Berbatov and Zakora more time to settle before drawing any harsh conclusions. We need King back.

Chelsea 3 – Man City 0 – They’re going to win the first ten in a row again, aren’t they?

Performance of the weekend – It’s a tie between Carl Hayman trying to stop Tuquiri looking like a shearer chasing the guy who pinched his 24th can after drinking the first 23, or these guys.

Ten reasons to be cheerful

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Read it on TheSilverFern, too.

After the Radio Sport brouhaha, it’s time for something positive. Here’s ten reasons to be cheerful:

1. Graham Henry is learning from his and other’s mistakes. Lack of leadership a problem in the past? Give the responsibility to the players. Lack of injury backup costly at World Cup time? Get two players for each position (except, bizarrely, for #8) Lineouts a shambles? Get a specialist coach. He has the respect and loyalty of his players and the public, leaving hobbyist All Black baggers with not a lot to moan about.

2. You’ve gotta love those eyebrows, too. Nothing says ‘I do Rugby, not PR, me” more than a couple of bad boys like that on your dial.

3. Friday night’s Waikato v Canterbury match was a decent game of rugby, and showed there may be some life in this NPC malarky. Alright, the format is all over the place like a mad woman’s shit, but Friday night showed if you get two decent teams, you’ll get a decent match.

4. Waikato are building something big. Gatland came out with a big reputation that was tarnished ever so slightly last year, but this time he’s had more time with the team, and they’re looking fantastic, a great measure of experience (helped of course by the Duane Monkley factor of Waikato lose forwards never getting in the ABs) and youth. And they’ve still got the best rugby watching stadium in the land.

5. Just how many shit hot coaches have we got anyway? Deans, Gatland, Foster, G Cooper, C Cooper, the list goes on and there’s young coaches coming through after overseas experience like Todd Blackadder and Pat Lam. The JR Ewing of NZ Rugby even did a decent job in Perth. Getting onto that AB coaching panel is going to be harder than forming a Stephen Jones NZ fan club.

6. Everyone else is shit. The World Cup is still going to be tough, but with the exception of France, the other major nations are all in bits at the moment.

7. Carl Hayman looks like he could take on the Springboks on the high veldt by himself with a broken arm, restrain a pitch invasion, win the game, then take out the boat race afterward.

8. Richie McCaw looks like a First XV captain smirking from the assembly stage. OK, he DID bring the team around to wreck your party after the game, drink the keg and take the best looking girl home, and on the inside, you’re fuming, but there’s a grudging admiration there – THAT’S the kind of All Black captain we need.

9. Dan Carter just looks half asleep, imagine what he’d do after a decent night’s rest.

10. Stu Wilson can’t last too much longer on TV. I can’t be the only one quietly sobbing “Please, please, just shut up”. Stu rambles on like a shitfaced farmer’s quad bike, but for the love of all that’s holy, someone at Sky must see this soon and draw a veil over his TV “career”. Surely. Let’s all send a letter saying “Stu Wilson makes me drink my weekly recommended alcohol units during ReUnion alone and I’m scared”.

Book Review : Microphones Up My Nose by John Dybvig & Ray Lillis (1993)

Microphones Up My Nose, John Dybvig’s memoir of his journey from knocking NZ Basketball cock-eyed to TV Sports Guy at TV3 and Sky is a minor classic. Dybvig writes how he talks, featuring lots of swearing and well written dialogue. There’s a brief history of his basketball coaching career in NZ where he gained notoriety – you can imagine humourless 80s sports administrators SHITTING themselves when he arrived on the scene wearing tuxedos and throwing chairs. His first foray into media land was writing a column on Basketball – typing, let alone writing didn’t come easily at first – he tried using a Dictaphone:

“Aaaaaaaaah now let’s see… Adminstrators… Aaaaah What a bunch of dickheads… No no no can’t say that… but gees what is it with those guys? Do they take dumb pills or what? No no no hang on… Start Now… OK… OK… A national sporting league is only as good, strong and effective as its adminstration… That’s good, that’s good… Aaaaaaah…”

Dybvig gets into Radio and eventually joins Sky in its early days alongside a young Stephen McIvor*, “who could laugh his chops off at a scripted joke and later ask you what it meant”. He was on the fledgling NZ ‘celebrity’ circuit alongside luminaries like Belinda Todd, Willy De Wit, and Glenda Hughes – a very boozy scene by the sound, especially one piss marathon that lurches from the pub to boats to the golf course in the aid of Ronald McDonald House.

TV3 is next, and Dybvig works on Kid’s TV, Horse Racing ‘colour’, and the short lived local Pro-Wrestling show, where the bad guys were pelted on their way to the ring with plastic drink bottles by rioting pre-teens. There’s no end to the book, really, he just kinds of drifts off into TV land, but it’s a fascinating view into the world of local TV and how small time it can be behind the scenes.

My copy came pre-signed by the man himself (“Happy reading, Cheers!”). I met him one time, I was arranging voice overs on an 0800 ad for (ahem) Bacon Magic. Dybvig was huge, but more subdued than I expected (or hoped). He loved infomercials, and told me his golf buddies all wore BluBlockers. He did his shouty voice as you’d expect, and it was class.

If you like this, try Technical Foul (Basketball’s Bad Boy Talks Back!), the story of his coaching career featuring the dreariness of life in NZ in the 80s.

“Buying anything in New Zealand is an exercise in 30 second politeness. It goes something like this:

Customer: I’ll have a dozen eggs, thanks.

Store clerk: Thank you.

Customer: Could I have pack of cigarettes too thank you.

Store clerk: Thank you.

Customer: Thank you.

Store clerk: That’ll be $2.35 thank you.

Customer: (Hands over money) Thanks.”

You get the idea. Dybvig has popped up on a few things since like Hercules, Xena, and even King Kong, and according to his website he’s written another book and is attempting to reinvent himself as Bill Bryson. I’m definitely tracking that one down.

*What is it with that guy – it’s like watching Rugby League with Elton John. Fair play that he showed up to get his face smashed in at the Fight for Life, but I guarentee all usually peace loving people were thinking “Punching Stephen McIvor really looks like fun!”.

Book Review : Hadlee Hits Out (1983)

Fish, Barrels, and Radio Sport.

Last week, I bashed out a short article about Radio Sport for my blog, which Bart was good enough to post on The Silver Fern. The next thing I know, he emailed to say Matt Gunn responded on his show. Honestly, the adrenaline was flowing faster than Floyd Landis at his doctors as I loaded up the clip.

“Gutless Scumbags… Softcocks, basically, is the only category that I can put you into… Just like me, you rate highly in the dickhead stakes… I wish I could headbutt that person”.

That showed me, and conveniently illustrates the type of moronic debate you can expect these days on Radio Sport, which is why I’ve started switching off. I really WANT to listen to sport on the radio, and LOVE the idea I can hear it 24 hours a day, but as I said before, the blokey boy’s club atmosphere of the breakfast show, and level of debate on the talkback is turning me off. Guys, it’s just getting boring.

So I decided to share my thoughts with the world – I care about Radio Sport, I really do, and I tried to be constructive, outlining why I used to love it, why I don’t love it anymore, and gave some brief suggestions on making it better. Yes I called Matt Gunn a dickhead, but Matt, you’re a loudmouth talkback host, and comments like that come with the territory. I’m sure you’d be a top bloke to have a beer with when you’re not doing your RadioSportsGuy persona, but if I was you, I’d spend those long, lonely breaks between calls sharing some thoughtful and informed opinion, promising callers a worthy debate, not just an argument.

As for your headbutt offer, no thanks, I’m only a gutless scumbag after all. However SilverFern Overlord Jason Bartley of Whangamata is willing to deputise for me, and there’s more volunteering on the forum. And because my anonymity bothers you, Matt, my name’s Richard Irvine. Dig around my website, and you’ll find that fairly easily, but hey, I’m just some guy on the internet – if I was you, I’d be more worried about WHY I wrote it.

I’m a guy in his 30s living in Auckland, a radio listener who loves going to Rugby and Cricket, playing sport at the weekend and catching games on TV. I’m a professional guy, I earn a crust – in other words, I’m your target market. The forum crowd on TheSilverFern are your target market too, and they (mostly) agree with the sentiment of the article. That’s golden feedback my friend, and I’m stoked the article is on your Smoko room wall. Like I say, I’ve tried to be constructive, and I’ve shared my opinion – surely that’s better than just turning Radio Sport off and never listening again?

My Name’s Richard, and I’m a Gutless Scumbag

Matt Gunn has shared his thoughts on my article on Radio Sport. Apparently he’d like to headbutt me!

Now violence doesn’t solve anything – but if you’d like a headbutt from Matt, leave your name in the comments.

So yeah, my name’s Richard Irvine, Matt, and I was trying to be constructive! Rebuttal here.

YouTube yourself away

If you haven’t checked out YouTube, well that’s valuable farking around time you’re never getting back, my friend. It’s kind of like Napster when it was free and good and unencumbered by all that pesky ‘copyright’ carry on. Basically it’s easy to upload videos for the world to laugh at, so you can find anything and everything. Bill Simmons, the brilliant US sports writer made a list of his best bits, so I’ve decided to pinch his idea.

Rugby highlights go up very quickly, so if you missed the match or your memory was mysteriously wiped by that box of whatever was on special at the supermarket, you can re-live Jerry sorting out George Smith’s dreads, or Ali Williams dumping Gregan from a couple of stories over and over again. And here’s a good compilation of recent All Blacks tries in one neat package.

Of course there’s loads of football – like the original Panekla penalty, the stuttering dummy one that Zidane did in the World Cup final, and then a reason to remember Zidane apart from the headbutt. You’ll find loads of Premiership fan footage, so you only need spit on yourself and stand in horse shit for an authentic UK matchday experience. I had no trouble finding my favorite goal ever – the angle he gets is just beautiful, you couldn’t do better with string and protractor.

Not The Nine O’Clock News do John McEnroe
and get it just right – and compare it with the real thing. What ever you’re into there’s something for you – so get in there before it goes legit. I have my non-sports / children’s TV ones here, here’s the Kelly song, and there’s even fun at the expense of the Aussies – everyone can enjoy that.

What’s wrong with Radio Sport?

Have you LISTENED to it lately? Fresh back from my OE in 2001, I was very excited to learn there was a dedicated sports radio station – “They even play the sports news first on the hour!” Yes, you could listen to Cricket commentary alright, but it promised a whole new world of sports talk, led by Martin Devlin in the mornings. Informed, opinionated, quick witted, he was passionate about NZ sport, obsessed with Man United, and didn’t take any shit. He rightly hauled Kevin Roberts (or ‘KR’) over the coals for saying winning the Tri Nations was more important than the World Cup for All Blacks fans. That’s the kind of utter shit the Rugby Union expects us to believe, and I loved hearing someone actually calling them on it. The first nail in Radio Sport’s coffin was when Devlin left to do Radio LIVE, and hang out with Mike King full time.

The rest of the day’s programming was very listenable. Brendan Telfer did his cantankerous bit in the mornings, using his no doubt extensive contacts book to get some thoughtful interviews, and I enjoyed the golf show, with tips from a dry as a bone golf pro, along with ‘JK’ of the driving ranges getting off his death bed to contribute. Afternoons was Graham Hill, a very clever guy and my favorite BFM breakfast DJ ever. He’d present thoughtful interviews and nostalgia with some big names of the past, which was great radio. Where the station fell down was talkback.

Talkback is cheap for radio stations to do (which is why there’s so much of it*), but for me, it was like sitting in the car with that bloke who sits silently through All Black tests until someone drops the ball, then pipes up with “WELL THAT WAS SHIT!”. Yeah, THAT bloke. Whinge feckin’ Central, where rumours and misinformation spread like wildfire. It got old really quickly, and before long I was working and couldn’t listen to the radio all day, so Radio Sport was relegated in favour of BFM in the car.

I’ve tuned in a little again lately, and it turns out those were the good old days. The unfeasibly fast talking Tony Vietch is the boofhead’s boofhead. Sexism reigns supreme, and his laddish references to his nights out on the pull and whatever else comes across as insulting, annoying and just plain irrelevant to a sports show. Charming Aussie Matt Gunn (whose favourite meal is ‘any wog dish’) scores very highly in the dickhead stakes, too. Talkback has got even worse due to a lack of callers bothering to ring anymore, forcing the hosts to adopt more and more ludicrous ‘points of view’ to get a reaction. It’s desperate stuff, and dumbed down radio at its worst. It must be a lot of work to fill all that on air time – I don’t envy them at all. Can I suggest:

How to save Radio Sport:
1. Hire Leigh Hart to do Breakfast. Actually no, he’d be dumbed down by the hopelessness of it all, and I couldn’t handle that.
2. Get regular caller ‘Zane’ to host night time talkback. He’s on every night anyway showing the hosts up with his well prepared and thoughtful calls, so why not let the inmate take over the asylum?
3. Eliminate the sexist bullshit. It’s offensive, and pandering to some radioguy’s imaginary ‘Kiwi Bloke’ demographic is insulting to us kiwi blokes, let alone everyone else. We’ve all got mothers and sisters, you know. Why not get more women on, while you’re at it?
4. I’m all out of ideas. Judging by the extremely high repeatition of commercials, advertisers can’t be bothered either, so all this might not be a problem for much longer.

*Marcus Lush appears on Radio LIVE ads saying ‘Talkback radio is the only true artform, cos it’s made purely of people’s ideas’. Marcus, if you took the world’s stupidest person and hit him with the Stupid Stick for three weeks before driving him off Mt St. Stupid in the Stupidmobile while wearing the Stupid suit, you couldn’t make him say something that stupid. Honestly.