Links on Friday

So this is the kind-of return of Links on Friday – as long as you don’t expect links *every* Friday it’ll be sweet.

This is magic. Some guy creates one video game American football team that’s awesome and aggressive and puts it up against another video game American football team that’s feeble. Along the way he raises money for charity and makes some hil-ar-ious GIFS – but then something really freaky happens.

Some poor / heroic bugger has taken up the task of  going through the fabbo Alternative Commentary Collective archives and compiling some best-ofs. Here’s the first edition, get in there.

The mysterious Inky comes back with an email newsletter after about, oh, five years away. It’s a fabulous ramble through Ted, Steve H and All Black coaching cycles, dark hints about what he wants to say but can’t and somehow Hillary Clinton is mixed in there as well. Get on board.

BMX as conceptual art via

You wait for ages, then two podcasts come along at once

Two podcast related things.

1. I was on the New Zealand Digital Podcast with Paul Spain and Sim Ahmed, chatting about my role at NZC, and sportreview, among other things. You can listen to my episode in a variety of fashions here.

2. I submitted a ‘book nook’ entry to top cricket podcast, The BYC Podcast.

I reviewed The Art Of Captaincy by Mike Brearley, it went as follows:

You’ll love this book if you’re into tales of early 80s country cricket – it`s chocka with cracking dressing room quips by legendary players in damp knitwear waiting for the rain to stop and is reportedly one of Stephen Fleming’s big influences.

There’s straightforward and timeless advice on selection, field placement and batting orders – but it gets really interesting in the chapters on harnessing aggression and trying the unexpected. Brearley advocates underarm bowling in the right circumstances, a controversial stance in this country to say the least. There’s plenty on wrangling dressing room personalities, a possible pointer to Brearley’s post-cricket career as a psychologist,

Brearley played with and against some of the greats – Botham, Boycott, Greig, the Chappells and the dream West Indian pace attack are all used as examples. The contrasts between this era, when Boycott would open for England in limited overs matches, and today are fascinating.

Mike will be pleased to know there are lots of pictures.

9/10 – definitely made me feel more intelligent after reading.

Definitely listen to The BYC Podcast though, they made it loads better. And listen to it every week while you’re at it, it’s a must-listen chez moi.

Kicking a dingo when he’s down

Ricky defeat 090609

I was up early to see the Australians go out of the T20 World Cup at the hands of Sri Lanka (in their first game since the bus bomb in Pakistan). Nothing unites the cricketing world like an Ocker loss, here’s a selected run down from the blogs and that:

The Beige Holden points out Tricky Ricky is the biggest loser in international T20s now that he is responsible for 10 notches on other captains’ belts.

Jrod identifies the gaping holes in Ponting’s T20 captaincy (‘I do wish the Dutch were playing in the Ashes’), and speculates why they imploded like an NRL team on a brewery tour.

The Guardian revels in the Aussies’ upcoming fortnight in Leicester with all the potential for stir-craziness that entails, warning of ‘a national outcry if the England and Wales Cricket Board loans them as much as a Scrabble board.’

L&P – doing it wrong

I got a press release from L&P’s PR agency today on their upcoming BYC cricket tournament. PR’s easy, it works like this:

  1. Get list of ‘sport blogger’ email addresses. For god’s sake don’t bother reading their site to see if they a) do this kind of thing thing or b) hate you
  2. Send out a mass emailed press release
  3. Bloggers do your job for you and send that shit ‘viral’ on the ‘internet’

Unfortunately,’s policy is that L&P needs to eat a bag of dicks for the way they treated top blokes The Beige Brigade last year. Here’s an excerpt from the email the Ad Agency sent The Brigade when they tried to get behind last year’s tournament:

“We kinda see the Beige Brigade as high profile funny guys where as L&P is always the backseat funny guy, finding humour in little kiwi truths and not really making a fuss. We…don’t feel the fit is quite right for L&P, strategically.”

‘Kinda’. That’s awesome. This is how it’s going to go on my site:

  1. Blogger receives mass emailed press release from L&P (disclosure: blogger already thinks L&P should eat bag of dicks)
  2. Blogger responds with snarky mcsnark snark blog post

L&P has been going to the tired 70s / 80s Kiwiana well for a while now. They used to be good, but the current ads make drinking L&P seem as appealing as feeding my nuts through the electronic whiteboard. Dressing no-marks in headbands and trackies would have a lot more impact if every other hipster on K Road wasn’t dressed like that these days. The campaign’s posters stars aren’t Kiwi lads who love a game of cricket and an L&P to cool off while effortlessly embodying the brand values of being quirky, down to earth, lovable, and a dufus. They’re dicks. Exhibits A through C:

I was going out of my way to get annoyed now. The campaign’s shitty flash-based website is a content-lite shambles, a Trojan horse for lengthy terms and conditions that crashes Firefox, and leaves no Kiwiana stone unturned to flog you sugary water:

Gag me with a jandal – they’re raping buzzy bees here. For crimes against Cricket and New Zealand generally, says no to L&P’s ad campaign, and no to unsolicited press releases. I like to drink L&P with fish and chips as much as the next man, and the BYC tournament itself is a great idea – I’m sure those that play will have a great time – but the patronising and annoying ad campaign, website and PR has to go, team.

Catching up

Sorry for the ‘review being quiet lately – it seems one of the pre-requisites of a sports blog is *blogging*. I know. Here’s what’s been happening while real life has got in the way:

When me and a mate were trying to name the 1987 WC winning XV, John Drake was the last name we came up with – I only knew him much better as a commentator and columnist. I rate him alongside Tony Johnson as NZ’s best. Almost everyone paying tribute said he ‘had interests outside Rugby’, which is a sign of sanity.  We’ll miss his thoughtful, forthright style in our house when Stu Wilson starts levering foot into mouth again next season.

Iain O’Brien’s blogging on Cricinfo now, and while JRod bemoans him jumping ship, it seems that Cricinfo are re-blogging Iain’s blogspot site, not the other way around. As Emma Hart said on Hadyn Green’s PA discussion, ‘I was listening to O’Brien getting the hell bounced out of him that day and thinking, wow, can’t wait to read his blog about this’. Too right.

Cockfighting aside, there’s no crueler game than golf – it was excruciating to watch Hamilton’s David Smail mess up the Australian Open yesterday evening. Brother of sportreview has played with David, and even with a hugely successful career in Asia, he’d have wanted to nail the Australian Open to go with his NZ Open. Still, Smail handled himself with dignity throughout, in that situation I would have definitely vomited.

Ben from Mike on Cricket now has his own pad @ Crucket. Get in there.

Sorry I missed Links on Friday this week. If I’d got around to it, the Wunder Boner would have probably made the cut.

Beige Brigade banned from BYC

There’s a fascinating email exchange over on the Beige Brigade’s site. The chaps offered to help out with L&P’s Back Yard Cricket (BYC) tournament held in Paeroa (one of the most heavily ‘branded’ towns in the world – those poor, poor people) at the weekend, and got this back from the ad agency:

“We don’t want to position ourselves as hi-tech, as a brand. We’re all about back in the day and would probably prefer to use the an 80s dial phone… It’d be great if you’d like to put a link on your site to ours, we would appreciate that…I guess creatively we do feel that our senses of humours are quite different. We kinda see the Beige Brigade as high profile funny guys where as L&P is always the backseat funny guy, finding humour in little kiwi truths and not really making a fuss. We…don’t feel the fit is quite right for L&P, strategically.”

Woah. While this email probably wasn’t meant to be dragged around the internets, the agency have got this one wrong. I do a little ‘branding’ in the day job, and while it’s fun and challenging with something you believe in and understand, you get into deep water real fast if that’s not the case.

EVERYTHING you’re flogged on the telly, radio or newspaper (yes, probably even the Totalspan robot-dog), is ‘strategically’ ‘branded’. Many, many eyebrow furrows and skinny lattes go into figuring out how that washing up glove will make you feel, what that Flyspray would say if it could talk, and what radio station the Tinea Cream would listen to (George. It’s always George).

This account manager has balked at letting the Brigade play in the tournament, and sent them an email with a few cut n’ pastes from the brand outline. That’s shoddy. The Beige Brigade are organised, ambitious, generous (they wholeheartedly support local spelling bees and the beige penguin), positive and passionate supporters, in a country where bagging Black Caps is a pretty popular past-time.

The BYC campaign has its’ funny moments, but if it’s backed up by pompous, humour-free PR that just doesn’t get it, that’s a big fat FAIL. A little research into what the Brigade were all about would have been a far, far classier move than an email like that. You can bet the men in beige will be around doing good things for cricket in New Zealand long after L&P have finished mining this particular vein of Kiwiana to flog sugary water.