Fuck you, Jimmy Savile

I was watching the Netflix documentary, Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story, over the weekend. I was reminded of the time, over 20 years ago and well before he was officially outed as a massive pedophile predator, when I brushed tangentially against him. In 2000, I had published a spoof Have I Got News For You transcript supposedly detailing out-takes from the show episode in which he appeared, and which saw Paul Merton tear into Savile mercilessly. Demon, my hosting provider at the time, got hit with a legal take-down notice.

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Immersive Van Gogh

Lighthouse Artspace, Scottsdale
29th August, 2021

Truth be told, I’ve never been a particular fan of Van Gogh. I prefer my artists a bit more technically rigorous, such as the Pre-Raphaelites, like John Everett Millais. But there’s no denying the cultural impact of Vincent Van Gogh, and if one artist was ever going to have an “experience” devoted to him, he’s the obvious choice. Or, rather: multiple experiences, for it seems there are quite a few of these travelling events doing the circuit this year. Each claims to be the best, but I’m not going to get into that. This is the one which staked its spot first in Phoenix, so we’ll go with it.

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The Joy of the Olympics: Artistic Swimming

This is the sport previously known as “synchronized swimming.” The organization in charge changed the name in 2017, apparently to bring it in line with artistic gymnastics, though not everyone was on board with the change (the Russians were especially vocal). Like that wing of gymnastics, it’s for women only at the Olympics. There is a men’s event at the world championships, but that hasn’t made its way to the Games as yet. Ironically, the sport was originally male only when it began in the late 19th century.

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The Joy of the Olympics: Archery

This is a sport which changed its Olympic format, and basically re-invented itself, to enormous effect. The contest has now become adversarial, with competitors facing off in head-to-head battles, after a ranking round, which make for considerably more interesting viewing. It’s set-based, with each competitor firing three arrows, alternately. The highest total score wins the set, and gets two points – one each if the scores are level. First to five points wins. It’s elegant in its simplicity, easy to understand and follow.

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The Joy of the Olympics: Table Tennis

It’s that time of the four-year cycle again. Except, thanks to COVID, it has been five years since the last Olympics. Not that you’d know it from all the signage in Japan, which sternly insists these are the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Still, it’s time to slump in front of the TV, and become instant experts, passing harsh criticism on the failure of a gymnast to stick the landing. Another Dorito? Don’t mind if I do. But while the schedule is dominated by swimming, athletics and gymnastics, we get our greatest pleasure on the fringes. We enjoy watching the sports you never really see the rest of the time.

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