~Elsewhere in the world, life goes on. After a remarkable career sustained over six decades, Rolf Harris has been sentenced to five years and nine months in gaol, most likely in Wandsworth, which will not be pleasant. See here for my assessment of his career, and here for my thoughts on its now total implosion.
Among the revelations at sentencing were his downloads from websites called "Little Girlies" and "Tiny Girlfriends". This gets to the heart of the problem for Harris: His counsel's defence was that the girls look young but they have "ID cards" from the Ukrainian website operators that, in fact, they're over 18. Likewise, his defence against forcing himself on his daughter's best friend when she was 13 is that it was consensual and started when they were 18. Assuming for the purposes of argument that in both cases that was the truth, it would still have destroyed Harris. Because a Rolf who likes Ukrainian porn stars posing with teddy bears and embarks on a sexual relationship with his daughter's best friend is not the Rolf British and Australian audiences have known for 60 years. And once you've admitted that, the ground falls away underneath you, and it's just a question of how far and fast you drop. The defence strategy might have worked in narrow legal terms, but, even if Harris had "won", he would have lost everything that mattered to him. Amazing for a man who was entertaining thousands at the Buckingham Palace Jubilee concert just two years ago, and whom, even as he was already being questioned by police, the Australian High Commission in London had given a head's up that he was to be Australian of the Year 2013.
Your article about the World Cup was simply stupid. Please don't write about sports. You clearly know nothing about the subject. When your so ignorant on a subject you lose credibility. Please try harder.
Oddly enough, every four years some editor somewhere asks me to write something about the World Cup, ever since I was out of short pants. Here I am 28 years ago on the World Cup in Mexico. From The Daily Telegraph, June 18th 1986:
'This team is a nightmare for a commentator,' moaned the ITV man as South Korea trooped out to play Italy. His problem was that most of the team are called Sung, Byung or Kyung.
But I wonder what the South Korean commentator makes of England: the manager has the same name as the captain ("Robson may be forced to drop Robson", Brian Moore tells Brian Clough), there is a player called Waddle and a player called Hoddle (neither of which, for a Korean tongue, is a doddle) and two called Gary Stevens:
'It's Gary Stevens to Gary Stevens to Trevor Steven!'
I think the names were the best part of the '86 England team. Four years later Bobby Robson and Bryan Robson were back in Italy. From The Independent, July 2nd 1990:
The duplicate transmission of the Ireland / Italy quarter-final is the most explicit recognition that, for purposes of football coverage, the south has been reincorporated into the United Kingdom. "We've all got our fingers crossed here," said Bob Wilson on BBC1, taking it for granted that Jack Charlton's lads were now an official home side. On ITV, Alan Parry struggled to maintain even-handedness: "Zenga has let in just three goals in his last 19 matches: a rather frightening statistic," he reckoned, adding belatedly, "...if you're Irish," which for the moment we all were. This is confirmation of the theory expounded by Brenda Fricker on returning from Hollywood to find her Academy Award being hailed as a great night for British film: "When you're drunk at the airport, you're Irish," she said, "When you win an Oscar, suddenly you're British."
But there's also no denying that, in many ways, Ireland is the acceptable face of English football: the manager is English, several of the team play for English clubs, and many speak with accents from well east of Dun Laoghaire, thanks to elastic requirements under which anybody with a second cousin who's spent 20 minutes in the transit lounge at Shannon is eligible for the team. In interview, England's Bobby Robson compares badly with genial Jack. On Saturday, on the verge of an historic achievement - the first England side to reach the semi-finals outside England - he was still temperamentally incapable of being anything other than the dogged technician. "The Irish haven't made a mistake," he said, analysing Jack's boys at half-time, when they were one-nil down. "The goal wasn't a mistake really..," he added revealingly.
Well, that's enough World Cup fever. Wimbledon? From The Evening Standard, July 8th 1991:
What a strange Wimbledon it's been. Perhaps Becker would have done better to make like the world's Number One women's player, Monica Seles, and call in sick with a mysterious ailment a couple of days before. Still no word on what it is. Maybe she's lost her ability to fake orgasm with every serve. "Uuuuuuuuuugh!" "Eeeeaaaaauuggggh!" I seem to remember Harry Carpenter suggesting she'd been working hard to keep her "obtrusive grunt" under control. I hope not. I was working up a treatment for a new movie called When Harry Met Seles, with a particularly embarrassing scene in the Wimbledon strawberry tent.