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Sober Life
by Sinclair Newton

CURLERS



 
Sober Life

In the end it was an Oxford graduate flat out on a tea tray and four Scottish housewives with broomsticks who upheld Britain's Olympic honour.

I'm pleased to report I was wide awake to watch it all, though I think a few sleep-inducing large ones might have helped as Rhona Martin and her brush-wielding curlers swept to the first gold medal at a Winter Olympics since Torville and Dean eighteen years ago.

You wouldn't have known they were going to do so well without the Beeb commentary, however. The women lost two games straight off and won the third on the last granite rock twirled down the indoor ice flow while someone in Salt Lake City wittered on about the drama.

I suppose now we'll have to get used to expressions like "the last rock" as curling halls open all over the place, no doubt dispensing a wee dram to women with ice cold faces. But I can't see the smack of granite smiting granite replacing the thwack of leather on willow, or even the perfectly-judged curl taking over from the perfectly-placed spot kick, whatever the BBC commentator makes of it all.

The ten o'clock news came on both major terrestrial channels half way through and the BBC's lukewarm version relegated John Thaw's smoking-induced death to follow the news of the Wall Street Journal's man being put to death by Islamic militants who kidnapped him a month ago. Shurely there was shome mishtake here. The most famous actor on TV was dead and they'd got the mop-heads twirling for gold in the Olympics and all I had for consolation was a cup of tea, with sweeteners, and some pretty poor news editing.

There's something just not right about the BBC that you can observe in Ibiza now you can get ITV (via Sky) and make a comparison.

I want to know why they want to bid millions of pounds of licence-payers' money on Mike Tyson's fight this summer when they won't get any sort of financial return on it. I understand why they feel they should cover the Winter Olympics (though I question why they have to send so many people to cover it and then switch channels just as it gets to the exciting bit), but why not let ITV earn something from the advertising for ear muffs it will no doubt attract?

That would mean both of them having the money to invest in new programmes that are not about cops and robbers.

But it's not just that; it's the self-imposed smugness of the Corporation that irritates me. Let's imagine there was no BBC and someone had the bright idea of creating it. How many people do you seriously think they would consider employing? Do you suppose it would be 20,000?

All in all, I think they are toe-curlingly awful and I haven't even mentioned my local BBC radio station that seems to consist of a phone-in going on all day about the best way of removing grease stains from behind the cooker. I think there should be an investment in a redundancy programme. After all, it only needs one good person with sound news sense to dictate the order of the news and not a committee.

And talking of investment, I want to add my congratulations to Gary Hardy, LiveIbiza's webmaster, for completing the first year of our glorious site today. Who knows what next year may bring? Hopefully it will be commercial sponsorship, something else the BBC lacks.

Sinclair Newton

sinclairnewton@liveibiza.com