Friday, June 1, 2007

Things would never be quite the same - Zephirine

The public might be all cricketed out, but it wasn't always this way

The West Indies cricket team are currently touring England, and the home side look set to beat them. So far, so predictable. Apart from diehard cricket fans the country is mostly indifferent, only perhaps registering that Michael Vaughan seems to be back, a guy with silly hair has done well for himself, and Freddie's ankle has gone again.

But it wasn’t always like that. There was actually an England/West Indies Test series which changed the country.

It was in 1976.

Looking at archive footage in a recent BBC4 documentary, you can see that Britain was an edgy, restless place that year; nobody had much money, different governments had come and gone, Harold Wilson resigned as Prime Minister. The country was at war - farcically, with Iceland, over fishing rights, but more bitterly and bloodily in the guerrilla struggles in Northern Ireland, which after seven years were becoming a way of life. Twelve IRA bombs exploded in London during January, and in March the extended family known as the Maguire Seven were wrongfully imprisoned for terrorism. In popular culture, the iconoclastic spirit of punk was on the rise.

Racism - conscious and unconscious - was still widespread in Britain, and black youth had constant trouble with a police force which could be bigoted and undisciplined. Many black British felt ‘invisible’ and not really part of the country; but at least there were laws declaring discrimination on grounds of race to be wrong. In South Africa, of course, things were quite different: June 1976 would see the Soweto riots in which protesting schoolchildren were shot and killed by security forces.

The England cricket captain, Tony Greig, had grown up in South Africa. Exceptionally tall, with untidy white-blond hair, he was an outgoing, aggressive player. In a TV interview before the first Test against the West Indies, Greig said “These guys, if they get on top they are magnificent cricketers. But if they're down, they grovel, and I intend, with the help of Closey and a few others, to make them grovel."

Watching the recording now, it seems clear what he means, the mindset of his childhood resonating unquestioned through his strong South African accent: “these guys”, the black men, have no strength of character, they won’t withstand pressure.

In itself that was insult enough, but for the West Indian players the word ‘grovel’ meant much more than just a punchy soundbite - it meant the auction block and the overseer’s whip. As soon as they heard Greig’s comment, they were blazing angry. Led by Clive Lloyd, whose schoolmasterly exterior masked a ferocious commitment to West Indian cricket as the outward symbol of proud independent nations, they set out to demolish England.

Summer 1976 in Britain would be the hottest and driest summer on record.

Many talented people have come from the county of Yorkshire, but it’s a part of the world that doesn’t do glamour. In the archive footage, this fact is embodied in the solid form of Brian Close, astonishingly an England opening batsman at 45 years old. Balding, managerial, shirtsleeves rolled up, he looks as if he should be at home washing the car before his Sunday dinner.

Bowling to him is Michael Holding from Jamaica, lithe, slim, 22 years old, so famously soft-footed in his long, suspense-inducing run-up that he acquired the nickname ‘Whispering Death’. Today many still consider Holding the fastest bowler in history. As he bowls, with his seemingly effortless action, to Close, the future challenges the past, and leaves it standing lost and helpless.

And here, coming out to bat, is Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, from Antigua, on his first tour of England.

What can you say about King Viv that hasn’t already been said? Except that, watching the old grainy TV pictures, one wonders: has there been a sportsman before or since who used good humour as such a weapon? Here he is already at 24 years old, as he would be throughout his career: lethally affable. Supremely at ease, he makes being at ease threatening. He smiles, he chews gum, he strolls out to the crease like a contented lion checking out its territory of a sunny afternoon. His every move conveys that whatever the bowler sends down, it will be his pleasure to dispatch it to the boundary. He scores 232 in his first Test.

Did the West Indies demolish England and make Tony Greig grovel? Of course they did. They won 3-0, and if two matches hadn’t been drawn because of rain they would have won them all. The English are a funny lot, though, forever torn between a shared tradition of conventional hierarchy and a mongrel subversive individualism. We love a pirate, and the West Indies walloped us that year like mythical pirates with swagger and style and courage; few can have resented that victory, and many - especially the ever-rebellious young - enjoyed every bit of it.

And it really meant something. In those pictures of the final test at the Oval - the unwatered grass bleached out to greyish beige by the August heat - by this time the whole country knows what’s going on and it seems the entire black population of South London is at the match. As Holding splinters Tony Greig’s wicket, Viv Richards scores 291 and West Indies beat England by 231 runs, row upon row of young men in wide lapels and afro hair are cheering, singing, pouring onto the pitch at the final victory, fierce, energised, empowered. No one could tell them now that black people were only there to clip bus tickets and clean hospitals. There would be battles to fight and minds to be changed, rivers to cross, but in that summer of 1976 they believed they could make it: they would never be invisible again.

Some visual aides from youtube:

Holding gets a bit nasty:

Holding takes wickets:

Some highlights from King Viv’s career against England


Zeph said...

Here's a link about the BBC4 documentary:

which has some pictures.

DoctorShoot said...

excellent piece Zeph
I followed those incredible games.
they gave us a fair old towelling too.
will check your links and re-read later

nesta said...

F'arking brilliant. Pseuds has the best cricket articles. This one is a gem. I have no time at present to tell all so I will just say thanks and well done. Let's start the clock and see how long it takes the losers at the GU to knock it off. Time starts NOW.

A warning to PLAGARISTS. A Hall of Shame is being set up to highlight and publicise any theft from our community. You have been warned.

If you steal from this site I will make it my personal mission to ruin and destroy your reputation as a journalist and as a writer. If you steal blatantly you will be caught. Go and steal elsewhere. So go on F'ark off!!

file said...


this is dead good

I can't bloody access YouTube but even though I can find footage elsewhere I don't want to

I think for a lot of folk this Windies tour was a defining event in their perception of cricket (didn't the beeb used to use that Caribbean music and clips of the series in it's opening for years after if I'm not mistaken?)

and you've captured it so well, with such a vivid backdrop of the times setting off really great cameos of the players

and this is your passion isn't it? Your fondness comes out in the pictures you paint of B.Close washing the car before his Sunday dinner, 'soft footed' Whispering Death, and the excellent portrait of the 'lethally affable' King Viv

and best of all you stick the altogether too-handsome-and-talented-to-be-nice Greig in his historical place too

thanks for this, to me it's like the next chapter from Ernest and The Boxer

in the challange that wasn't a challenge and the competition of no competition this would have been a mammoth non-entrant

go z

file said...

oh hi nesta, synchronisity?

file said...

er.. with a c

Ebren said...

You might be too late Nesta.

3) The preposterously hard Brian Close, aged 45 and without a helmet, takes a fearsome pounding from Michael Holding in a famous Saturday evening session at Old Trafford in 1976, and barely flinches.
from here

Same youtube clip as Zephs. And while it hit their site first - I saw Zeph's piece (and am pretty sure the GU team saw it as well) before their one went live.

That said, it could be a coincidence.

file said...

at least zeph and pseuds have the consolation of knowing they are leading the world in cricketing journalism, defining the zeitgeist and setting the agenda

[Ebren sighs, looks at fingernails, strokes cat]

It makes you wonder how long it would take to get from Hobart to Farringdon or Manchester

nesta said...

If people are blatantly nicking stuff and what I mean by that is chunks of text, unique meaphors, turns of phrase, unique points of view etc. then they should be outed. With evidence of course. It works. A story.

A friend of mine, an architect, sometimes writes for a reasonably obscure architectural magazine. A Sydney journalist lifted whole paragraphs with barely a word altered and the style and angle of the piece for his Sunday column.

My mate not one to just shrug his shoulders and say 'oh well' wrote an email highlighting the obvious plagarism to the newspapers editor and was given short shrift.

Undeterred he then sent the email on to that newsapapers competitors (incl. TV stations) who had a jolly good time highlighting the 'weaknesses' of their competitors journalistic integrity. The result. A grovelling public apology and the suspension of the offending journalist.

If writers at the corner think there stuff is being 'mined' send me the offending article for a 'peer review'. It's a scientific method for identifying plagarism which is an instantly sackable offence in the scientific community.

If the evidence stands the test then I think we should let the editors of the jounalists employers competitors know about it. They'll sink the boot in for us.

If anything is achieved by this it may be that the thieves understand that messing with the pseuds has dire consequences. If we do nothing then we become puppets. In this world you have to demand respect. It's time The Pseudenoids started standing up for their rights as independent writers. United and strong.

file said...

nesta, well said, great stuff, fully agree

go pseudonoids

MotM said...

I agree with Nesta - it's in the phrases and the tenor that one sees the lifting and it should be outed.

There is a lot of stuff about the contrast of today's hopeless Windies squad and the supermen of 1976 and 1984 at the moment, with Mikey giving an interview to the Independent, and BBC4 and ESPN programmes about the tours, so there may be a few journos rooting around in the same material (particularly in a non-Test week). Having said that, it's pretty clear when it's a lift.

I loved Zeph's piece because it captures how different things were then so vividly. I was 13 and remember wondering why these two old men (Close and Edrich) were expected to hold off the impossibly hostile and glamourous Holding and Roberts. For my generation, it was our "Beatles on the Sullivan Show".

Anyone else feel that Greig gets a bad press? Sure the "grovel" comment was dumb, but I feel it was gauche rather than malicious. He was never less than accommodating with the crowd and took the outclassing of his side with good humour. He was vilified as Packer's recruitment officer, but history and law showed that he was on the right side in that argument.

I guess we don't see enough of him in England to get tired of his punditry, but I rather warm to him on the telly.

Should I don my motorcycle helmet in readiness for pseuds' vitriol over my defence of the big SA / Eng all-rounder?

nesta said...

No helmet needed Gov.

Tony Greig said the same thing on the tour of Australia preceeding the Windies tour of England. Lillee and Thomson made him pay just as Roberts, Holding and co. did. Poor Ammis, Edrich and an invalid Cowdrey probably still haven't forgiven or forgotten.

This is the sort of stupid bravado that seems to pour from the mouth of South African cricketers and I highlighted as much about KP in our discusson the other day.

G.Smith did it at the World Cup too and Ricky and the Rollers responded with the appropriate aggression.

As for Tony the commentator. I have had over 20 years of his voice and he plays the devil's advocate perfectly. It's a show and he performs his part well. He is also very knowledgable about the game and his opinions are usually worth listening to.

Zeph said...

Hi chaps - thanks for the kind words and thanks to Mouth and Ebren with help fine-tuning this piece.

To be fair, I think the GU youtube link would have come out of someone seeing the BBC4 documentary. There was an article on cricinfo too, also inspired by the same programme.

However, owing to the ambition of Lord Ebren on my behalf this piece has now actually been sent to the GU editor, so if it turns up on there in a different form we'll know why! But I don't think it will.

Several people pointed out the similarities between Paul Doyle's piece and Offside's in GU blog comments, which weren't deleted. I feel this may be the best way to deal with the problem if it arises - a bit of embarrassment in their own backyard.

I have put a notice on Other Stuff about copyright which we might perhaps have on here, Ebren? Just to make the point.

File, you're quite right, it is my passion - I am the opposite of a stats anorak, what I love is sport as theatre - the clash of personalities, the psychological battles and the effect on the spectators.

Ebren said...

You know, I'm not going to put a disclaimer at the top (btw, Zeph, you might want to move to minima stretch, which is what I use now after people complained).

If anyone thinks they can rip stuff off legally they are an idiot. And if they're going to do it, then the disclaimer won't stop them.

That said - maybe a little notice saying "Warning, seriously litigious Aussies read this. Don't mess" might help ;o)

Gotta go watch england play now.

This is what I think about the game.

MotM said...

Ebren - Just read your fine piece with which I agree 100%, but you probably know that as I MBMed almost the same point to GU! I really promise that it's a coincidence!

mimi said...

Zeph: thanks. So many memories. That was THE summer. Of so much. Days in the Parks watching the cricks, nights, so hot, taking the punt out to swim in the river, before any tragedy struck our lot. So fine, to think about it.

mimi said...

OK: back after about a zillion cups of tea. To take nothing from anyone's comments about plagiarism, I think there is a synchronicity in the writing about sport where anything that is current will just happen. The Tony Greig grovel remark was actually discussed on the BBC last weekend so one could say that what is here is picking up on their talks, though obviously it was entirely independent of that broadcast. I wrote something on cycling last month that was published here, and a week later something appeared on GU that seemed derivative. However, it was pointed out to me that if you are writing something, it is natural to search the internet for news on your subject, and if you've published, then your words are up for grabs. Just as when I'm writing something, I'll take stats and history from others if I don't have those things in my brain. That is very different from nicking chunks of writing eg from a blog, but I'm not sure there's a real cause for complaint. When you send an email, it's a postcard, and anyone who sees it can read. When you blog, it's much the same. Sure if it's really blatant, then there's cause for complaint, but mostly it's just what happens. If we want to "possess" what we write here or in any place, it's a big question of how, and also why.
Hope that makes sense.

Zeph said...

Very often the 'synchronicity' can be traced back to one item - in this case, the BBC4 'Nation on Film' documentary which was very good and was shown several times, will have set many people thinking as it did me. (I wrote this piece well before last weekend, by the way).

However, Mimi, what you're saying is very dangerous. When you publish a comment or article on a blog it isn't 'up for grabs'. It's your work and your copyright, and at the very least if someone quotes it they should acknowledge the source.

I'm not sure how much factual basis there is for our anxieties about GU writers, but they get paid and we don't - let's hope they're getting paid for their own words and not someone else's.

file said...



There are 33 designs now and all at:

Please leave your vote for the final design in the comments under the t-shirt you like. The votes will be counted on June 10 ’07.

levremance said...

Great article Zeph, I can only echo the comments made previously on the high quality of the writing and the thoughtful construction of the article.

I also especially enjoyed the 'throat ball' class that Holding conducts. Great fast bowling. Staunch defiance from Close too, I wonder how long he lasted that day.

Ah well, at least I can sleep soundly, safe in the knowledge that none of my Aussie Rules articles will ever be plagiarised.

nesta said...


You seem to have synchronicity confused with what is fashionable or 'in the news'. Many people can write about the same thing in a variety of different styles. It happens every single day.

I have left an explanation above so won't repeat and zeph was very diplomatic in describing your 'up for grabs' comment as 'dangerous' I'm no diplomat so I'll say it plainly. It is downright ignorant.

You claim to have worked in publishing yet do not know the meaning of plagiarism. So here it is, 'plagiarism is the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work'.

That you publicly state that you 'take stats and history from others if I don't have those things in my brain'. Says more about the impoverished state of your own imagination and very little else. Researching an article is not the same as 'taking'. Researching is educating yourself about the subject.

As for the GU. One journalist in particular plagiarised some of my creative comments on a blog. I no longer blog there. Simple. If I hear that my writing is plagiarised from this site I will come down on the thief like a ton of bricks. And I will not let it go until they 'grovel'. You can count on it.

I wouldn't accuse anyone of plagiarism unless the 'evidence' suggested strongly and unequivocally that it was so. A writer's career can be severely damaged if they plagiarise. Any writer that does so is playing a dangerous game. Especially if I am the target of the theft.

Who was this person that pointed out to you that 'if you've published, then your words are up for grabs'? They couldn't be more wrong. Do they work at the GU?

MotM said...

Plagiarism in education is a very hot topic indeed. There are programmes which will run through an essay and give you the soureces and a plagiarism rating. There are complex rules of footnoting that require a degree in footnoting before being understood. And there are essays available on eBay with or without tutor comments which no programme will detect (unless it's been through the programme before). And that's before we get to visual work!

There is a big debate about how to teach plagiarism avoidance and how to penalise it once it's detected. That's before we get to different cultural constructions of plagiarism.

As for me, I'm not too bothered if someone plagiarises me once (although I think it's unethical), but I'd be pretty annoyed if it were systematic. I think Nesta is well within his rights to vilify the pros who do it, although I'd be lighter on non-pro bloggers. I understand Mimi's point too about putting the stuff up there and then letting it go, but Mimi would you be happy to see everything you write here above someone else's name elsewhere? Especially if they are getting paid for it and not attributing their source.

The internet is still something of a Wild West, but even there, the gunslingers were in the wrong.

nesta said...

Very well put Gov. The voice of reason. I don't mind anyone using bits of my work as long as the person using it attributes the source from whence it came.

I write reams of scientific papers and almost every paragraph has references to other scientific authors.

I occasionally help out at the uni marking essays etc and if anything is cut and pasted or if paraphrased without a reference it is an immediate fail. The student is cautioned and then given extra tuition about how to reference their work. Second time they have to redo the semester (at a financial cost). Third time suspended from the university.

It is easy in science because you can always ask, 'How do you know that?' "Where did you read it?' 'Why isn't it referenced then?'

In the humanities I guess a computer program is necessary to find the cheaters. What a minefield that must be? You have my sympathy Gov, It must be a tough job.

DoctorShoot said...

really enjoyed the article thank you.
such a time warp and so much going on everywhere, including the aftermath of our prime minister being sacked by hrh etc....

tony greig annoyed me in so many ways but as a cricketer he was a tough fighter and brought in (to the best of my knowledge) the fashion of the raised bat stance (which still annoys me for some reason...)
racial politics is still part of one's institutionalised upbringing in australia, and whilst there are no excuses to be found, one can understand tony's boer slips field bringing him undone. a good shellacking by viv and the boys was just the ticket as you essayed.

on the plagiarism thread I wouldn't dismiss Mimis thoughts so hastily.
Is it not the case that things freely placed onto the internet and not done for profit or gain, become part of the 'public domain' and thus are freely available for re-use? Original ideas on the other hand remain with their author irrespective, and their unauthorised use can be contested.

nesta said...

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.

That quote is freely available on the internet. Now if I claimed it as my own by including it without a reference as a phrase in one of my freely given articles, that is plagiarism.

But if I wrote, Khalil Gibran said, ' When you work...' That's not plagiarism.

It is a matter of honesty and integrity and law.

I know you understand Doc because you quote Les Murray at the top of your piece the other day and I have encountered your wisdom elsewhere.

Of course stats, quotes, gossip and the like are fair game. But there is a line and I think that when crossed the offender should be made to see the error of their ways.

I feel an over or two without pads or helmet against Holding in his prime would do the trick.

DoctorShoot said...

I wonder if you recall the reporter facing Thommo behind the plexiglass shield which was to become the players helmet visor material (before the metal grids) no pads nothing just a bat.

Thommo rocked one down at full bore with a little bent elbow for emphasis and the ball burst straight through the shield and the reporter leapt in fear and cried 'shit!' as it shattered around him....

I thought at the time: hmm some bad karma there I reckon....

nesta said...

I played against Thommo when I was 19 and he was about 36 in the Brisbane grade comp. He wasn't that quick to begin with but it was really hard to pick the ball up early because of his action.

Well all ego and teenage bravado I top edged one over slips and then pulled one through mid wicket that raced to the boundary. As i got up the bowlers end as the ball hit the the longest boundary on the ground I sledged Thommo with, 'Shorter and faster old man'. Worst mistake I have ever made and I mean that. I have never made a bigger or more humiliatingly painful error.

The very next ball thudded into my unprotected chest before my feet moved. I batted for about a session and half that day and was dropped about 7 times and only scored about 20. Thommo made me pay for my petulance and it was a lesson learned the hard way.

After the day's play Thommo went out of his way to buy me a beer and inspect the dozen or so purple and black cherries on my torso. He laughed as he poked every one of them asking, 'Does that hurt?'

He hit my helmet at least a dozen times and wanted a look at that too. He passed it around the clubhouse making a big show of all the marks and dents he had left on it.

He then told me in a menancing whisper that he had told his team-mates (G. Chappell was captain) to keep me at the crease to teach me a lesson. It's a hard school Australian cricket.

He bought me another beer and asked if I had indeed learnt a lesson. I whimpered 'Yes'. And he slapped me hard on the back and laughed his head off. There is a touch of sadist in Thommo but I realised that I deserved what I received that fateful day in south Brisbane.

Even my own team-mates were laughing at my stupidity in firing up Thommo. He was well past his best then and without a helmet he must of been terrifying when he was in his prime. He still frightens me, even though my fears are now only memories.

file said...

great story nesta, at least you lived to tell it

a bit different but didn't Alan Shearer break the wrist of a small Austrlian boy goalie while taking penalties for some shin dig down under?

MotM said...

Nesta - brilliant story: again surely a stand alone piece?

I particularly like the fact that you report exactly what I would expect of Thommo (and you!) No wonder you guys have it over us!

file said...

as a bit of a wassock of a 12 year old I once built up enough courage to go up to Geoff 'KingKong' Capes at a meet and ask him for his autograph

'Just Fack Off!' he boomed, I remember it very well. Nowadays whenever I see the Nike ad I think of his advice

I later heard that he used to drink his own urine before competing, he didn't need the nutrition but it put him in the right frame of mind

guitougoal said...

after all, I think I am going to learn about cricket.
It's never too late.

Zeph said...

Ah, Guitou, as a good Frenchman I knew eventually you would see reason :)

This week Ebren has given you the basics and I've offered a glimpse into the socio-politico-economic effects of the sport; maybe soon Nesta and the Doc will give you an introduction to the finer skills of sledging.

What is sledging? Well, in the story above, Greig was trying to do it and getting it wrong.

duncan said...

Zeph - What a piece! I loved every word even though it made me cry. That was a different time. I remember the hollow feeling when Greig caught Viv shy of his 300. It just seemed wrong...

As for the Summer of 1976. For some of us (eg. Mimi it seems) there will never be one like it. I spent most of it in Hamburg and Cornwall but that's another story...

Nesta - 'kin 'hell mate, what a tale. Cricket lovely cricket!

Zeph said...

Thanks Duncan! On the TV programme, Viv himself says "Was it 291? I'd forgotten.. I'd have remembered if it had been 300."

DoctorShoot said...

Nesta my dear chap
we monkeys ought not flick our tails at tigers....
I think Thommo might have stolen that idea from someone else but can't remember...
'how we managed the don' or something.....
only joking...
looks like I gave you a dorothy dix...
perhaps you should send mimi some flowers re plaigarism as she was rather closer to the mark than you gave credit for...

honolulu said...

Masterful, Zeph, truly masterful. A really great read, thank you.

I agree with guitou, and I have been inspired by the Pseud's cricket writers to learn about the sport... living in Southern California, however, is my only obstacle.

ME: "Do you show Cricket?"
ESPN Sports bar host: "You mean, like, the plague of Egypt?"

DoctorShoot said...

....or Connie Francis yet?...

nesta said...


I took mimi out for ice-cream and a barefoot walk along the beach. I think she's forgiven me. In fact, big fella, after a bit of the old Aussie charm I think she may be smitten.

levremance said...

Re plagiarism issue - When you sign up for GU blogs, don't you cede copyright on your comments to GU?

Or is that my misunderstanding from casually skimming the terms of use a fair while ago now?

Anyone know?

nesta said...

That is the case lev. What you write at the GU is technically the GU's. Not the case at pseuds, however, what you write here is independent.

levremance said...

I had the feeling during the Ashes blogs that issues raised by bloggers turned up in articles later but I guess I saw it as the trade off for moderation, IT etc. I reckon The Age and The Australian have the same rules of use.

Who owns ".blogspot" I wonder and whats in it for them?

nesta said...

Google own blogspot. What's in it for them? Global communications domination of course.

levremance said...

Well thanks for the forum google. Happy to serve your ambition of world domination in any small way I can.

google said...

no problem levremance

file said...


it's more than just a comms domination isn't it?

Whatever happened to their library idea of all the printed texts in human history to be freely available online?

It's world word domination, once they own every last syllable they'll start talking about copyright

then we'll have to pay for each vowel or consanant we put up on the web, letters will have different values to reflect usage, some letters like z or epsilon will be cheaper than others

capitals will be more expensive too because they're louder

which will in turn breed a new language 'zyzzy' of cheap words, a street lingo that gurgle will just never get

google said...

be careful file, we have your email account

file said...

Yeh well I've got your number, fashist

don't threaten me

google said...

snot a threat, sfunny how the spam filter can suddenly stop working...

Chorus said...

spam spam spam spam

file said...

you'll never take me alive AAARGH!

Zeph said...

Levremance, you're quite right about GU owning the comments, one tends to forget that, but of course it's how they cover themselves if they see anything there they want to follow up or just re-use.

I really got into GU during the Ashes and it was hugely exciting to be trading comments with people on the other side of the world. I was grateful for the opportunity and happy to play by their rules. Now, I take trans-global conversation for granted! And as my blogging self has grown up a bit, I'm increasingly uneasy with the pro/amateur mix on sites like GU - especially in sport where some of the bloggers are genuinely knowledgeable. I guess when you feel like that it's time to move on. Though GU did bring us all together....

As for Google, well, we need to keep an eye on Lord Ebren. they've probably already taken over some of his brain cells and it's only matter of time.

Ebren said...

Guys and gals - I think we may have lost file. If it isn't the Thai government it's global mega-corps.

Oh, and on copyright, just because you sign something saying "you have surrended copywrite" doesn't make it true.

I lawyer mate of mine likes to go through the credit card and other contracts laughing to himself at the clauses muttering "unenforceable".

Zeph said...

Oh... While I was writing that serious-minded little discourse, someone seems to have scrobbled File... there's a trail of vowels on the floor... File? are you there?

fl said...

vwl mbrg

zeph said...

Ah, there you are, have a glass of off-topic, you'll soon feel better.

nesta said...

Hear Hear Eb.

Ticking a box means nothing lawfully. You are given no opportunity to negotiate. It's a yes or f'ack off. That is not a lawful contract. It's just a way for the site owners to control the information. A key to get in if you like. Like dress rules at a nightclub.

google said...

What's that you say file, you'd like to buy a vowel?

levremance said...

I've never read the 'terms of use' webguff ever. I could have sold my soul for a peppercorn for all I know. The word 'unconscionable' comes to mind.

It's a backhanded compliment Nesta, that they used your words, I guess its the sneakiness that riles. If I ever catch them using 'Good old levremance forever' there'll be trouble too.

nesta said...

It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery. I understand that.

You'd know that too, Lev. Port flattered the old 'Pies many moons ago when they changed their jumper (maroon and blue wasn't it?) to look like Collingwoods.

I don't uaually agree with Eddie but on this issue I'm with him. You have to fight to protect what is yours. Otherwise some thievin' bastard will claim it as their own.

I've written above what plagiarism is and where I think the line is. I'm not comfortable with professional writers mining this site for patterns of words. Ideas sure. But they still should pay tribute.

Cheer Cheer the pseuds they are right
Honour their name by day or by night
Hold that noble banner high
Shake down the thunder from the sky
Whether the odds be great or be small
Nesta'll go in and win overall
All the loyal pseuds go marching
Onward to VICTORY

levremance said...

Just between me and you nesta, Collingwood got the colours from the South Australian inter-colonial team and the Magpie from SA's coat of arms. Still possession is 9/10ths of the law and we used it first (as a club at least).

Nice song, but last night I thought I heard:

See the Bloggers fly up, up!
To win the pseudonyms flag.
Our bloggers who play this brand new game,
Are always striving for glory and fame!
See the Bloggers fly up, up,
The other blogs they don't fear,
They all try their best,
But they can't get near,
As the Bloggers fly up!

nesta said...

You probably did hear that Lev. And thanks for the history. The sound hasn't worked om my TV since the last weekend of last September when I threw a stubby and then the coffee table at it!!

file said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
google accounts said...



address: jungles of Thailand

104 characters @ .10 = $10.40

Over 100 character limit =$5.00

Sub-Total = $15.40

Deletion Tax = 7.25

Total = $22.65

Payable by the 30 June or ELSE!!!

Thailand Custom and Excise said...

Dear Google,

can we refer you to the precedence of actual location over cyber location and inform you of our intent to challenge your right to tear the client from limb to limb before we have exercised above precedential right to peel him first

Love and kisses

Siam C&E

mr tang said...

I'll be extracting my quart of bile first if you don't mind

Sir Derek Tannic-Stanza said...

...and if I get my hands on the little shi'ite, there will be steak on the menu tonight, I can tell you!

file said...

it's a good job file's a pseud eh?

oh, gotta go, someones at the door...

google legal said...

Dear Mr Siam

We intend to challenge your right to rendition our client. Enclosed is the paperwork stating clearly and lawfully that as a US Corporation our global intellectual rights clearly outweigh your national laws.

While we understand your willingness to catch and punish the rebel, 'file' , US law outstrips any other law on the planet. There are thousands of previous cases which show precedence on this matter.

Any other correspondence on this issue should addressed to:
Major General Scabbard
Guantanomo Bay
US Cuba

Thank you for your co-operation.

poepless font of minge said...

Daer Scabby Mr.,

General we take fiya na, go undergound na, tunnew to Nam, via Low, Fuk Yu is my commander, you deal with fuk, $100 million ransom or fiya fuked, ok?

google pentagon bunker said...

Dear Mr Tang

We will pay a bounty for the safe return of Mr file to the North American continent, with or without bile.

A bonus will be paid for the scalp of Mr Fuk Yu a known kidnapper, extortionist and terrorist.

Please forward a list of necessary expenses to,

We would appreciate your assistance on this matter and will reward you handsomely with the Presidency of Thailand, the city of Basra or a green card. Take your pick.

Yours Mr I.M.Cuthroat

mr tang said...

Dear IM

I remember you from the old days huh? In Damascas before the fall, you had a toupee called Vincent and I was a hostess known as Fatima, yes?

I've still got the pics, great to hear from you

look, I've sent on the invoice (coming in a hair under the $7 trillion budget) and we'll get this limey trussed for you

but the Peoples Front of Mingle are a bloodthirsty lot, we may need reinforcements, napalm, Marlon Brando etc. like last time

see you soon

mr tang

alpoles frond of mengla said...

I tell yu we serius na! yo no fuk us cos fuk yu stay with as, fuk u say fik yo to u to, HAH! we cut fingle na, you no pay we cut fingle flay an fly HAH! plice go urp, now $7 an disernellyand, uo got 10 murnites or fiya rowses fingles

I.M.Cuthroat said...

Mr Tang

Thankyou for the prompt response. Vincent is still with me but Fatima... she's not a wise accessory in these profitable days of crusade.

Anything you need Mr Tang will be provided. We'll even supply some of our new kit (with Google logo) like cluster bombs, bunker busters and gay marines (specially trained for SE Asian duties as ladyboy assassins) You ask and we will deliver.

The Fontless People of Mingle must be brought to their knees to further our mission. To bring fonts and justice to all mankind.

Our creative intelligence team has evidence that shows that this mysterious File is the leader of a group that challenges our control of fonts world-wide.

He must be stopped at any price.

Glad to have you on board.

secret agent google said...

Fuk Yu

You shouldn't be reading this as all good font worshipping people know we don't deal with terrorists. We give them assylum in places like western Pakistan and southern Tasmania instead.

Hand File over to us - a finger at a time acceptable - and we will guaranteee your safe passage.

This message will self-explode in 10 seconds. tick. tick.Tick.

Ebren said...

Oi! Google!

You owe me money. In fact, you owe all of us money.

Pay up, or I'm moving me and mine to Yahoo!

IMCuthroat said...

mr Tang

Your mention of your days undercover as Fatima, heady on our diet of off-topic and braised tapir and camel-head soup has brought back so many wet memories.

I have received a creative intelligence report that an operative named Ebren who has a fondness for the titles 'Lord' and 'Prince' may be in league with that minge of the fontless File. He can be found curiously at a place known as the Corner.

Ask your sources ,,I mean Mr Tang and see what you can dig up.

Yours in Damascas

sloopes rot for glamsin said...


fingle in post, no stamp hahahahahaha..haa!
impelialist crappilalists buldsurking faglistinikas

where disnellyallyand, oh nad $7 in changena?

wells fargo said...

evenin' all,

got a delivery here for an M Rebren, says it's an organic double bass, but it looks more like a coffin from Laos to me


mimi said...

Seems there's a man in the jungle, with a bandana, running around shouting "I'm a little man - he's the big man" as he points a finger in File's general direction.
No flowers yet, Doc, but thanks for the thought!

guitougoal said...

More than a t-shirt, someone needs a straight jacket-
could we have this guy turning your cricket thread into a crooked thread , arrested?- Should we call Scottland Yard or the FBI?-or just do nothing and laugh like it's funy?
file couldn't be a suspect he was with me in Nesta's garage printing tee-shirts all day long.

Zeph said...

Guitou, I think our File may possibly have an evil twin. Someone answering his description has certainly been bringing the crazies in here...

Perhaps we need the Tavern opened up again folks? Any volunteers?

marcela said...

watching a bob marley documentary as we speak and they smoke some sh*t in a pipe the size of a bucket i tell ya...

the pakalolo tavern beckons.

on a more serious note, zeph, glad to read your piece here. it's not a bad home for it. it, and parts of the thread, reminded me a long forgotten summer watching viv richards play in oxford. although it was in the ayteees - and after several hours sitting around partaking of the general good vibe i did dare ask some of the present company "how long is this match going on for?"

it was when they said "five days" that i realized it wasn't football :)

very interesting, also, the ownership of our thoughts and copyright theme.

my own instinct is to quote bloggers, and credit them as source, or at the very least link to the original post. however, it is the case that by posting comment on the guardian one grants them rights, and it is also true that 'unenforceable' is one of the big issues of this 'new' web-world we seem to be constructing.

but 'idea' theft is as old as ideas - nesta, very interesting what you say about scientific writing. have you ever come accross a novel called Cantor's Dilemma? it is written by carl Djerassi, a scientist acknowledged for his synthesis of the first oral contraceptive - also known as the pill :) - who later turned his talents to fiction and drama. Cantor's Dilemma is a brilliant exploration of the issues of 'ownership' of scientific ideas.

over the years, i have often felt others have used my words, thoughts, ideas without due credit. the bitter taste this leaves is unpalatable. but i also think, overall, that sharing is better than guarding; that cooperation is better than competition.

"it's amazing how much can be accomplished if we do not care who gets the credit" said.... ?

DoctorShoot said...

message just in
(sorry I meant justin)...

apologies for plagiaarised bits off GU.. can't help myself...:

message titled:
'yes pls ill have one of thse straightjackers':

Shark bait day
shark bait nam
shark bit them man
them netslipping undervowels and now

altered vista seem
sharks got them screen
altered vision filed under water
fingered behind the bamboo curtain

shark got them all words
and crazy person got posting
and screen gorne wobbly
shark been at the taproom

shark conspiracy day
feeding on them littlies
at the bottom of the pond
shark got us all

Zephirine said...

Doc, sometimes I worry about some of you guys....

Marcela, thanks for the kind words. I agree with your feelings about co-operation and sharing - though co-operation and sharing are done between equals, with the agreement of both parties!

Still, we can't all be constantly twitching about somebody stealing our stuff, or life on here would become very neurotic and strange.

Erm... though it's pretty strange already...

guitougoal said...

This is coming out of a simple observation:
writers like to drink some don't mind pakaloloting either. Truman Capote wrote:
"In this profession it's a long walk between drinks"
In fact that slogan should be printed on your t-shirt-
Therefore re-opening the Tavern it's not a bad idea if only you leave Doctorshoot and Nesta out of it, it doesn't take too much imagination to figure them , puking, pissing and fighting, embarassing the hell of our respectable ladies.Not to mention what they would do to the orangutan.

zeph said...

Good shark poem though.

zeph said...

Omigod, the orangutan's been there all this time! God know what state the place is in by now.

Guitou, you know the orders from Prince Ebren: no one is banned :)

Well, we can't open a new tavern without his Lordship's help but the Pakalolo is there if you want to go back two weeks....

mimi said...

Zeph and I were, i think charged with minding the Tavern, and we've failed. But then there's been so much going on.
Marcela: i think we just had the same Marley doc on - One Love stands out always as such a lovely song.

zeph said...

Neither Mimi nor I had time to design, decorate and fit out a new bar because - well, we didn't.

But I've just gone and opened up the Pakalolo if anybody wants to amble over there.

DoctorShoot said...

tar... that's the nicest thing anyone has said about my aging process for some time....

I promise to sit quietly and drink off topic... btw are we still allowed to smoke in the tv room?...

guitougoal said...

-the t.v room yes if you don't care sitting close to zeph's orangutan...we keep him there, all he is doing is watching t.v pornos and cartoons...don't forget to lock the door, he smashed the bar into pieces once already -

bluedaddy said...

Lovely piece of writing Zeph.

Did you consider 'affably lethal' too?

One of the notable things about cricket is the long walk to the wicket of the new batsman. King Viv and his mate Beefy were two of the great 'enterers' - Viv was indeed regal, Both was more agricultural, loosening up the shoulders for a few biffs.

Then there is the run in of the bowler, each a unique signature. Who hasn't done a Bob Willis, arm flailing like a demented bag lady at a greedy pigeon, or a Hadlee skip, or, my favourite as a kid, the ten-to-two feet of Derek Underwood, the kindly verger with the gentle tosses, that somehow skittled you out all the same?

nesta, thought you waded in a little heavily on mimi. you are absolutely entitled to be adamant re sources being respected and credited, but it does seem as if rules are being re-written on t'internet, and until some are established, I think it's not unreasonable for mimi to use a phrase like 'up for grabs'.
In the meantime the high ground has a better view than the bottom of the pond.

Zeph said...

Thanks BD. Yes, affably lethal too, certainly! There was a good interview with the King on GU this weekend.

Lee said...

very late to this, so my apologies.

This is a brilliant piece of writing Zeph, really top notch. It is a sign of genuine talent when you can tell an oft-told story in an refreshing, engaging and entertaining way.

And "lethally affable" is a brilliant description of IVA Richards

byebyebadman said...

Harry Truman I do believe said it is amazing what we can accomplish etc. He did also do other less noble things.

Once you have transformed your ideas into words they are your copyright, whether they are on a blogging site or anywhere else. A couple of landmark cases are on the horizon that may change the landscape, but right here right now the law as it always was applies to anything published on the internet.

Zeph said...

Thanks Lee!

offsideintahiti said...

Later than late here, so I won't add anything meaningful (as if I could, about cricket and after the way that thread has spiralled), but anyway, well done, Zeph. Another article about cricket that not only holds my attention but even keeps me away from my glass of apéritif. Just how do you do it?

Zeph said...


Thank you. I've actually distracted you from your aperitif, praise indeed!

crikfan said...

good one, zeph.

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