Pride of place this week goes to Louis Oosthuizen. You could tell from his general demeanour what a nice, grounded individual he is from the way he strolled around St Andrews beating the pants off grumpy Tiger and his pals. If you are wondering what he did with all of his money, he went out and bought a tractor! Then he honoured a prior commitment to play in the Scandinavian Open rather than cry off on the grounds of being too important. McDowell who won the American Open last year is in the same league, he spent the month after his victory drinking Guinness out of the trophy. It’s brilliant to see a big bucket load of talent and humility being handed out to the good guys for a change.
Moving to a true sporting legend that I have long admired, Muttiah Muralitharan has sadly retired but not without achieving another milestone. 800 wickets is phenomenal especially that Murali overcame a disability to become one of the greatest bowlers (if not the best) who ever lived. Every era throws up sporting heroes and while it’s sad to see them retire it leaves the stage open for new heroes to emerge. Could it be the newly arrived Charlie Thomas Bellman who popped out last Wednesday measuring an impressive 50+cm. Rumour has it that ’arry Rednapp is already eyeing him for a place up front as target man alongside Defoe. Well done Mum and Dad (Sarah and Cam) and make sure young Charlie is fit and ready for the new season (if you are still wondering how to get coverage of the Premier League, click on this link and all will be revealed http://admcsport.com/en/ – it will be available on satellite, cable (Du and eVision) and online).
Sad breaking news, Hurricane Higgins died on Saturday (RIP) after a long battle against throat cancer which he blamed on smoking sponsors’ products (yes really, cigarette companies did used to sponsor sporting events). I was never into snooker but Hurricane was one of a kind and lit up a very dull sport. Click on the link to read one of the many obituaries – http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/snooker/8852020.stm
I hear lots of people moaning about the quality of advertising in the UAE/region and whenever I listen to the radio I find it hard not to agree with the moaners. The classic radio dialogue formula is sometimes funny but for all the wrong reasons. The American-accented Lebanese Mum with the English Dad and Indian kids is always good for a chuckle. Traffic jam reports for ads promoting a sale are another of my favourites. Brilliant advertising is observational and builds on shared experiences and popular culture. While this is a wonderfully integrated community there are still huge differences in our growing up experiences. Below is a classic example, I laughed, whereas my Arab and Indian friends were left looking bemused and a bit offended.
The ad was critiqued in Brand Republic and this perfectly demonstrates how even in England some people just don’t get it (although I suspect the comment was a joke): The message is one we are all familiar with, 2 obvious questions arise: 1) If the campaign is encouraging people to be conscientious and pick up their own litter, why would these same people have dropped it in the first place seemingly moment earlier? 2) Why is this campaign encouraging people to bend over in a way that can cause lower back injury? It’s common knowledge that one should bend from the knees and keep a straight back.
For all of you, in the UAE, looking to dodge the ads on commercial radio, World Service has moved to 90.30. It’s being broadcast out of Abu Dhabi so the signal is patchy but given the quality of the programming it’s worth persevering with.
Another subject that caught my eye this week is worries about a double dip recession. The commentators predicting a double dip obviously don’t have a clue what they are talking about, you need a recovery to have a second dip. There is no way out of this until the government stimulate the economy (starting to pay off debts is a good start) or the Chinese arrive on mass. My advice comes from re-watching the very excellent Rome series:
“Quidquid ages prudenter agas et respice finem” (whatever you do, do it with prudence, and consider the outcome).
The Chinese have certainly arrived in style on the wine investment market with 2009 En Primeur prices at world record levels. Apparently they top up a glass of £1,000 a bottle wine with a bit of lemonade! MMI has managed to snap up some top quality 2009 wines including the most sought after first growth – Lafite. Hurry, hurry, hurry if you want some (get in touch with me and I’ll point you in the right direction and be prepared to forget my be prudent advice).
At the other end of the scale Bud is tax-free at MMI this week and I made some great discoveries during my annual visit to Spinneys. Firstly, you can earn Air Miles there and secondly Del Monte has started producing fresh juice locally – AED 13 for 1lt of orange juice (bargain!).
Finally some wildlife stuff to uplift you, an amazing picture and link to more incredible scenes from nature: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2010/jul/21/wildlife-photography-scott-linstead
To end, it’s got to be the best 5 cricketers I’ve seen play:
- Muttiah Muralitharan
- Ian Botham
- Shane Warne
- Michael Holding
- Viv Richards
There is loads of controversy in my choices – I could have picked 100. Any objections please pitch in with a comment.