It's a man's, man's, man's, man's world
BOOK OF THE WEEK; More than a Game: GQ on Sport (Orion, pounds 18.99)
This collection of pieces from GQ presents a somewhat skewed version of the world of sport. The first piece, a blood-spattered item about the no-holds-barred Ultimate Fighting Championship, sets the tone. Not that the book is overly violent, it is just that it is populated almost entirely by Real Men.
It's so testosterone-packed, it's tempting to say that it's a load of bollocks. That would not be fair, but if it was dope-tested, it would receive a lengthy ban. The sporting world according to GQ is mostly fists and fast cars, lags and hoolies, rugby thugs and 'roid rage enforcers (with a left-field contingent of drinkers and smokers, bad boys and mavericks). Men who pick themselves up when life smashes them in the face. GQ sport is for hard cases, boys with bottle. In Dave Hill's piece about Graeme Souness, the then Rangers manager pays a supreme compliment to an old adversary, Terry Yorath: "He's a man."
This doesn't leave much room for the other 51 per cent of the human race. It shouldn't be surprising - it is a men's magazine, after all - but the typical woman in this book is 'er indoors. Of 36 articles ranging over eight years, three are by women, while a measly two have female subjects - Karren Brady, and the all-conquering Doncaster Belles.
There's a slightly chaotic, lucky-dip structure to it - the section headings, "Sporting Life", "Unsung Heros" and "Gentlemen and Players", are virtually meaningless. It would surely have been better in chronological order, giving some sort of unifying thread, a feeling of the last few years unfolding. There is a sense of history to some of the articles - whatever happened to the promising young golfer, Liam White? Or even Lennox Lewis? There is a certain pathos to the piece about Kevin Keegan's first full season as manager at Newcastle, while the account of Ayrton Senna's first day with the Williams team in 1994 is acutely poignant. "If I ever happen to have an accident that eventually costs me my life," he says, "I hope it is in one go... It would ruin my life if I had to live partially."
There is lots of good writing under some classy bylines - Frank Keating, Julie Welch, Simon Barnes, Matthew Engel, for example. Personal favourites are Alex Kershaw's moving piece on Max Schmeling and Andrea Waind's "Village People", about the rural eccentrics of Ashby Carington Cricket Club. Whatever the politics, the book speeds by like a well-tuned Ferrari, a testament to machismo. If you're a man, GQ-world is a good place to be
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Luke Shaw arrives a week early for Manchester United pre-season training after cutting short post-World Cup holiday
World Cup 2014: The 50 best players of the World Cup
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Brazil vs Netherlands World Cup 2014: A history of the third-place play-offs
Brazil vs Netherlands World Cup 2014: Arrogant Brazilian team may never be forgiven by the fans
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: PHP Web Develo...