It’s goodbye to England – but hello to summer

Letter from the editor

I hesitate to mention the football because the grief is still too raw, but mention it I must. Despite England’s early departure from the competition, the fact that they must still play a final group game is important. The idea of playing might seem unpalatable but it allows an opportunity to give unused squad members a chance to say they were there (team spirit, tick), to show their fans that they’re not shirking their responsibility to them (gratitude, tick) and to play from the heart – if they can do as Switzerland did on Friday night, rather than listlessly jog about the park (pride, tick). For more on this, see the leading article (page 37). This is all providing, one office wag pointed out, Costa Rica rests its big names...

I wonder if it irks Roy’s boys that the England women’s squad is doing so brilliantly in its qualifiers for next year’s World Cup. Eight matches, eight wins and only one goal conceded. Hearty congratulations to them, and their match against Wales on 21 August will give us something to cheer on (for either side) when broadcasts from Brazil and Murray-watch are over.

Anyone who’s left lukewarm by the sport that’s dominating the TV and radio output should definitely read the suggestions in our Arts & Books section of series that have gone unnoticed or been scheduled at daft times. There are some gems worth seeking out on catch-up or via download sites – definitely enough to keep you going through the dog days of summer.

Yesterday’s solstice may have heralded that – as another office comedian quipped – the nights are now drawing in, but there are still plenty of arts festivals to look forward to. I’ve never been tempted by Glastonbury. (My money’s on the scatty delights of Womad, and the charming, tiny Beyond the Border storytelling festival in Wales.) Simmy Richman’s witty piece about Glasto hasn’t changed my mind. You can read it, and lots of other highly entertaining features about music, in a special issue of The New Review.

And there’s also, of course, some rather good weather on the cards. Happy Sunday!

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