I read the news today

For nerds who enjoy reading news about the news, this was a depressing week. First Radio Sport was shut down in the most brutal fashion you can imagine, switching straight to Newstalk ZB at 1pm on Monday. Gone just like that - even radiosport.co.nz now just has one page letting you know they’re off-air (WTF?).

There was plenty written and said about no longer taking cricket commentary a couple of months back (seems like ages ago hey?). I can’t help thinking about a) all the young (and old!) journalists who work their arses off to produce world-class sport coverage, with top humour and insight and what they’ll do now, b) the community of fans and yes, talkback callers built up over many years and where they can safely rant about the Warriors and c) all the New Zealand sports, particularly those who struggle for coverage, for whom Radio Sport was a vital part of the infrastructure. It’s all a bit rubbish.

The Bauer closure hit hard. Many people are mourning the Listener’s weekly sport coverage from top writers like Joseph Romanos and Paul Lewis, who stepped out of the breathless week to week rounds to look at the big picture, and cover other sports than yer usual rugby, cricket, netball etc. North and South too, was a home for long-form sport journalism and profiles.

But I’ll really miss Metro. I was lucky enough to have parents that bought it through the 80s and 90s. It was a big, heavy magazine that looked amazing (loved the Bernadino ads), packed with short snappy bits (despite being a teenager in Hamilton, I was all over the art gallery opening and bar scene thanks to the society photos and Felicity Ferret) and fantastic features. I loved it when editor Warwick Roger would write, and still treasure his books The Other Side, a collection of his essays, and Old Heroes about the 1956 Springboks, one of the great NZ sport books. Track them down when the second hand shops open up again.

It made Auckland seem like a wonderland, and when I drove up the motorway for Real Groovy raids or gigs, I was always disappointed not to see Judith Baragwanath tottering down the pavement. The quality remained sky-high through the years, especially under Simon Wilson. Its current form, complete with snappy adaptation for the internet, has been vital. I really hope it pops up again soon, somehow.

Finally, a massive well done to Kieran McAnulty for the subtle cricket bat in his home-office-select-committee Zoom background, we see you mate. Nice one.

Thanks for reading - Richard

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The week's best NZ sport content

‘A million voices moaned about the Warriors - and then were silenced’. Radio Sport stopping in an instant was just the start of the shocking media closures this week. Dylan Cleaver on why we’ll miss it more than we think [NZ Herald]

Suzanne McFadden profiles Kereyn Smith, head of the NZ Olympic Committee and one of the most powerful voices in the turmoil [Locker Room]

It’s all retro these days - here’s Spinoff cricket nerds Calum Henderson and Simon Day on essential Blackcaps matches of the past, while Dylan Cleaver ranks every Blackcaps Test hundred since 2010 [Spinoff, NZ Herald]

A flashback in time - Jamie Bell on Nathan Astle’s 222 and his Dunedin flat [Sportsfreak]

None of our plans are plans any more - RNZ reporter Stephen Hewson was supposed to be representing NZ at the over 50’s cricket world cup in South Africa about now, but that’s no longer happening [RNZ]

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The little-seen-but-actually-genius Filthy, Rich and Catflap was what Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmonson (and Nigel Planner!) did between The Young Ones and Bottom. It’s all on YouTube if you fancy it.

Long read

From the archives - dedicated smoker, drinker and contrarian Christopher Hitchens visits a Los Angeles health farm [Vanity Fair, 2008]

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