Welcome to the first ever Sport Is A TV Show liveblog! Of course, we won't be doing anything so square as liveblogging an actual sporting event. The very idea of such a crass ploy makes us want to delete this post out of self-spite merely for thinking it. No, we have, after a period of intense negotiation as a result of which few were even hospitalised, managed to secure the exclusive rights to liveblog Elliott Futfanatico's exciting livetweeting of his reading of the final chapters of the book Soccernomics: Why England Lose, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey and Even India are Destined to Become the New Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski!
If you made it through that last sentence: welcome.
So, yeah, basically. We have not had the pleasure or otherwise of reading — as it is less snappily yet somehow more snappily titled over here — Why England Lose and Other Curious Phenomena Explained. We have read Kuper's previous work, the seminal Football Against the Enemy and the less-seminal-but-still-very-good Ajax, The Dutch, The War, but we're in the dark as to his and Mr. Szymanski's latest. Perhaps you're in the same boat. What better way to experience it than through a text commentary on someone else's text commentary on reading a portion of the book? Yeah, that shut you up.
So many unanswered questions! Will it be any good? Will I remember to type Elliott's name with the requisite number of ls and ts? Will we manage to keep using the editorial first person plural? (No.) Will we be interrupted inconveniently at some point during proceedings? (Almost certainly.) Will our chances of accidentally deleting this entire website increase each time we update the page? Just how many typos and spelling errors can one person make?
Join us, refreshing the page periodically. Get in touch in comments, via the email address on the right-hand side of the page or via Twitter. Your chances of being mentioned and thus becoming the envy of yourself are far, far greater than you think.
1829 GMT: Already some subtle Eurobashing and use of the word "lies" from our americano friend. Dear me.
1832: Yep, GMT. None of your deviant Texan time here.
1833: If this was the BBC, I'd be calling you all "mate", being all common and giving you "Fredo's Predos". This is not the BBC.
1834: Elliott (two ls, two ts) narrows it down to wanton Anglo-Saxonism.
1837: My my, it's a fiery start to this encounter! "'"Fans behave more like consumers than addicts.' Umm, I beg to disagree. You need to meet more interesting fans Mr. Kuper", types Elliott.
1838: Have to say, as someone who usually writes at a strict twenty-WPD pace, this is very disconcerting. I think I've got vertigo or something.
1840: See how quickly I can turn the subject round to me? I should be in Hollywood.
1842: I can see this ending in broken bones and scratched corneas: "Whoa, the Scots are more enthusiastic watches of soccer than English? I hope Mr. Kuper has a secluded home on a Patagonian estate". If I'd ever stolen an office plant and it was sitting on my desk, it would have withered slightly at this point.
1844: True story: I scratched someone's cornea when I was a kid. Accidentally, like, but I feel it scarred my psyche forever.
1845: I mean, look at me! Not only do I have a sports blog, I've liveblogging a livetweet of someone reading something! You wouldn't understand. You weren't there, man.
1847: Meanwhile, Elliott counters some criticism of Iceland. Right on. I've been in love with Iceland ever since Jeremy Clarkson drove a buggy over its mountains sometime in the '90s.
1848: First Fall reference of the evening:
1851: Elliott in comments says: "Fredo - this is an unmitigated disaster of Shaniah Twain proportions. I shall march on, but understand if you jump ship." I don't get it. Was the Shaniah Twain some kind of ship or something?
1855: I don't think "Jeremy Clarkson driving a buggy over Iceland's mountains" is a euphemism, but always consult your euphemologist first.
1900: Elliott: "Whoa, Kuper just said "the successful Germans" and the "not so successful English." This Yank just steps on toes like a footlose outcast" Which reminds us, of course, of last week's QI, where the guests simply couldn't believe that German football fans don't care about England very much, no doubt due in part to the fact that they have won lots of stuff since 1966, whereas England have been to a couple of semi-finals.
1901: And Ireland have...
1902: ...not lost to England since 1984.
1903: Of course, Ireland haven't actually played England in a game that last the full ninety since 1991....
1905: "Simple prose for highschool drop outs" -- Kuper's previous form counting for little, and such footballing terminology.
1906: Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Elliott starts to praise the third-place playoff. That could be the turning point of this one, you feel, John.
1908: Elliott responds to his faux pas with a spirited attack on Kuper: "I suppose if Patrick Vieira's form can fade so poorly in 10 years, then a writer's can as well?" Hopefully it'll help in settle and get back into this game.
1911: By drawing attention to the fact that I am aware of my misspellings and typos, I aim to demonstrate my unwillingness to be considered lacking in intelligence.
1913: "Brazil is everybody's 'second team'", says Kuper. Ugh.
1915: Right then. Leeds get their reward for an enterprising display but Spurs probably should have made the game safe before the late penalty drama. I'm not sure either side really wanted a replay either, but I doubt Leeds will be complaining too much.
1916: Damn. What happened there?
1918: Wait, you don't stop in the middle of the game to hug your opponent and tell them how great they are. "The stats on "Public Viewing" in Germany are ridiculously awesome, hats off to Kuper." What is that?
1920: Billy from Prestatyn, Wales emails: "Is it just me or is it really cute how these Americans get so worked up over 'sawker'?" Yes it is, Billy. Yes it is.
1925: Elliott: "langlauf ... I am too afraid to google that word. So let's just all let our imaginations run wild" Let's not...
1927: Which is quite perverted, when you think of it.
1928: Dinner time. Back soon!
1949: "Hurry back!" emails Roger in Melbourne, Australia. Aw.
1950: Did you know there was a liverayhudson Twitter page?
1951: Oh yeah, the liveblog.
1952: Whoops -- hi, Terry. Missed you there.
1953: Good grief -- this livetweet liveblog has been livetumbl'd. I think I going insane.
1954: Wait for it...
1955: ...wait for it...
1956: ...wait for it...
1957: ...there it is. I've flipped.
2000: Hi! Welcome to Sport Is A TV Show, as I, Fredorrarci embark on an exclusive liveblogging of my reading Anna Karenina! Don't worry, I won't be blogging the whole thing; I've already read the first fifty pages. That leaves a mere eight hundred to report on, which is really nothing, when you set it against the entire body of literature produced by mankind.
2006: As it stands, Levin is about to spend the evening at the Scherbatskys', where he may or may not propose to Kitty. (Stiva has warned him to wait until the morning.) The Princess, Kitty's mother, has grave misgivings about her daughter marrying Levin; she would rather she got hitched to Vronsky, who seems like your stereotypical eligible bachelor sort at the moment, though who knows what...
2007: Hello? Hello?