A technician at the British Cricket Balls company tests balls in a wind tunnel, 1981. Photo: Getty
If you want to imagine England under Ukip, think back to cricket in the 1980s
By Ed Smith - 12 June 10:00

Back then when critics pointed out that England had been overtaken by hungrier and more progressive teams, a stock reply was ready: “But we’re English and we’ve always done it this way.”

Neigh bother: an Indian blacksmith changes a horse's shoe in Delhi, 2013. Photo: Getty
A day spent sole-searching affords me an unlikely victory
By Nicholas Lezard - 12 June 10:00

My motto, when it comes to buying shoes, is “as rarely as possible”. A shoe will have to be hanging off my foot and making flapping noises as I walk before I buy another one. 

Poland's Kamil Majchrzak serves against US player Noah Rubin at Wimbledon 2014. Photo: Getty
Ballet on Centre Court: how modern tennis fuses strength and grace
By Ed Smith - 12 June 10:00

Tennis has not become ugly. It has got more beautiful. Professionalisation did not ruin its balletic strand; it deepened it. The ultimate athletes turned out to be lighter, leaner and more mobile.

The 1982 Brazil World Cup side in action against Argentina. Photo: Getty
Why football loves beautiful losers
By Oliver Farry - 11 June 14:19

Sport’s love affair with the myth of thwarted victory.

Monster's ball: part of a float satirising Fifa for the Mainz Carnival in Germany, 3 March. Photo: Getty
Why Fifa is football’s dirtiest player
By Jon Holmes - 06 June 11:00

Last month’s rush to exonerate the Premier League’s CEO, Richard Scudamore, who had been accused of sexism, was just another example of the game’s eagerness to sweep dirty linen under the carpet.

FA chairman Greg Dyke poses with the executive's controversial report on the future of the England national team, which has angered Football League clubs. Photo: Getty Images
Football League clubs are in open revolt against the B team plans of the executives who represent them
By Martin Cloake - 06 June 10:53

The continued endorsement of Premier League B teams being given access to Football League competitions has led to an open rebellion by teams and their owners against the executives who are supposed to represent their interests.

Na-na-na, can't hear you: wife or husband does not always mean the wind beneath my wings. Photo: Getty
To cheer myself up, I think of other people’s dreadful marriages
By Nicholas Lezard - 05 June 12:25

When I encounter the words “my wife” or “my husband”, I get, in some dark moods, a choking sensation beneath the breastbone.

Claire Shipman and Katty Kay, authors of The Confidence Code. Photo: Stephen Voss/Redux/Eyevine
Talking about women’s lack of confidence may be counterproductive
By Alice Robb - 05 June 10:00

A new book by newscasters Katty Kay and Clare Shipman argues women’s timidity is holding them back at work – but does it perpetuate the idea that confidence is a masculine trait.

Far from Chelsea: diggers during the regeneration of Elephant & Castle in London. Photo: Getty
The bizarre secret of London’s buried diggers
By Ed Smith - 05 June 10:00

After excavating your mega-basement in Holland Park, it’s cheaper and easier to leave the JCB entombed down there with the pool, personal cinema and staff quarters. 

Only in designated areas: outdoor smokers in Melbourne, which may soon go completely smoke-free. Photo: Getty
Will Self: I don't decry the smoking ban but I do miss smoke
By Will Self - 30 May 12:12

Smoke draped a decent veil across interior vulgarities, while softening our loved ones’ hateful features. Designated smoking areas are an abomination. 

The original London diary: Samuel Pepys's journal. Photo: Getty
If only I had a diary, I’d be able to figure out what happened to the past seven years
By Nicholas Lezard - 30 May 12:02

Over the years, I have begun to see the attraction of going out less and less. I sit, like Mycroft Holmes in the Diogenes Club, daring anyone to talk to me.

Calling urbane, European managers such as André Villas-Boas "the gaffer" verges on surreal. Photo: Getty
Back to mine: why we still talk about footballers in the language of the pit
By Ed Smith - 29 May 10:00

They may earn millions and drive Maseratis but today’s footballers are still described using old working-class terminology. It’s the last link with the game’s roots. 

Literary luncheons: The Kitchen by Vanessa Bell, c. 1943
A feast of eccentric detail: Felicity Cloake on what the Bloomsbury set ate
By Felicity Cloake - 29 May 10:00

From Virginia Woolf's boeuf en daube to Bunny Garnett’s “orgy of squid”, the glorious new Bloomsbury Cookbook fleshes out the Group’s relationship with food.

Pile 'em high, sell 'em low: the chain's winning formula stems from knowing exactly what we need. Photo: Amit Lennon
Quids in: how Poundland conquered the British high street
By Sophie McBain - 29 May 10:00

In 1990 it launched as a single shop; this year it posted sales of almost a billion pounds. How did a budget store flogging cheap tat grow so huge?

A student revises.
Gove’s provincial syllabus is not the issue: English literature GCSE is slowly being phased out
By Philip Maughan - 29 May 9:30

Reforms set to take effect from September 2015 will see English literature become an optional subject, reserved for only the brightest students, which will not count to schools’ Ofstead rankings.

 

A shattered window at the crime scene in Isla Vista. Photo: Getty
Let's call the Isla Vista killings what they were: misogynist extremism
By Laurie Penny - 25 May 14:46

For some time now, misogynist extremism has been excused, as all acts of terrorism committed by white men are excused, as an aberration, as the work of random loons, not real men at all. Why are we denying the existence of a pattern?

Richard Scudamore addressing the press at The London Nautical School on October 23, 2013 in London. Photo: Getty Images
Scudamore's sexist emails reveal the Premier League to be an unaccountable institution
By Martin Cloake - 23 May 13:39

If asking why there is one rule for the person who runs the richest league in the world and can control access to its key figures and another for the chief executive of a fans’ organisation counts as grinding an axe, we’re in deep trouble.

Now is the time to see how the Slack Parenting approach has paid off. Photo: Getty
I never wept with pride when I held my newborns. But I’m thrilled they still want to see me
By Nicholas Lezard - 23 May 12:42

That my children actually want to see me, after years of my not even remotely bursting into tears of pride whenever I contemplated them, is one of the nicest surprises that this existence has granted to me.

A still from the Fosters "Good Call!" advert on YouTube.
The real problem men face today is not the rise of women
By Edward Smith - 22 May 15:37

Men worry about feminism, as if a culture of women's rights is about to stamp out male identity. But really, it's men who are their own worst enemies.

Perhaps we only really understand our parents once we're grown up, standing in their old, discarded shoes. Photo: Getty
As Mum and Dad’s tales of the Blitz taught me, being a parent is all about playing it down
By Tracey Thorn - 22 May 11:10

The role of parent, which seems so demanding while you’re playing it, requires mostly that you underact.

Oxford Union plaque. Photo: Flickr
Oxford Union speakers urged to withdraw after rape allegations against president
By Anoosh Chakelian - 20 May 11:50

The women’s officer of Oxford’s student union, OUSU, and another student have started a campaign for the Oxford Union president to resign from his post after he was accused of rape and attempted rape.

Please sign here, Madam: Coutts Bank on the Strand, 1970. Photo: Getty
The bank has two exits – the door I came in by, and the ground that will swallow me up in shame
By Nicholas Lezard - 16 May 11:52

What I thought was going to be an investigation into my expenses turns out to be nothing of the sort: instead, a charming young woman is trying to sell me life insurance.

Footballers on a Brazilian beach.
Golazo! by Andreas Campomar and Futebol Nation by David Goldblatt: the football myth behind Brazil's World Cup
By Jonathan Wilson - 15 May 16:00

The Brazilians have won five World Cups, more than anybody else. So why was there rioting last summer when teams arrived for a warm-up? Brazil's relationship with football has never been an easy romance.

Wayne Rooney. Photo: Getty
It’s hard to remember a time when Rooney hasn’t been injured
By Hunter Davies - 15 May 11:47

I hardly slept for weeks during the run-up to the last two World Cups, terrified he wouldn’t make it.

FA chairman Greg Dyke launches the latest report on grassroots football on 8 May at Wembley. Photo: Getty Images
The FA’s report proves that money and power are the fundamental problem with English football
By Martin Cloake - 09 May 15:57

The FA has ignored the concerns of fans and lower league clubs in favour of the interests of the wealthiest soccer interest – once again showing it’s mostly concerned about serving the already-powerful. 

I dream of Christine: Mme Lagarde at the IMF headquarters in Washington. Photo: Getty
“So much love for Christine Lagarde”: why girl crushes are a straight thing
By Eleanor Margolis - 08 May 17:00

Girl crushes are 75 per cent respect, 24.999 per cent idolatry and 0.001 per cent something nebulously sexual. It’s more about wanting to be someone than wanting to do them.

A newborn baby in an incubator. Photo: Getty Images
True reproductive justice is more than being allowed to become a mother at an older age
By Glosswitch - 30 April 16:23

Simply having the choice to have children later than before isn't a sign of greater freedom - it's simply a sign of greater privilege under the same old patriarchy.

Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge for the second leg of the quarter final against Paris Saint-Germain, 8 April. Photo: Getty
David Baddiel: I can’t win when even a bain-marie gag lands me in hot water on Twitter
By David Baddiel - 30 April 10:00

The novelist and comedian on anti-Semitism in football, a night out in Pocklington and plans for his 50th.

A group of German girls out walking, with musical accompaniment from mandolin and guitars, 1930s. Photo: Getty
For folk’s sake, I was supposed to be a mandolin virtuoso by now
By Eleanor Margolis - 30 April 10:00

When you approach 25, it suddenly hits you that you’re never going to be an astronaut. Or an architect. Or a folk sensation. 

Usual fare: queues at a pie and mash shop at Upton Park. Photo: Getty
The tasteful food van made me ponder – have football fans gone soft?
By Hunter Davies - 30 April 10:00

Once Wigan scored, though, it was a different story: the affable familes were suddenly full of hate and fury.

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