Thursday, March 02, 2006

What a web we weave

OK, so it goes like this.

In Nagpur, India, a Test match enters its second day, with England fighting back against a super-talented Indian team.

In Dege, on the Sichuan-Tibet border, I, still only about 78% after a double dose of flu and Dege-belly, sit in Dege's plushest wangba, with all the best intentions of getting this supposedly cycling-related blog up-to-date.

In London, a Guardian sportswriter provides over-by-over commentary on the match in India - or, more precisely, on what Sky TV leads him to believe is the match in India.

In a lonely office tower in Shanghai, a staffer at Asia and Away magazine hallucinates at his screen on a too-long Thursday afternoon. His attention wanders and is drawn to the Guardian's over-by-over cricket commentary...

The same online entertainment reaches me in Dege, and I am moved to submit some comments to the commentator, several of which he neatly slots in to his commentary.

Back in Shanghai, the Asia and Away guy spots my name in among the bowlers and batsmen and fielders...

...and sends me an email, telling me, as an Asia and Away freelancer, to stop prattin' about and go and write an article, or failing that at least practise riding my bike.

So I write a blog post about it.

There are, I would estimate, about 30 people in the world. 22 cricketers, 11 on each team; 2 umpires; a commentator on Sky TV; some kind of technical bloke to broadcast it to the Guardian guy in London; the Asia and Away dude; and me. And, if you're reading this, you.

That is plenty.


  1. I think you (mis)underestimate the reach of the Guardian OBO coverage. I saw your messages, so you need to add a couple more people to your list (especially if the Peter Morley who also got quoted was the one we were at school with). Like JDMellor, however, I thought a link to the website would have been a good thing, and I plan to email them repeatedly tomorrow until they provide a link.

    Bye for now.

  2. How on earth did you manage to give some comments to commentator?

    How do you just casually drop into these positions? Like - "Oh, I was just approached by this guy, and I said 'OK, I'll write an article and you pay me'," and "well, I was just at the cricket match and suddenly found myself helping the commentator" - like it's just that easy?

    Is it that easy? And tell me, how do you get a wash out there? Are they not repelled by your Cyclists' Pong?

    Oh and, yeah, what are the odds that your mate from Asia and Away should stumble across your shenanigans thus? - Unlucky you, eh?

    Ah well. May the wind always be at your back, may the road rise to greet you, may you never catch avian flu and may you always have enough spare cash for wangbas.

    Indeed. Good point! Asia and Away give you money and you need money for wangbas!

  3. As the aforementioned 'dude' from Asia and Away, I think I have a right to know just what the hell 'wangbas' are?.....oh, hang on...I'm catching on...Wangbas = net bars? Riiiiiight. Got it...For some reason, the word 'wangba' had me conjuring images of the steaming bowls of noodles and the cheery common tables of the Wagamama restuarant in Soho, London. Accordingly, I was getting double agitated that, not only is Edward Genochio not writing us stories, and not riding his bike, he's also bloody well dining out in style at that delicious sounding 'wangbas' restaurant in Dege, living the Life of Reilly etc. And now I realise that all you meant that you hope he has enough cash to send a few emails home. I propose a ban, and vicious punishment, on people who insist on writing a piece of prose in one language and then inserting a word from another language without so much as a warning. Reminds me of a Scottish man I once knew who would talk in the following manner: 'Ni hao, wo shi Matt and I come from Sugelan, a country just north of Yinggelan. Wo love Chinese food, and Zhege Dongbei restaurant is my absolute zui xihuan de'....and so on. He was a prat. So stop it.

  4. Hallo A&A Dude,

    You're Scottish acquaintance sounds very entertaining, I laughed out loud all the way through that masterful chunk of - what's the inverse of Chinglish? Englese?

    As for the word 'wangba', I think there is really no acceptable English substitute. 'Internet Cafe' conjures up a too-sophisticated image, far removed from the spittle-and-fagash, home-wired PCs, hourly powercuts, buggered-spacebar, Counterstrike-infested world that is the Chinese wangba.

    Well, jintian is keneng my last day here in Dege, mingtian wo get back on my zixingche and hit the lu.

  5. Where are all the pedants?

    They used to infest this place.

    In the Good Old Days, my illiterate "You're Scottish friend..." would have been shot down quicker than you can say “wangba".

    Particularly good braino with which to impress my dep-ed, shi bu shi?