Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Sunny weekend, not much to do, so I went out shopping on Sunday and bought thirty-odd pounds of books. Finished the first one, and here's what I have to say:
Tour De Force, by Mr Coyle.
This is pretty good stuff actually; although I like It's Not About The Bike, it's maybe a bit dry sometimes. Well, that's probably the wrong adjective; both these books make it clear that dear old Lance is not the Nicest Man Ever To Have Lived, but there's no real sense from the latter of the innate silliness of the Tour.
Coyle, on the other hand, does a good job of relating some of the barminess back to those of us who are not involved, from superstitions about leg shaving/chocolate mousse eating/lift button pressing, through to the priceless image of the Phonak team bus, adorned with an antiquated champ brandishing a Swiss hearing aid (have a picture in my mind's eye of a gleaming 21st century ear trumpet), and to the Belgian huff-puffery, which I'm going to employ in my own office as soon as I'm physically capable.
Things tail off a bit near the end; the trouble is that we're reading now something that was being written whilst Armstrong was working his way to his fifth, so in the knowledge of the next year's triumphs there's no dramatic twist. But then there doesn't need to be, and there's plenty much that I hadn't known about elsewhere, both with Postal and the other teams, to keep the interest up to the end. Nice set of notes summarising the world of cycling for those outside of the peloton too, and lots of footnotes. I'm a sucker for that, having read lots of Terry Pratchett in my youth.
Next on the list - We Need To Talk About Kevin. Oh, and Chatter and The Undercover Economist, which has so far been like an inflated version of Tim Harford's column in the FT. Oh, but then that's what it is, right? Waiting for a display of brilliance to convince me it was worth getting in hardback, but it's running out of time. Given how cross Freakonomics got me (and no, not because I was offended by the abortion=reduction in crime argument or anything like that - it was the cumulative look-at-me-mummy-I'm-so-awfully-clever tone that got my back up) maybe I shouldn't be too hopeful.


Post a Comment