Jon Day

Jon Day teaches at King's College London.

It​ wasn’t immediately obvious, arriving at Alexandra Palace, that there was a sporting event taking place. The men (they were nearly all men) queuing up outside looked as if they might be there for a model railway convention, or an IT conference. It was a Sunday evening in January, and I had come to watch the evening session of the MrQ Masters snooker final, one third – along...

Matthew McNaught was, and to a certain extent still is, drawn to the homespun, anti-institutional community he found in the church. Immanuel, as he describes it, was fire and brimstone, but it was also ‘the sound of around a hundred people singing more or less in tune. It was baptisms in the River Itchen, picnics on the South Downs, praying in tongues in suburban living rooms.’

Diary: Hoardiculture

Jon Day, 8 September 2022

WhenPossessed, Rebecca Falkoff’s cultural history of hoarding, came through the letter box, I put it on my desk next to a pile of other books, a tangle of wires left out after an unsuccessful search for a phone charger, a small pocket microscope, a broken reading light, a carrier bag full of travel adapters, a sheaf of loose papers, a selection of penknives, a pair of speakers, the...

Grigory Rodchenkov’s first-hand knowledge of doping made him relatively unusual in the world of anti-doping – he often already possessed personal samples of some of the rarer drugs his lab wanted to detect, which were then used to calibrate their machinery. At first he worked directly for the state. To cover for positive tests, dirty samples would be made to disappear or left in such a way that they spoiled. Some were swapped with clean samples provided by coaches, friends or relatives of the athletes. So much doping went on that ‘in some training camps, finding clean urine was a problem ... The coaches were drinking gallons of water and emptying their bladders into their athlete’s sample bottles.’ To make the clean samples match the colour of the dirty ones, Rodchenkov and his colleagues added Nescafé granules. His grandest project – the one which eventually did for him – took place during the 2014 Sochi winter games, the first Olympics to be held on Russian soil since Moscow in 1980. Sochi was to be the ‘glittering jewel’ in Putin’s crown and Rodchenkov was under pressure to produce winners.


Occupy the Court

8 October 2020

Theo Bollerman and Clare Bucknell write that real tennis can hardly be described as ‘an extreme minority pursuit’ when it has ten thousand players (Letters, 5 November). This makes it about as popular as mountain unicycling, lawnmower racing and bicycle polo, and somewhat less popular than Vinkensport, the Flemish pastime of chaffinch song counting (which has around 13,000 regular participants)....

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