The History of Sport in 100ish Objects

Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit

The History of Sport in 100ish Objects
The Blurb

The Greatest Collection of Sporting Artefacts ever Assembled (in Orkney)

This exhibition catalogue is the companion volume to the acclaimed display 'The History of Sport in 100-ish Objects' hosted by the National Museum of the History of Sport, Orkney and featured on Hospital Radio Stromness.

A fascinating range of documents and artefacts, from the exquisite leisurewear found in the tomb of King Tutenkhamen to the horseracing tips of Nostradamus and the startling pop art canvases of the temperamental Scottish painter Andrew Murray, make this exhaustive work of scholarship an essential addition to any serious sporting historian’s library.

The Reviews
I can personally vouch that everything in this book is completely true.
Lance Armstrong
A soaring triumph, the most acute and compendious historical achievement since Gibbon’s 'The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'
Wayne Rooney
Top effort, the lads have given 110%.
AJP Taylor
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The Dwain Chamberpot

7. Calyxurea

Pottery, urine. Precise date unknown.
Of all the tragedies and disillusionments begat by drug-cheating in sport, none has been more dispiriting than the revelations engendered by the 1874 discovery of this amphora. Found in Crete by olive thieves who handed it anonymously to the Knossos Adult Education Centre and Tzatziki Bar, it was a vessel for collecting and testing urine from athletes in the ancient world. Around its edges are the names of heroes under suspicion, the results of their samples and any subsequent bans from competition. Much of this was decoded in the 1890s by the English classicist and keen amateur urologist, Professor Dwain, who gives the amphora its name, the Dwain Chamberpot.

Professor Dwain contended that the most famous all-round athletic feat of them all was drug-assisted. According to the Professor's interpretation of records on the Dwain Chamberpot, Heracles accomplished his Twelve Labours while using performance-enhancing substances. After slaying the Nemean Lion, Heracles avoided a random sample, and missed a subsequent test after cleaning out the Augean Stables in a time regarded as a suspicious improvement on previous efforts. By the time he actually failed a test retrieving the Belt of Hippolyta, a full-blown whispering campaign had started. Only by bullying his critics and threatening direct legal action by his father Zeus was Heracles able to keep competing, and he was eventually forced to hand back the apples of the Hesperides.

Professor Dwain claims that the scandal was hushed up, although his account should be taken with some caution given that he spent the second half of his life locked in an attic trying to distil urine from a bottle of olive oil he believed had belonged to Julius Caesar. He failed.

Toff Jam

33.3. The First FA Cup Recording

Gramophone disc. Royal Berkshire, 1882.
The 1882 FA Cup Final, contested by Old Etonians and Blackburn Rovers, was an eagerly anticipated affair, although police were concerned about crowd trouble involving Old Etonian Ultras, the famous public school having been plagued by a hooligan element among its support for some years. Defeat in the previous year’s FA Cup Final at the hands of Old Carthusians had seen packs of drunken Old Etonians supporters roaming the streets around the Kennington Oval, committing random acts of bad behaviour including looting, littering and leaving the bottom buttons of their waistcoats done up.

Into this febrile atmosphere, the players of Old Etonians released the first FA Cup Final song. It was a grossly provocative composition, with lyrics penned by wing-half Binky ‘Blinky’ Binkley-Binkley, third Earl of Rottingdean, calculated to inflame and insult not just the Blackburn Rovers XI but polite society as a whole.

Verses such as: ‘You’ll never make it to the railway station/Because we have engaged the services of all the Hansom Cabs in the vicinity’; ‘My old man said be a Blackburn fan/I said steady on pater we no longer own any factories in that region of Great Britain’ and ‘Does your husband and 43 children know you are here?’ were deemed so offensive that the record was banned.


91. Banksy self-portrait

Hand-cut stencil and spray paint on brick. Leicester, 2007.
The 2007 appearance of this mural definitively settled one of the most speculated-upon questions in modern art: the identity of Banksy.

Painted on the wall of a gentleman’s outfitters in Leicester, this vibrant, challenging work depicts the artist performing his most storied save, the incredible one-handed flick to deny Pele’s header at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. The pineapple is thought to be a satirical representation of the Iraq War, or perhaps a comment on Peter Shilton.

Having jealously guarded his anonymity for so long, it was a surprise to many when Banksy chose to apparently ‘out’ himself as the former England goalkeeper. However, when viewed in the light of this picture, the contention that they are one and the same is unanswerable.

The mural appeared in August 2007, 40 years to the day after the great goalkeeper was sold by Leicester City to Stoke City. A local newspaper interview with Banks revealed that he had returned to the East Midlands city in 2007 to give an after-dinner speech to the Worshipful Company of Pet Shop Owners (Leicester), putting him in the area at the time the mural appeared. As a much-loved local celebrity, he would have had easy access to aerosol paints at either B&Q or Wickes branches nearby, possibly even at a discount. Perhaps most telling of all, the World Cup winner was often pictured wearing gloves, probably to keep tell-tale paint off his hands.

The artist known as Banksy has concerned himself with themes of urban alienation, unfeeling capitalism, surveillance society and changes to the back-pass rule. It now appears that he was active for a far longer period than first supposed, probably from around the time of England’s return from Mexico 1970. That Banksy chose not to produce any of his distinctive artwork until the turn of the millennium is testament to the professionalism and amount of preparation that goes into making his trademark stencils.