Monday, August 27, 2012

Sparse

Hello. Been a while hasn't it? *checks when last post was* Almost a week. My goodness. There's no excuse for that really, is there? I haven't even done the usual thing of throwing in a couple of photo based memes to make it look like I'm still posting.

Thing is, that baby of mine, he's started taking up a bit more time recently. He got all vocal a while back. Likes to have a little sing song. I'm thinking I might enter him for next year's X Factor. He's already better than any of the shite that the North East managed to come up with over the weekend. Even the one at the end, with the wanky back story and over egged emo-tastic version of Tulisa's song. For goodness sake, if you're going to do a cover, why not cover something good? Anyway, I figure if I send Cam in it's a win-win situation: they either love him and put him through, or I get to storm on stage and batter Mel B with a microphone stand.

Aside from singing, he's also started doing this thing:

video

Yes, the days of leaving Cam unattended while we go to another room are over. He is mobile. It's not too desperate just yet; though he's very proficient at rolling from back to front he seems to have forgotten he can roll the other way, so the sequence tends to go:

1. Roll from back to front
2. Look pleased with self
3. Look around a bit
4. Get frustrated/bored with being on front
5. Cry until someone comes and places you back on your back
6. Repeat steps 1-5 ad infinitum

It is, of course, bloody amazing to watch him develop. Doing things each day that he couldn't do the day before. Truly magical. Way better than that hyped up arsehole David Blain. Sitting in a perspex box above the Thames David? Really? That's not magic, it's just shit. Let me know when you've learned to fly and I'll start paying attention.

Erm, yeah. Magical baby development stuff. It makes you proud. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That some of your genetic coding has managed to not only be in another real life human being, but that it is also somehow magically learning to do stuff. It truly is wonderful. Which is why, every night when I dream feed the little guy I find myself looking into his peaceful, sleeping face and holding back tears.

Occasionally though, he throws a bit of a curve ball. All the books tell you about babies learning to coo, laugh, gurgle, roll over, sit up, grip things. So far, none of them have told me about Cam's latest trick: blowing raspberries.

All. The. Time.

Left in his room to drop off to sleep, we hear him perfecting this new ability. Fifteen minutes of raspberries. He doesn't seem to find it funny, but he certainly likes doing it. We, on the other hand, find it very funny. Unless we're directly above him at the time, when little droplets of his spittle are catapulted up into our faces. That's a bit gross.

Tell me, what unexpected developmental delights have your own little ones come up with? I don't want anything that would grace the pages of a book, tell me your children's weird and wonderful quirks. I need to know what to expect.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fiction

I've written a story, here it is:

In the distance, I see a frail old man. He looks like he's trying to be sure no-one's watching. He's not doing a good job of it. He just looks suspicious. Furtive. Like he's doing something he shouldn't be.

The next moment he is definitely doing something he shouldn't be; he clambers through a small gap in the roadside barrier and into the undergrowth beyond. There's no reason to go back there, and plenty of reasons not to. The Colleagues don't like people trying to leave the roads. The Co owns the roads, and lets us use them. It owns everything else too, but we're not allowed into most of it.

It would probably be in my best interests not to be watching this old guy. It's always best not to pay too much attention to anything you think the Colleagues might view with suspicion. That doesn't leave a lot, which is probably why so many people seem to be getting in trouble with them these days.

But it's always the old ones who get in the most trouble. The ones who can remember a time before all this. Before democracy gave way to whatever it is we have now. A country run by a corporation. A corporation the public cried out for, when it became impossible for the politicians to hide how much they'd been fucking everything up.

I'm heading toward the gap in the barrier now. I want to know why the old man is going back there. I should leave him to it, but curiosity is getting the better of me. At the back of my mind I don't think I'll get there in time to see where he's gone, then I can carry on walking, pretend I never saw him. As I get closer to the spot I saw him in just a few minutes ago, that feeling grows. Until I get there, and I see him, still there, just a few metres past the barrier, his already ragged and dirty trousers tangled up in some Co branded razor wire. He's fallen, twisted into a position which a young man would find uncomfortable. It must be practically unbearable for him.

My sensible side is screaming in my ear: "keep walking. Ignore him. Ignore him and go home. No-one will know. Go. Go. Go."

I can't. The old man has seen me. His eyes are full of desperation. They send a silent plea for my assistance. I do my own version of the man's guilty scan of the area for unwanted observers. I see no-one, but then, he didn't see me either. I leap into the densely packed foliage, feeling the unfamiliar sensation of plants brushing against my legs. Most people my age don't get the chance to experience nature beyond the officially sanctioned parklands, where the grass is kept short and the flowers and bushes are for looking at, not touching.

Without exchanging words, I reach down and pull him free. There's some blood around, but he's not seriously injured. He gets to his feet, thanks me and gestures for me to follow him further. That sensible voice is back, but I already know I'm going to ignore it. I'm excited. Nervous too, but nervous is good when you're used to every day being the same. No strength to anything you feel. No variety in your actions. Your life prescribed by the will of the Co, even down to the bland excuses for food they put in front of you three times a day. Brown food. Always brown.

The man starts to stride through the plants. Perhaps the razor wire was new, he certainly seems confident he's not going to run into any more. He seems driven by some invisible force. Pulled forward by his desire for whatever we're heading toward. Suddenly, he stops, crouches, pulls a plant from the ground and bites into it. His face lights up, seems to lose ten years of age in an instant. He pulls up another plant and hands it to me. Putting a plant in my mouth seems completely unnatural. I've never eaten anything green before. I remember the films we were all shown in school: people eating plants, animals, grains that were nothing to do with the Co and being struck ill. The Co made sure the food we were given was safe, free from contamination. It was cheap too, and no-one went without.

But now the man's smiling face means I can't resist. I open my mouth and raise the freshly picked plant to my face. Before I can savour the taste, I hear the rustle of bodies moving toward us, I turn to face the sound just in time for a Colleague's baton swing to connect with my eye socket. I can still see, but I wish I couldn't. An unhappy team of Colleagues stands above me and I know my decision to follow the old man was a bad one. The last thing I see is a Co logo, on the sole of a hard boot heading straight for my face.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Assange

Julian Assange, he's in the news quite a bit at the moment isn't he? I remember hearing about Wikileaks for the first time and thinking "hmm, that sounds good, a website that wants to expose a lot of the nasty shit that's going on in the world". I also thought "shit name", but that's beside the point.

I didn't pay much attention to Julian Assange, because what his website was doing seemed rather more important than him.

Now, that Mr Assange is in the news not because of the website he founded, but because of him. Him, Julian Assange. Not Wikileaks. Not even Julian Assange: Founder of Wikileaks.

Julian Assange is in the news because he's facing extradition from the UK. He's facing extradition from the UK because he has been charged, in Sweden, with sexual assault. Instead of saying "okay, I'll face those allegations" he appears to be hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Yesterday he appeared on the first floor balcony of the embassy and made a speech. The part of the speech which the UK media seems to be mostly reporting on is JA's desire to be left alone by the USA who, he says, are witch-hunting him.

So, wait, what? He's trying to get Ecuador to provide him asylum so that the USA can't bring him in for a bollocking about Wikileaks? That's what it's all about?

No. No Julian Assange. You may be right. It may be that if you're extradited to Sweden you'll be more likely to end up in the hands of a chap from the CIA (not Cardiff International Arena, the other one). But you know what this looks like to me? It looks like someone hiding from allegations of sexual assault by using his work as Guardian Protector of Freedom of Speech to deflect attention away from things he may or may not have been up to which are somewhat less noble.

He may currently be innocent (and remains so until proven guilty, regardless of what evidence the shouty inhabitants of Twitter drag up which suggests otherwise) but by shying away from facing the consequences he's doing a damn good job of making himself look guilty. I think, were I in this position (centre of an enormous media furore, holed up with a country whose track record on freedom of speech seems somewhat at odds with the ideals of Wikileaks) I'd want to clear my name. Even if it may lead to some more problems for him and nasty treatment post-trial.

I haven't watched the balcony speech, but the way it's been reported makes it sound like Assange either can't separate himself from Wikileaks (which is disconcerting) or doesn't want to (which is also disconcerting, but not for the same reason).

Either way, in the hierarchy of balcony speeches, I don't think Mr Assange's is one that's gone too well. I look forward to the UK finding a way to get him over to Sweden, and hopefully to Sweden sticking to their word and not letting the USA get their hands on him.

Freedom of speech is important, but it's not worth protecting an alleged rapist over, isn't that obvious?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Spy with my little eye...G

It's Wednesday, it's far later than I intended to post this. But goodness, doesn't real life do a great job of getting in the way sometimes?

Anyway. as it is Wednesday it is time to join in with @jbmumofone's game of I Spy.

It works like this: Mum of One tells us the letter for the week, we take the pictures, you all guess what is in there. Simple and fun.

This week, the letter is G. Here is my photo:



Leave your guesses in the comment box, then click on the badge to see who else is playing this week.

Mum of One

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flat

Do you think there's any chance of planking, the internet phenomenon, becoming an Olympic sport over the next twelve years or so?

Probably not, I guess, which is a bit of a shame. Because I reckon Cam would have a good shot at bringing another gold to these fair isles. Why? Because The Creature is developing something of a physical trait which would be useful in such a pursuit.

Flat Head Syndrome, which makes me imagine people with delusions of being a screwdriver, is what it's called when the back of a baby's head is lacking in curvature. It happens because babies are still a bit squishy when they're born, then tend to spend quite a lot of time laying on their back.

The pressure of lying on the back of their heads leads to the cranium taking the shape of whatever they lie on. Usually, this will be a flat bed/floor/car seat.

It does make me wonder what would have happened if we'd made Cam sleep with his head on a jelly mould.

We knew about Flat Head Syndrome and wanted to guard against it if we could. We bought a "SleepCurve" mattress. It has a cut away section which should relieve the pressure on the back of the baby's head when he's lying down. Nice ruse Tomy. I don't know how much that mattress cost, but I bet it wasn't cheap, and it has done precisely bugger all in providing us with a round headed baby.

It's only a cosmetic thing, there's no evidence suggesting a flat head will cause a baby to have any additional health problems later in his life. Which is good, because it means I don't have to go and punch the inventor of the SleepCurve mattress in the kidney.

There's some concern that people with flat heads may be bullied as a result. I don't think Cam will need to worry about that, people seem to like our current Olympians. Many of them have bodies which are a little bit outside of the norm. Historically significant über-athletes such as Usain Bolt with his "too tall to be a sprinter" body, Michael "Winningest Olympian in History" Phelps with his out of proportion legs and torso, Jessica Ennis with her improbably amazing abs. Add Cam to that list.

If he's not selected to the Olympic Planking Team, or if (heaven forbid) planking isn't considered worthy of a place on the Olympic agenda, I'll teach him to deal with bullies some other way. I may buy him an old nuke to use as a deterrent. I don't know, I've not really thought it through.

Of course, it may be that given a bit of time (and less time on his back, he's pretty good at tummy time these days) the flat spot will gradually cease to be. I don't really mind either way, with a face as beautiful as his no-one will be paying too much attention to the back of his head.

Do you have a child with a flat head? Do YOU have a flat head? Tell me all about it. Or something else. My comment area is open.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday is Caption Day, innit.

What up people? Don't answer that, it doesn't even make sense. Today is Saturday. Saturday is the day of captioning. Or, to use the parlance of our Twitter-centric times: #satcap

Below is a picture of my baby boy and his partner in crime, Pooh Bear. But what should the caption on this photo be? Put your suggestions in the box of commentings below. It's just for giggles, but if I think it's funny and I ever meet you I'll give you a hug, a high five AND a biscuit. Can't say fairer than that now, can you?


Once you have proffered your sweet, sweet captions, you should head over to the linky thing at Mammasaurus to see what other photos people have been taking.


And hey, before you go, if you like a bit of #satcap, why not also pop by to www.jbmumofone.com on Wednesday and play her lovely photo based meme-game-thing too? It's #Ispy, and it's fun.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Wake Up

Kobe Bryant, American basketball superstar, is sat across the table from me. Idly sipping his drink and holding a dog eared cardboard folder in one hand. The folder contains details of his financial situation which, for some reason, I am trying to get him to tell me about. Perhaps I want to feel envious. He starts speaking, and the thick Jamaican accent gives my subconscious the tip off it needed to realise I’m dreaming.

In the background, a coffee machine is beginning to make that rushing, roaring sound that means someone is about to get their caffeine hit. Only it doesn’t tail off. It gets louder, and louder, and louder, until it’s drowning out everything else. The sound fills my ears and starts to make me feel uncomfortable.

I’m no longer paying any attention to Jamaican Kobe Bryant. Which is very rude of me, even if he is only a figment of my imagination.

The noise keeps on getting louder, and then I’m awake. The noise continues. It’s outside the house. The world is ending or something. My brain isn’t fully engaged, so rational thought isn’t on the agenda just yet. I stumble to the window and throw open the curtains, letting in the light of a beautiful summer morning, completely forgetting I am wearing nothing but my pants. The street is full of people looking up. Higher than my window, thankfully.

Then, I experience a real life, very Bristolian version of the opening scene of Star Wars. Instead of an Imperial Cruiser passing overhead is a hot air balloon, basket full of people dangling perilously beneath it, surveying the world below them, having a bloody good time by the looks of it.

Balloon. As seen from my bedroom window this morning.

 I found the whole thing very exciting. A massive balloon (actually, there were five or six) flew directly over my house and woke me up and I was excited. It was a treat. It was a great start to the day. I rushed to take a picture and discovered that my dexterity when half asleep has significant room for improvement. I hung around a little longer at home in the hope that some more were on their way. It set me up for the day in a way that an alarm clock could never hope to match.

It was particularly welcome because I’ve not been feeling my usual bright and breezy self recently. It was just a small thing but it reminded me of how much a small thing can have a big impact on how you feel. It allowed me to abandon my usual cynicism and misanthropy for a moment and to feel good about what wonderful things the future may hold for Cam.

While the feeling lasted my mind went on a joyous randonnée through the myriad of experiences I hope that Cam, Mrs L and I will share. I pictured the wonder I hope to see on his face the first time he sees something which really captures his imagination. We’re a little way from there yet; it is only in the past few days he has started to reach out for his Freddy Firefly.

Today’s wake up was a rare good one. I’ll be holding onto the memory of it for as long as I can.

I hope you’re having a good day, and that your wake up call this morning was a good one. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I spy with my little eye - F

It's Wednesday, it's Wednesday. What do you mean it's Thursday? Oh, shh. I've been watching those Olympics and playing actual real life basketball. I didn't realise the time, okay? I'm sorry.

Anyway. Lateness aside, it is time to join in with @jbmumofone's game of I Spy.

It works like this: Mum of One tells us the letter for the week, we take the pictures, you all guess what is in there. Simple and fun.

This week, the letter is F. Here is my photo:



Leave your guesses in the comment box, then click on the badge to see who else is playing this week.

Mum of One

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mars

Some time over the last twenty-four hours NASA landed a giant radio controlled car on Mars. Written down, that sounds quite simple. But anyone who has ever driven a radio controlled car knows otherwise.

It’s essentially impossible to get a radio controlled car to go anywhere without crashing into a bookcase. NASA is hoping that their big toy will explore an area of Mars which they believe may hold proof that the planet was once capable of sustaining life.

If they discover that any previous life forms on Mars owned bookcases, the mission could come to a quick and disappointing end. Two and a half billion dollars worth of investment into a Mars rover, somehow hooked into an impromptu and unwanted marriage with extraterrestrial storage furniture.

Before they even get the chance to crash into any bookcases though, they have to land the giant radio controlled car. The landing mechanism for the Mars explorer thingy is called a Sky Crane. Presumably, this equipment is what happens when the old boys at NASA try to con some plucky apprentice into asking for non-existent objects at the hardware store (see also: tartan paint, sky hooks, etc)

Apprentice: “Hi, I’m from NASA, I need a Sky Crane please”

Shopkeeper: “I’m sorry, there’s no such thing”

NASA Old Boys: (chuckling) “So, did you get the Sky Crane?”

Apprentice: (keen) “No, they didn’t have one, so I used my GENIUS NASA BRAIN to make one, ta da!”

NASA Old Boys: “Oh FFS, now we’ll have to send that radio controlled car to Mars”

Sky Cranes and Mars explorers and other things which involve firing huge bastard rockets into the sky and then landing them on another planet excite me. When I was a kid I knew all that Usborne could teach me about space and rockets and shuttles and satellites. It was the obsession which took over from dinosaurs.

Like all little boys probably do at some point I wanted to be an astronaut, and a part of me still lights up when I see any of the space agencies doing something like this.

This is the magical end of the scientific spectrum. It captures the imagination and makes people like me think that anything is possible. It temporarily suspends my natural cynicism about how the world works, because it opens up the possibility of doing something better.

It makes me think that in twenty years time my son could be preparing to board a rocket which is taking people to Mars for the first time. For this to happen, he’ll need to inherit his mother’s mathematic abilities. If he’s unfortunate enough to inherit mine, he’ll probably get an equation wrong and crash the rocket into a bookcase.

Maybe he should do what Mrs L wants him to and train as a plumber.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Helmets

Firstly, a thank you to @SAHDandproud for blogging about this and tempting me to join in. I've wanted an excuse to post about cycling for ages, cos I loves it.

About six years ago I entered a race. It was a race down a hill on a bike. This particular hill was, at the time of the race, extremely muddy due to an overnight storm. It had lots of big, pointy rocks sticking out of the ground, it had tangled networks of slippery tree roots. It had twists and turns, jumps and drops.

My first attempt at riding down the hill wasn’t the best. I slid on a root, parted company with the bike, flew through the air and was brought to an abrupt halt when my head hit a tree. My chest, arms and legs also hit the tree. I slumped to the ground and thought “ouch”.

Because I was riding down a muddy, rocky, slippery, rooty hill I was wearing a helmet. I was also wearing knee and shin pads, elbow and forearm pads. Here’s a picture of me on that very day:


Me and my big shiny helmet (sorry)
I look a bit like a Power Ranger, no?

When I lost control of my bike that day I was extremely glad I was wearing a helmet. The rules of the race meant I had to be wearing one, but I would have been anyway. Call me crazy, but if I think there’s a chance I’ll be getting into a fight with a tree, I want to have as much protection on me as I can. Trees are hard as fuck. Headbutting them is not wise if you are a squishy-bonced human.

But here’s the thing. I don’t always wear a helmet.

When I go mountain biking (rocks, roots, trees, peril) I wear one. Always.

When I go out for a long spin on the road bike (hard tarmac, wet drain covers, high speed, lots of crazy drivers, peril) I wear one. Always.

When I hop on my silly little “going to the pub or shops” bike and make a journey of just a few minutes, on the quiet roads of the town I live in (hard tarmac, minimal speed, few drivers, somewhat less peril) I don’t always bother.

Pub bike, it's silly but I love it.

This position, I suspect, is not going to win me many friends, or glean positive comments.

I am pro-helmet wearing in most instances. I’d quite like my brain to remain inside my head, rather than leaking out through a hole. I’m quite partial to all the things which having an intact brain allows me to do. I’m just not wholly convinced that cycle helmets are necessarily all that effective in keeping it there.

Even if they are good at keeping it there, they’re not necessarily good at protecting its ability to function (which, I guess, is what most people actually care about). Brain injuries are complicated, they’re not as simple as just preserving the physical form of the organ.

You probably know this, but cycle helmets aren’t like motorbike helmets. They’re not designed to withstand the sort of forces you may encounter when hit by a car.

Nevertheless, I usually wear one.

But I don’t want it to be made compulsory.

I don’t want to have the choice taken away from me.

Maybe that seems silly to you. I dunno. Maybe it is silly. I think I’m broadly in the camp that would like to make sensible decisions based on perception of risk, rather than have a one size fits all policy.

Part of me thinks this is an indefensible position. Why wouldn’t I wear a helmet all the time? What possible reason is there? Certainly not helmet hair, I don’t have enough hair for that to be a concern. It’s not because I worry about looking cool, because I never do that (also, I quite like the look of my bike helmet, it’s certainly no worse than my hair).

Of course, like an epic hypocrite, I’ll definitely want Cam to wear a helmet. Can we make it compulsory for kids? I think I’ll always wear one once he’s old enough to notice.

So, in summary, I don’t always wear one, I don’t want someone to make it law that I have to, but I’m not really sure why. How wonderfully inconclusive.

Regardless of how I feel about bike helmets, there are other things I’d rather see happening to make cycling safer. Driver education to improve roadcraft and decision making, as well as promoting empathy with cyclists would be good. Cyclist education for all the same reasons.

Cycle safety is a far more than just convincing people to wear helmets.

What do you reckon? Am I an epic twat for not always wearing one? Do you think we should also wear helmets to cross roads?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Veteran

As of today I am no longer the newest parent in my family.

At 2:30 this morning my younger sister gave birth to a new nephew for me, a new cousin for Cam. Another beautiful little life thrown into the world, all potential and squidginess.

Sadly, as much as I’d like it to be, unclernity leave is not currently a thing. Hard to believe I know, but DavCam and co don’t grant me even a single day off work upon the arrival of this new bundle of joy. Damn them. Damn them and every other government who hasn’t implemented unclernity (and aunternity) leave.

Frankly, this is ridiculous. How am I supposed to impart the AWESOME PARENTING WISDOM I have accrued over the past (not quite) four months of being a dad if I have to go to work instead of hopping on the motorway and going to see the new parents? Why, of course, I can put it here.

  1. Your time for sleep is when the baby sleeps. The hoovering can wait. The mess does not need to be tidied. Grab the opportunity to sleep with both hands, use superglue to ensure it does not escape your grasp.
  2. When the baby cries, it wants a cuddle. Or it doesn’t want a cuddle. Or it has a poo it needs sorting out. Or it is hungry. Or it is just crying. Try not to worry about it too much.
  3. Be Excellent to Each Other (#BETEO). You will be tired. You will be stressed. You will have poo under your fingernails and sick in your hair. Your ears will be hearing wails even when there are not actually any coming from the baby. Despite all of this, remember that you love each other very much, and treat each other accordingly.
  4. Babies like walking, but they’re not very good at it. So you’ll need to walk for him. Walk around the house. Walk the deserted midnight streets. Walk, walk, walk, walk.
  5. When it gets too much for either one of you, take a break. Five minutes of peace can feel like an eternity when there hasn’t been any for several hours.
  6. Ask other people for help. That’s what we’re here for.
  7. Enjoy it or endure it. When it’s easy, enjoy it. When it’s hard, endure it. He will change so quickly you won’t believe it. Savour every moment, because you only get that moment once.
  8. I know I already mentioned sleep, but, seriously, do it whenever you can.
  9. If it suits you, ignore ever piece of advice you’re given by anyone. Go with your instinct. Go with your gut. You will know what is right, you will feel it inside you and you will not need a book, a website or a ridiculous brother/uncle to tell you.

Anyway. I’m super pleased and excited that there’s another little person in the family, and I’m super chuffed for my sister and her wife. I know they’ll be amazing parents and that the little guy will grow up with an abundance of love and affection thrown his way.

If anyone would care to add some more top newborn tips please add them in the comments box :-)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Games

That thing with five interlocked rings is going on over in That London at the moment. You’ve probably noticed it. It’s on the telly a bit. People are talking about it. I’ve been quite swept up by it all. The people who are taking part are the very best people in the world at the things they do. Sometimes I realise that I’m watching an event with my jaw dropped.

Whether it’s the gymnasts doing their whirly-twirly-jumpy-swingy-thingies (composed landings optional, I’m looking at you Japan…), the swimmers scything their way through the water in a way which makes me wonder whether they’ve been crossbred with seals, cyclists breezing up Box Hill faster than I could ride down it or volleyball players jumping so high I think they may be about to leave Earth for good.

All these people have dedicated themselves to being the best. They’ve sacrificed time with their friends and families in pursuit of sporting achievement. They have the single mindedness, the purity of purpose, the mental and physical strength to compete for gold.

Most of them aren’t even raking in the cash as a result. Their rewards are likely to include arthritis, torn ligaments and muscles, possibly a lifetime of being a motivational speaker.

These are the examples of humanity I can hold up as potential role models for my son, along with all those intellectual greats and people who have overcome circumstances to succeed. Bloody good job too, as I’m far from being a poster boy for excellence of any sort.

This morning, I saw that spectators at the preliminary rounds of the ladies’ badminton had been treated to the sight of two of the best teams in the competition in a furious battle.

A furious battle to lose.

Amazing athletes with superlative shuttlecock skills repeatedly, deliberately knocking serves into the net. Placing shots outside of the court. Doing the exact opposite of what you’d expect from people whose primary goal for their time on this planet is to win badminton games.

Tanking a game in order to get a favourable match in the next round is tactically sound, of course. But man is it disappointing to see it happen.

To be the best you have to beat the best, whether it is in the early rounds or the finals. Tanking a game like these competitors did doesn’t show the world how awesome top level sport can be. It makes me want to not watch any more badminton, in case it happens again. It makes me think that I can't hold these people up as fighters, winners, or anything like that. All I can say is they're experts at recognising the path of least resistance. To be honest, I was hoping that would be the thing I could teach my son myself.

At least when Team GB loses at something it isn’t because we’re trying to…