Archive for April, 2019

Sport & Leisure History Seminar 2019 #6

April 18, 2019


Recreational football in the 1950s

April 29th March 2019

‘More than an inconsequential weekly kick-around’: but what did it mean? Some reflections on recreational football in twentieth century England

It’s a real pleasure to be one of the convenors for the British Society of Sports History sponsored Sport & Leisure History seminar series at the Insitute of Historical Research. And for the new term we have a diverse range of speakers and subjects to pique the interest of the historically inclined.

We kick off (arf!) with Prof Dil Porter of De Montfort University who has chosen to peer below the depths of élite sport and look at what the playing of the game meant for the ordinary man and woman in the street who did that thing in their local streets and parks.


Recreational football in the 2000s

This is a subject on which I (and many others I suspect) will have strong views; and no little nostalgia. Do come along for will be a fascinating exploration of history from below with one of the nation’s leading historians of sport. An abstract can be found below.

‘More than an inconsequential weekly kick-around’: but what did it mean? Some reflections on recreational football in twentieth century England

Cultural and social historians, if they have reflected on football at all, have tended to focus on the elite game; what happened in and around stadiums, rather than what happened every weekend in the park, on the marshes and in other spaces devoted to public recreation. Yet as Ross McKibbin observed in Classes and Cultures, ‘football was played by more people more enthusiastically than any other game’. The intention is to explore ways in which club archives, local newspapers and other sources, including autobiographies and fiction, can help us connect with and reconfigure our understanding of ‘the people’s game’.

This is only the one of a number of series of stimulating talks to be held at the IHR in the S&L series. For the details of seminars forthcoming in 2019 go to the IHR’s website. The talks take place in the John S Cohen on the second floor – doors open from 17:15 and the seminar to start promptly at 17:30. I hope to see you there.


Resto 10 The Clydeside Distillery, Glasgow

April 17, 2019

This is the still room (not the café!)

After a disappointing experience with Gusto we were determined to find somewhere that celebrated local Scottish produce and boy did we get it. We’d already decided to do a tour at The Clyde Distillery but had an hour to kill before the only one available was due to begin. It seemed natural that we’d do that in TCD’s café, especially given that this stretch of the Clyde isn’t (yet) blessed with other eateries.

The menu is simple – local produce served on platters to share if you want more than a sandwich or a soup. We were happy to pile into a platter and saving our powder for the tour decided to skip the rather tempting whisky flight with matching cheese in favour of a small glass of white each.

On the platter you get a selection of high quality Scottish munchies – salmon cured two ways, oat crackers, olives (?!), meats and the stars of the show, three local cheeses. Of these the Tain Cheddar was an absolute beauty and I want more of it soonest. It could have done with a bit of veg though. Service was excellent and the staff well-trained in explaining the origins of the food and the nature of the multitude of whiskies available alongside.

At under fifteen quid a head it was the perfect warm up for an excellent tour of the distillery with a very able guide (I know a thing or two about such things). Such things tend to stick to a fairly predictable routine but TCD, whose whisky is yet to be mature enough to serve, give it a wrinkle by giving you five classic Scotch samples paired with locally produced vegan-friendly chocolates. With spectacular views up the Clyde it was definitely a highlight of an excellent weekend in Glasgow.


To see where else I’ve eaten go to the GoogleMap …

Resto 9 Gusto, Glasgow

April 14, 2019

It’s difficult to live up to the standard that Paesano sets for Italian in Glasgow but it was Friday night and I wasn’t willing to queue half the evening. So we opted for Gusto based on it being the nearest point for curing ravenousness.

The room, a former bank, is plush and we had plenty of space to not feel hemmed in. A pretty extensive set menu means it’s not really worth looking at the à la carte. Or should we have done?

Bruschetta up front was pretty much tomatoes on bread (I know that’s what bruschetta is but it can be more than that) though the calamari alongside it was better.

The main of rump steak was not really pink as ordered (Christ knows what the well done would have looked like) and arrived without chips.

Nae chups i’ Glasgae!

That was scandalous but the courgette ‘salad’ on the side was just a wet waste of jaw.

Enough savagery. The Chablis was excellent, as was the service. In fact Glasgow sets a high standard for service in the UK, from King Tut’s to the Cathedral front of house was professional to the core.


To see where else I’ve eaten go to the GoogleMap …

Resto 8 Sacro Cuore, Crouch End

April 9, 2019


A Soldier’s Song is over. All that remains is a script and joyful memories of working with a talented cast and crew for a series of satisfied audiences. So with the next writing project the altogether (and indeed literally) more prosaic drudge of academic history I turn back to restaurants for a lighter side of writing.

Sacro Cuore is at the end of Crouch End that I usually can’t be bothered to walk to but it was late afternoon and most regular restos were closed. We were greeted by a charming (and ‘hot’ apparently) waiter and had the run of the room. I liked the mural of north London decorating one side of the room, I liked the clutter-free room and I liked the brevity of the menu – wine is either red or white, no fussing.

We all took pizza – mine was salsiccie and brocolli with a good dollop of chilli oil. The base was really tasty and crispy with plenty of sausage and veg riding on it. I wouldn’t normally finish a whole pizza by myself but this one was despatched without mercy. A rocket salad on the side was a generous heap of the green stuff with a light balsamic dressing. The white wine did a solid job without being anything spectacular – which is fine for the price.

There was plenty of takeaway action going on and soon a few more diners showed up too. With Italian banter carrying on between the kitchen and the front of house even on a slow Monday teatime it felt pretty homely. My preference is still for Bufala di Londra in this neck of the woods but Sacro Cuore gets the same mark.


To see where else I’ve eaten go to the GoogleMap …

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