Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Broken Oars Podcast returns with Episode 7 – a Fosbury Flop of an effort to match the impossibly high bar set by our recent guests Sir Terence of Chipchase and Sir Peter of Brewer.
(You haven’t listened to Episodes Five and Six yet? Shame on you! Download them now! You know it makes sense. After all, those 3 x 6k’s will go far easier with some quality listening material in your headphones).
After the wonderful ramble through the highways and byways of rowing undertaken by Terence and the ‘guys, here’s how a grown adult talks: in complete, well-thought through paragraphs’ common-sense, inclusive vision of rowing as a sport for all offered by the inimitable Pete, we’ve reverted to type: your genial hosts, Lewin (posh, well-educated, southern) and Aaron (northern, dragged up, barely literate) saying stuff about the wonderful sport about rowing that might be considered libellous if anyone actually listened to us.
It starts well. For the first time in the podcast’s history, Lewin rather than Aaron suffers the now-traditional biweekly injury and in a controversial move the Broken Oars Podcast begins the campaign to rehabilitate Lance Armstrong back into polite society.
Our position on doping and doping remains unchanged. We covered this in our bonus Jurgengate, the Trolls and the Two Billy Goats Gruff episode – a broadcast that UKADA, WADA and other acronyms have declared required listening for anyone involved in sport’s ongoing battle against doping and dopers. (Essentially, dopers and doping coaches are cheats; they invariably do it again; Jurgen might be the exception - but it's a narrative that deserves nuanced engagement).
On the subject of Lance, though, we just feel that in a world gone mad (der), his complete and utter unrepentance and blunt acknowledgement that he would do it all again if given the chance offers a refreshing change to the cant, hypocrisy and fudging offered by most cheats and bullshit artists when they get caught.
Controversy nimbly provoked, we declare our keywords for the now-traditional Thames Tradesmen’s Broken Oars Podcast Drinking Game. Anyone with the words Frodo, Anduin, and Slaine the Avenger is in for a heavy night. Lock up the cat. Cancel all calls.
And then, housekeeping done, we get stuck into the main topic of discussion: who would make it into our fantasy rowing eight.
Now, if you know us, and you’ve listened to us before you know that we take this sort of thing incredibly seriously. Broken Oars Podcast’s Episode Four discussed Britain’s Coxless Fours triumphs through the ages in such forensic detail that British Rowing actually asked for a copy of the tape; and our comments on the relative merits of genuine giants of the sport split opinion to the point where oarsmen who won their Olympic gold medals in the same boat no longer speak to each other.
But being us, our calm, measured approach to a question deserving both rapidly descends into a welter of claims, counter-claims, questionable humour, a discussion of the cars in the Henley Royal Regatta carpark; why dyslexics rarely hang out together (we both are: we never see each other); rowing as a quest narrative; and what really, when you get right down to it, constitutes a fantasy rowing eight.
In the process, Aaron make claims for the necessity of opposable thumbs in a five-man; Lewin makes a case for why Anna Watkins should be in the boat with such passion that he calls her Anna Williams; we both ask whether singing ability is an accurate measure of rhythm and timing when it comes to rowing (hint: no); and ask the serious and pertinent central question: if James Cracknell makes the boat, will his seat have to be able to accommodate the camera crew and production company that will film the inevitable accompanying miniseries?
And does his hair deserve its own seat?
All of this?
And it’s out in time for the weekend?
Front six rowing on, bow pair, out – of the boat, the crew and our lives. Swim home.