Martyn Irvine: a BDIPCesque tribute

March 1, 2014 at 11:02 am | Posted in affairs of the heart, cycling | 2 Comments
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The first thing that made me laugh till I cried when I joined twitter was bangable dudes in procycling. Minx and her collaborators indelicately scrutinised the male peloton, staying just this side of NSFW and making fangirls choke on their cornflakes in the process. If you’ve never heard of BDIPC, I suggest you go and acquaint yourself with it before reading on; you could start with this fairly typical example.

Ready? OK. BDIPC’s very American in style (at least, to my English ears); I found myself wondering how an English version would sound. Then Martyn Irvine did his astonishing double-medal-winning feat at the Worlds in 2013, and I suddenly had a subject. I wrote this quickly, in a sweat, a year ago, and it made me laugh*. And after Martyn’s heroic efforts in the scratch and points races over the last couple of days, it seems relevant all over again.

martyn irvine by shane mcmahon

Martyn Irvine (c) Shane McMahon, on Velonation

Hello there, from across the pond! We English girls like a toothsome, athletic chap as much as anyone, so we’re enormous BDIPC fans. But all this upfront talk of bangability still has us a bit, er, gosh. Well. You know. We may be right up there in the top five Nations Who Like Falling Out Of Taxis At 3am Without Any Knickers On, but actually talking about, er, the, ah, you know, the ACT? Well. It has us groping for words.

And of course, well before we get to the, um, act, we have to make the unsuspecting boy aware of us. We’re not too good at striding up to people, locking eyes with them and suggesting, well, golly. How can we do that, when we’re too shy even to tell our best friends?

Picture me, long ago, skirt waistband rolled over as soon as I was out of sight of the house, school-illegal plastic sandals on my feet, gripped by a new, crippling crush on a sixth former. Best Mate is DESPERATE to know. ‘Who? WHO?’ ‘I can’t. He’ll see me looking at him.’ We cook up a subtle plan: as he saunters by, I’ll turn to her and utter a prearranged sentence. We roam the school corridors at breaktime, giggling. Finally he slouches into view, tall and wan, hair falling studiedly over his face. As we draw level, I ask her, casually, ‘How did your mother’s barbecue go last night?’ Best Mate whips round, looks the poor lad in the eye and exclaims, ‘HIM?!’

So, of course English girls swoon over pretty Euro cyclists, and we’re jolly keen on those Americans who look so delightful all covered in mud.  But sometimes, we hanker for a fellow who knows where we’re coming from. Someone who’ll laugh at our jokes, get on with our brothers, and who might even be nervous and cack-handed, like us, when it comes to chatting to people they, er, oh, you know. People they LIKE. You’re making us blush, now.

Martyn Irvine’s storming performance at the Track World Championships, bringing him two medals in the space of an hour, dragged our attention right away from the crossword. Golly! There was a chap with GRIT. And an Irishman, too! Every English girl likes to imagine she’s got a bit of Celt in her. Transfixed, we watched him digging ever deeper, holding on longer than we dared hope, finding the reserves for that last, game-changing push, and finally bringing off the impossible. Our teacups wobbled in their saucers. There he stood, bathed in the post-race glow, pushing his flop of ginger hair back from his glistening brow, his diffident, delightful attitude matched perfectly by his gentle Northern Irish brogue. And as a nation, we leapt from the sofa, strewing pussycats and Hobnobs left and right, and declared, ‘HOW DID YOUR MOTHER’S BARBECUE GO LAST NIGHT?!’


* I offered it to Minx as a guest post but she declined**. I’m still utterly devastated by this.

** She did say it was ‘hilarious’, though. [wipes eyes] [blows nose]

Snoggable chaps in procycling commentary

September 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Posted in cycling | 6 Comments
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We’ve grown used to considering the ins and outs of bangability in pro cyclists. We’ve set up the spreadsheets, and laid down the criteria. Heated discussions take place on whether ballroom dancing ability enhances or diminishes bangability; the finer points of podium champagne spraying technique; and the delicate question of when to make ‘kaTUSHa’ jokes about arse-exposing rips in clothing. But while this focus on lycra is overdue and exciting, another set of men are increasingly taking our attention from the job in hand: the commentators. To acknowledge their expertise, quick thinking and ability to stand firm in the face of extreme weather conditions, we present the Most Snoggable Commentators on the Tour of Britain 2011. In reverse order:

3. Yanto Barker

Yanto’s the boy you had an enormous crush on at school. Remember? He was in the sixth form when you were in the fifth, and you used to crane your neck in assembly to get a look at him as he wandered in, tall and rangy, with his gaggle of slightly-less-cool mates. You assumed he was remote and off-hand, but then one of your friends found out he wrote poetry, and held a torch for a quiet girl in his class, who brushed off his advances while gazing soulfully into the distance from under her long fringe. Of course, you loved him even more for this. Eventually, once the whole school knew about your secret crush, he talked to you. You got on! You went to gigs together, and spent hours sitting on cold walls laughing about everything! Then he asked your best friend out. AND SHE SAID YES. Bitch.

Verdict: Most likely not to be what he appears.

2. Matt Rendell

Remember your history teacher? Or maybe your English teacher? The stern one who kept even the rowdiest boys in check, and still managed somehow to be cool? Maybe he was in a band in his spare time, or went on demos, or had an exotic girlfriend from a far-off place. He didn’t look much like the pop stars your friends were obsessing over, but you still wanted his approval. He turned you into a good student, although you were working hard for all the wrong reasons. You sought out long words to use in your essays, and composed cheeky-yet-well-informed comments to throw out in lessons, like you’d just thought of them. Every time he smiled at one of these, you were a bit further gone. Eventually he moved to Scotland, and you developed a crush on Yanto Barker instead. But every now and again, you’re listening to the cycling commentary, and you think ‘Bah! Hyperbole! Or is it litotes?’ And you think of him.

Verdict: Most likely not even to be aware of you.

1. Ned Boulting

Ned was your big brother’s best mate. They watched the footie together; they went fishing on their bikes at the weekend; he was round at your house for tea almost every week, sitting playing computer games in your brother’s room. But then one weekend, you went to a party, and Ned was there. And he’d had a haircut, and he was wearing trendy jeans and a shirt instead of one of his ancient t-shirts, and you thought, oh. Crikey. And you went over and said hallo, do you want some of this beer? And you had such a great conversation with him; he was bright, warm and funny and had lovely eyes, and, oh. How had you not seen? How stupid you’d been! How great that you’d realised in time! And then his girlfriend appeared. Ned went on to marry this girl, and have delightful kids with her, and you are still friends with him, and go to visit him, even though it breaks your heart.

Verdict: Most likely to be the One. Go and get him now, before it’s too late.

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