The Selected Writings of Martin Kelner
With an introduction by Gary Lineker
‘By popular demand’ is one of those phrases like ‘we must do lunch’ and ‘your delivery will arrive between 9.00am and 10.00am’ that we have learned to take with a pinch of salt.
But in the case of the pieces in this book it is arguably true.
Admittedly, we only have the author’s word for it, but he swears that barely a week goes by – okay, a fortnight – without him receiving an email or a Tweet asking why an adoring public can’t enjoy his gimlet-eyed take on broadcast sport and addiction to half-remembered street jokes in the press or online these days.
The answer is that the current broadcasting landscape means we are all streaming madly or scrolling through our phones at different times, meaning a joke about the late football commentator John Motson’s jacket, which might have played to an appreciative audience of millions a decade ago, might now evince no more than a puzzled frown.
However, on rescuing these pieces from the dustbin of history – Martin’s laptop actually – there seemed merit in the view that a half-decent joke is a half-decent joke whenever it’s told. We think there are a few in this collection.
Where possible we have tried to supply a bit of context, and there are fragments of memoir too, previously unpublished, for anyone interested in the author’s ‘journey’ – as publishers seem contractually obliged to call everybody’s life these days.
We need a laugh in these difficult times – unless there’s been a recent economic miracle, in which case disregard. The good news is that age has not withered those in this long-awaited volume, nor custom staled their not quite infinite variety.
Along with this, it covers Royal Ascot at York and the St Leger at York 1945 and 2006. Also examined are track and stand developments through the years and a look forward to what the future may have in store. The book is lavishly illustrated with pictures from York Racecourse and the archives of The Press and Yorkshire Evening Press. York’s Great Races offers a unique focus on the horses who have ensured York’s place in turf history and reputation at the centre of the sport of kings. Paperback, 256 pages.