Reclaiming Rugby League

We really wanted to like the article by Matthew Wood, “Supporters reclaiming Rugby League through the Internet.” The academic tone put us off. (Academic articles are hard to make work online. “So what’s your excuse?” you immediately respond.)

The piece didn’t say too much, except that fans work without corporate control, work faster, and cut the crap.

We would have appreciated some actual reporting, including interviews with Rugby League officials. Did they have to drag themselves, reluctantly, to the stage where they tolerated or encouraged fan sites, or did they learn the failed lesson of the music industry (yet again) and TV, which tried to squash fan sites early on, and wisely decided to encourage rugby league fan sites straight away?

In any event, a recurring NUblog theme comes up: Even when dealing with corporate pro sports, small is beautiful. And just as drag queens do a better Shania Twain than Shania does herself, fans have a greater collective knowledge of a topic than participants themselves, if only because, with so many minds at work, the chance that an event or nuance will be forgotten forever vanishes. What did Caroline van Oosten de Boer write on

I’ll tell you why I tape gigs. Not to sell them (though I have in the past), not to swap them (because I do). It comes from the very same reason I wrote my book, and do my music-related sites. It’s a need to document things. Which goes back to the need to document myself, where I was, what I listened to. The need to capture moments of happiness, which occur during a gig. That one song that makes your heart sing. Capture it, and then go back to it, remember it, relive it.

One of the most popular books on U2 was written by my friend PJ. I did work on it too, listening to U2’s entire Joshua Tree tour and transcribing those “moments.” We used bootleg tapes for this purpose. These tapes record a band’s history and progression. You can hear how songs evolve from the first time played, to the last note. I happen to think this kind of documenting is important. And whaddaya know... we were told U2’s management use the book themselves, for reference.

Posted on 2000-09-30