Alex Massie

MLS, Beckham and David Blaine...

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Martin Samuel is in good form today. He doesn't much like MLS and, really, it's not difficult to agree with him. The LA Galaxy's recent 5-4 defeat at the New York Red Bulls was entertaining in the way that games featuring large quantities of comedy defending often are, but was notable not so much for the goals scored as for the real intensity and pace at which the game was played. Those vital qualities are normally lacking in MLS, giving most games (or at least those I've been to in DC) all the excitement of a pre-season training session.

Anyway, though perhaps a little vainglorious, I did like this part of Samuel's diatribe too:

Apart from the fact that almost nobody goes to church and Essex has produced more good bands in 20 years than New York and Los Angeles combined, if one were to list the things that make Britain great, the public attitude to David Blaine would certainly feature highly. In Bryant Park, New York, in 2002, Blaine performed a stunt in which he stood on a pillar, 105 feet high, 22 inches wide, for 35 hours, and was taken absolutely seriously, eventually leaping off to widespread acclaim and admiration.

A year later, he sat in a Plexiglas case suspended over the south bank of the River Thames in London for 44 days and people turned up with six-irons and tried to hit it with golf balls. “Right, here we go, lad, chip this down the air-hole – see if he’s really magic.” One chap flew a burger out to him on a motorised helicopter; others chucked eggs.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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