Although I’ve read a fair amount – some may say too much – of the scribbling from the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, it was only today that I noticed the name of Mary Gold. And what a rich seam of comedy gold Mary brings, albeit unintentionally.
Mary has been observing the womens’ singles at Wimbledon. And the behaviour of some players appears to have given the poor hack the vapours. It is as if yet another inhabitant of Dacreland is stuck in a half-century old time warp. “Can you remember those days of demure little dresses?” she asks, managing to miss the fact that the first woman player to wear shorts at the tournament was Helen Hull Jacobs. In 1933.
And Mary is hot on grunting. “If Maria Sharapova gets into the final, I’m not going to watch” she laments. Not only has Ms Sharapova now got into the final, Ms Gold seems to have forgotten Monica Seles, whose grunting would put Sharapova in the shade. Seles first arrived in SW19 more than twenty years ago.
Also taxing the Gold memory bank is her sudden discovery of players that make “thrust the fist gestures”. This is new? She must have forgotten Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (first appearance well over 20 years ago) and Steffi Graf (ditto). And neither player could be totally absolved from Mary’s grumble that today’s players are not exactly silent when unhappy with their play.
But then, that could equally be said of Billie Jean King (first appearance fifty years ago), as can the total focus on competing and yes, winning (which is sort of what it’s about). Perhaps Mary Gold doesn’t like that part of Wimbledon: she is particularly snarky about the Williams sisters, who have put away nine singles titles between them (because they wear jewellery on court – oh, the shame).Or perhaps Mary Gold is a pseudonym for another hack who is writing a faux-righteous piece for a laugh. She’s actually for real? In that case, she needs to get a life.