Ratty tells us that there’s nothing quite like the above, and for one particular race, it seems to ring true. The Boat Race captures the attention of the whole country, and this usually niche sport becomes embedded in the nation’s conscience for one weekend a year (if you don’t count the Olympics, where we are always guaranteed a medal or two as the Aussies say, we’re good at the sitting down sports.)
So what is it that piques our interest? Well, the fact that it takes over a good part of the Thames for a start, and has done since the inaugural meet back in 1829 (well, to be fair it was pretty sporadic until 1856, but who’s counting?) And it’s still incredibly popular: over a quarter of a million people turn up to the banks of the Thames, and a further 15 million watch on TV (more than Corrie.) with Cambridge having clinched victory 81 times, and Oxford 79, itâ€™s a pretty close run thing. The closest run of all, however was back in 1877, when the race was declared a dead heat. This sounds to good to be true, and it fact it probably was: the judge, Jon Phelps was over 70 and blind in one eye (great for depth of view.)
A more recent debacle was in 2012, when the race was stopped following a protestor jumping into the Thames near Chiswick Bridge, and later received ten months in prison for his trouble. The best of the lot, though, is 1912, when both boats sank.
The boat race reminds us of a simpler time, of refinement; genteel manners and straw boaters – so this got me thinking about some wonderfully nostalgic acts that ooze class, and would fit in perfectly with any long lunch by the water. Why not take five minutes to explore our dinner jazz favourites Sharp 7; the achingly suave Benoit and his Orchestra and our resident violinist Eloise Prouse?
As the long, hot summer evenings are finally approaching, now’s the time to match them with the perfect summer entertainment.