If we believe the noise, funerals are now social commodities; the thing to be seen at; a veritable magnet for the great and the beautiful.

Facile, much.

What's next, a menu of acceptable reasons for not attending what is, after all, a way for family and close friends to farewell a loved one?

Child's school concert - acceptable.
Business trip to The Hague - acceptable.
Filming blockbuster in overseas location - acceptable.
Wasn't really that close to deceased - tricky one, please explain in writing.
Golf tournament committed to months ago - TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!


No, it's not good enough to grieve (or not grieve as the case may be) in your own way. A public show of sombreness is the only meaningful, mortal currency.

You have to wonder how Lorraine, Audrey and the Crowe entourage feel about their beloved husband, son and friend's send-off being turned into an exercise in mate-spotting. Or how they feel about it being used to have a cheap dig at those who can't or, just as validly, don't want to go.


Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis made a splash this week as he continues to live his life as an extended confessional.

Fair play to him as well, although he picked an easy target. Few many people would be willing to go into bat for the porn industry. Not publicly anyway. (Except, maybe, former Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui who you will read about later in this column).

It might be time for the classy middle-distance runner to set his sights back on his other great crusade - ridding the athletics world of drugs cheats.

The crimes keep on coming. This week Olympic 1500m silver medallist Gamze Bulut has been provisionally suspended after abnormalities were found in her blood samples from 2011, 2012 and 2013.

In the same event, compatriot Asli Cakir Alptekin has been stripped of her gold and banned for eight years.

The 1988 100m men's final is widely regarded to be the 'dirtiest' race in history, but this would be battling with it down the back straight of infamy.

Nataliya Kareiva of Belarus and Russian athlete Yekaterina Kostetskaya, who finished seventh and ninth respectively, have since been banned by the athletics' governing body the IAAF for biological passport abnormalities.

Ethiopia-born Swede Abeba Aregawi, who finished fifth in London, was recently suspended after testing positive for a banned substance.

Tatyana Tomashova, the two-time world champ who finished fourth in London, served a ban after she was caught substitutiing her urine for a clean batch before a doping test.

You couldn't make this up and you'd be naïve to think the women's 1500m was an outlier. The chances are the athletics programme at the 2012 Olympics was horrendously compromised by large-scale cheating.

As an attendee of some superbly staged Olympics, including London, I feel a sense of betrayal every time I read about a cheat beng busted long after the event is finished - so imagine how the "clean" athletes lined up alongside the dirty ones feel.

Actually, you don't have to wonder. Here's Lisa Dobriskey, a Brit who crossed the line 10th behind several cheats.

"I'll probably get into trouble for saying this, but I don't believe I'm competing on a level playing field," she said in the immediate aftermath of the result.

She has subsequently said she feels "betrayed" by the lack of action by authorities and it is hard to blame her.

Willis has been outspoken on these matters in the past and needs to be again in the lead-up to Rio. It might be a forlorn hope, but perhaps it is only peer shame - like that Willis felt when his porn secret was exposed - that will force these dopers to come clean.


In a week where Peyton Manning retired to become firmly part of the unsolvable conversation piece - who is the greatest quarterback of all-time? - it is worth pulling out this, his best interview.


I'm buying... Whatever it is Cameron Brown is taking
I know next to nothing about Ironman other than it is my idea of hell and that those that follow the sport are close to evangelical in their devotion. I also know that at 43, Brown is not just holding off Father Time, but beating it with a big stick.

I'm selling... the Leicester City story
For the simple reason that I'm so late to the party and instinct tells me that by jumping on the Claudio Ranieri bandwagon, it'll only go tits-up. They don't have a particularly tough run-in, but neither do Arsenal and Manchester City. I can't afford the emotional investment in a fairytale right now.

It's an oldie but in this week of all weeks, it seems a good time to resurface this gem. Hideki, please meet Nick W.


Yeah, so the whole Super Rugby multi bonanza ran out of steam after one week, but the Lions beating the Chiefs away from home... seriously? Now is not the time to lose faith.

Last week: The Chiefs and Sharks at home, the Stormers away. That Chiefs scrum just lost me a $23.40 collect.

This week: Another three-headed rugby multi. This time I'm picking the Blues at home to continue to pile on the woe for the Hurricanes; the Highlanders to finally prick the Lions bubble, also at home; and Vern Cotter's Scotland to surge to victory over France at Murrayfield. That would gross a cool $40.30.

Total spent: $60 Total collected: $39.35