TOUCH­STONES

Inside Sport - - INSIDER - RUGBYLEAGU­E,ROCK’N’ROLL,THEROADAND­ME BYSTEVEMAS­CORD,STOKEHILLP­RESS,¢¦ . § – Jeff Cen­ten­era ¥¥¥¥¥

Steve Mas­cord forged a rep­u­ta­tion as rugby league’s in­de­fati­ga­ble new­shound, a jour­nal­is­tic fig­ure so in­deli­ble that when Rus­sell Crowe had to por­tray one in the film State Of Play, he based it on him. For Mas­cord’s first book, he in­tended high­con­cept – for ev­ery week of the year, a game of league, a gig and all the mileage that en­tailed. He ended up go­ing far be­yond his ini­tial premise.

Touch­stones in­stead gets to the heart of how our favoured game in­ter­sects with our un­fold­ing lives, in real time. In one sense, it could be any abid­ing in­ter­est – and Mas­cord use­fully par­al­lels his league ob­ses­sive­ness with his pas­sion for hard rock and hair metal. But his think­ing about the game has al­ways been any­thing but con­ven­tional, a point ham­mered home by a tour de force con­trar­ian take about Ori­gin, which he com­pares to your favourite pub band re­leas­ing a ra­dio hit.

Tak­ing his cues from the likes of Chuck Kloster­man’s dis­sec­tions of pop cul­ture, as well as An­drew Mueller’s It’s Too Late To Die Young Now, Mas­cord has also writ­ten an in­tensely per­sonal book. He writes of grow­ing up adopted, and the self-dis­cov­ery in­volved. He sets up his al­ter ego, An­drew John Lan­g­ley (his birth name), which af­fords him a di­a­logue to un­der­stand why it is what in­ter­ested him so. Even if you have zero in­ter­est in the Illawarra Steel­ers or Guns ’N’ Roses, this is a great read.

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