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.