9 minutes estimated reading time
The racket sport padel seems to have got the zeitgeist, if not the player numbers yet. We haven’t really seen a surge in sports fads since the 1980s. During that time skateboarding rose from a peak in the late 1970s, to a more stable underground sport that we have today. The closure of a squash racquet factory in Cambridge, saw the sport globalise manufacture and playing. In a few short years rackets went from gut strings and ash wood frames to synthetic strings and carbon fibre composite rackets. It was as much a symbol of the striving business man as the Filofax or the golf bag. Interest was attracted by a large amount of courts and racket technology that greatly improved the game.
Squash had its origins in the late 19th century and took the best part of a century to reach its acme in the cultural zeitgeist. Skateboarding started in the late 1940s and took a mere 30 years to breakout. Padel falls somewhere between the two. Padel was invented in 1969. But it took COVID-19 to drive its popularity in Europe and North America.
There is a new world professional competition circuit for 2024. And it has attracted the interest of court developers looking to cater to what they believe is latent consumer demand.
Finally, you can get three padel courts in the space for one tennis court. More on the padel gold rush from the FT.
The challenge is if padel is just a fad, or has it longevity? Skateboarding is popular, but many councils didn’t see the benefit of supporting skate parks built in the 1970s around the country. Squash still has its fans but doesn’t have the same popularity that it enjoyed in the 1980s.
How to play padel
More on the basics of how to play padel here.
“He Always Talks About the West”-Former University President Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison in China and Who’s Afraid of Chizuko Ueno? The Party’s Ongoing Counteroffensive against Feminism in the Xi Era don’t inspire investor confidence in China
China’s Xi goes full Stalin with purge – POLITICO – the narrative feels wrong around this article, even though the purge is on
Firewater | No Mercy / No Malice – on young people and risk
What’s it like being a Disney adult? – The Face – this is much more common in Hong Kong, but then people had annual passes to go there. I found it interesting that The Face othered it as a sub-culture
Vittles Reviews: There Is Always Another Province – Province-chasing isn’t just a Western phenomenon; China is still so vast that when the barbecued food of Xinjiang, one of China’s border provinces, showed up in a former sausage shop on Walworth Road at Lao Dao, it didn’t need to open to the general public for months, choosing only to take bookings via Chinese social media. The paradox is that the success of regional Chinese restaurants has created a Western audience which wants more, but that same success has allowed these restaurants to bypass those customers altogether
Television: one of the most audacious pranks in history was hidden in a hit TV show for years. – Watch enough episodes of Melrose Place and you’ll notice other very odd props and set design all over the show. A pool float in the shape of a sperm about to fertilize an egg. A golf trophy that appears to have testicles. Furniture designed to look like an endangered spotted owl. It turns out all of these objects, and more than 100 others, were designed by an artist collective called the GALA Committee. For three years, as the denizens of the Melrose Place apartment complex loved, lost, and betrayed one another, the GALA Committee smuggled subversive leftist art onto the set, experimenting with the relationship between art, artist, and spectator. The collective hid its work in plain sight and operated in secrecy. Outside of a select few insiders, no one—including Aaron Spelling, Melrose’s legendary executive producer—knew what it was doing. The project was called In the Name of the Place. It ended in 1997. Or, perhaps, since the episodes are streamable, it never ended
China’s accelerating rise in consumer defaults | FT – inspite of the social credit scores and lack of opportunity to declare personal bankruptcy
Audi to build all-electric rugged 4×4 to rival Defender and G-Class | CAR Magazine – differentiating from the SUV field. Interesting that the Land Cruiser and Ineos doesn’t make the comparison list, yet the G-Wagen does.
Are fashion’s buying practices really improving? | Vogue Business – buyers think that they are taking a long term more collaborative approach, supplier feedback reflects an unchanged reality
Blockchains are entering their “broadband era” | Visa – I was surprised by the amount of faith that Visa has in the future of Blockchain technology
Rode acquire Mackie | Sound On Sound – this is big for podcasters, but also for artists that record in their own studios. Mackie mixers have powered the home grown set-ups of artists like The Prodigy, The Crystal Method, Brian Eno, Daft Punk and Orbital.
China e-cigarette titan behind ‘Elf Bar’ floods the US with illegal vapes | Reuters – In the United States, the firm simply ignored regulations on new products and capitalized on poor enforcement. It has flooded the U.S. market with flavored vapes that have been among the best-selling U.S. brands, including Elf Bar, EBDesign and Lost Mary. In the United Kingdom, by contrast, Zhang has complied with regulations requiring lower nicotine levels and government registration while building an unmatched distribution network — and driving a surge in youth vaping
Hong Kong’s first ‘patriots-only’ district council poll reflects political tale of two cities, as some eagerly rush to vote and others shy away | South China Morning Post – Hong Kong on election day splits into two camps, with one eager to vote out of civic duty and others giving polling stations wide berth over lack of political diversity. ‘I thought more people would come and vote because there has been more publicity,’ one elector says after discovering sleepy atmosphere at local polling station – the question is will Beijing take anything from this voter turn out? Does it signal suppressed but indignant separatists, or Hong Kongers who are more focused on prosperity and weekend Netflix? If they suspect the former then the security situation is likely to get more dire
“Hoarder Hygge” is the Anti-Zen – Matt Alt’s Pure Invention – this applies equally well to Hong Kong as well, presumably for similar reasons
Inside Louis Vuitton’s Hong Kong spectacle | Vogue Business – While Hong Kong is gradually recovering from the pandemic lockdowns, growth in Mainland China is slowing. According to HSBC estimates, luxury sales there are expected to grow 5 per cent in 2024, a sharp deceleration compared with 2023’s projected 18 per cent.
Behind the Pop Culture Roots of Pepsi’s Modern Retro Redesign – so Pepsi’s own advertising over 30 years had less impact than films from the 1980s and 1990s with younger consumers – that’s a damning indictment if ever I heard one
Disney global ads president: expect streaming consolidation – The Media Leader – and presumably they think Disney will be a winner?
When My Dog Died, I Turned to a Specific Image for Comfort. Many Do. | Slate – how the idea of the ‘rainbow bridge’ heaven analogue for dogs came about.
McDonald’s Launching Spinoff Restaurant Chain Called CosMc’s | Today – I’ll write more about Cosmc’s once I have collected my thoughts on it.
Stealing AI models
Documentary on the state of AI
Chipmaking Amid War in Israel – by Nicholas Welch – everything is political.