June 25, 2009

Steven Wells: a few memories of a unique and acerbic voice: Steven Wells, the Guardian columnist whose biting British-observer-of-U.S.-sports-culture pieces provided fodder for some lively SportsFilter threads (see, for example, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) and has to be the most-linked author in SportsFilter history, passed away on Tuesday after a battle with cancer (the treatment of which is chronicled here).

posted by holden to other at 03:21 PM - 9 comments

I read his goodbye today and I can't get past the eyes in the photo. Christ, I've become a maudlin sunuvabitch.

posted by yerfatma at 05:06 PM on June 25, 2009

I genuinely do feel like this is a greater loss than most. I just fucking love his stuff. RIP, big guy.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:24 PM on June 25, 2009

This is just too sad. We'll miss him - he wrote about sport with a love and a passion.

posted by owlhouse at 05:29 PM on June 25, 2009

This from a commenter in the Grauniad:

A long time ago, Swells reviewed my band in the NME. He said we were "the worst band in the world ever. Except Suede." At the time I was quite bitter but he was almost certainly right. Many years later, I found myself in the position of subbing some of his weekly sport columns on this site. An evil side of me thought that I could get my revenge by mercilessly chopping his work apart. Except it turned out there was never anything I could bring myself to remove.

posted by owlhouse at 12:34 AM on June 26, 2009

The web exposed him to an entirely new audience, which responded as a previous generation of NME readers did to his writing there: with offence. Except that those older readers, grown up now, would show up in the comments sections -- here, the Graun, elsewhere -- and say "oh, nice one, Swells". Even if they thought he was full of shit.

You could say, uncharitably, that he excelled at trolling people. But not always, and even when he did, it was the kind of string-pulling that actually forced you to confront your preconceptions. His sports writing, which really only began with his move to the US, definitely fitted that.

Fuck. Have to say this means more to me, as an NME reader during his heyday, than the other two notable departures of the day. Though you have to wonder if he had the goods on that, given the last line of the last column he filed.

posted by etagloh at 01:57 AM on June 26, 2009

For all of the links, I don't think I looked deeply into Wells until this went and happened to him. Brilliant writing -- I think our best sportswriters in the U.S. have trouble matching up for theirs. Thanks for the link.

posted by rcade at 10:52 AM on June 26, 2009

Dear god June 25th was fucking shit!

Every time someone notable dies like this I think "Why the fuck has cancer not been cured?" Remember as kid hearing how cancer would be cured by the time I was an adult. What a bunch of horseshit:(

posted by Drood at 04:13 PM on June 26, 2009

It's a damn shame.

posted by Fat Buddha at 08:36 AM on June 28, 2009

Dragged me back to Sportsfilter Swells. A real star. So long and thanks for all the memories.

posted by squealy at 10:24 AM on June 28, 2009

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