Expensive illogicalities and inefficiencies do not worry the monsters of American bureaucracy, and the taxpayers are enthusiastic and eager to spend fortunes in the name of fighting crime. Prison places cost the US taxpayer more than university places. The American belief that prisons are the best way to combat crime has led to an incarceration rate that is at least five times that of almost any industrialised nation. Overcrowding is endemic. Conditions are appalling, varying from windowless, sensory-deprived isolation to barren futile brutality.
Dialogue in the works of autobiography is quite naturally viewed with some suspicion. How on earth can the writer remember verbatim conversations that happened fifteen, twenty, fifty years ago? But 'Are you playing, Bob?' is one of only four sentences I have ever uttered to any Arsenal player (for the record the others are 'How's the leg, Bob?' to Bob Wilson, recovering from injury the following season; 'Can I have your autograph, please?' to Charlie George, Pat Rice, Alan Ball and Bertie Mee; and, well, 'How's the leg, Brian?' to Brian Marwood outside the Arsenal club shop when I was old enough to know better) and I can therefore vouch for its absolute authenticity.
Archie Henderson has won no awards, written no books and never played any representative sport. He was an under-11 tournament-winning tennis player as a boy, but left the game when he discovered rugby where he was one of the worst flyhalves he can remember. This did not prevent him from having opinions on most things in sport. His moment of glory came in 1970 when he predicted correctly as it turned out that Griquas would beat the Blue Bulls (then still the meekly named Noord-Transvaal) in the Currie Cup final. It is something for which he has never been forgiven by the powers-that-be at Loftus. Archie has played cricket in South Africa and India and gave the bowling term military medium a new and more pacifist interpretation. His greatest ambition was to score a century on Llandudno beach before the tide came in.