Sunday, 9 September 2007

Is money important?

After Friday night’s atrocity in which the French rugby team lost to Argentina, L’Equipe could at least congratulate the country’s top footballers on it’s front page on Sunday morning

They drew 0-0 in Milan against Italy on Saturday night in the Euro 2008 qualifiers and so France remains top of Group B going into Wednesday’s match against Scotland who have themselves leapfrogged Italy after their 3-1 win over Lithuania.

With the country's pride restored I just hope that Scotland don't come along and puncture the fragile sporting ego in Wednesday's match.

I would go and watch that but I'm more than likely going to view England against Russia.

I usually see these games with my mate Neil and they're really just a front for an evening of chilling out and catching up over a few glasses of wine.

We've seen some great games together in a variety of quite awful bars over the years. Neil somehow manages to find the most lurid establishments but then that's not surprising as he's an architect.

But that's for Paris. The Eurostar was unusually quiet on Sunday morning. I guess everyone is back from holiday and few people are doing their weekend breaks at the moment.

There were no British Sunday papers in the frequent traveller's lounge at the Gare du Nord. So I spent the train ride watching Isabelle Huppert as the career investigating judge in L'Ivresse du Pouvoir.
Just love Claude Chabrol.

Even the publicity for the film www.livressedupouvoir is quite stylish.

Must admit though I was waiting for the bloodbath.

It's a bit like a Tom Cruise movie. The main suspense is.......When is he going to run?

I'm going to try and see the theatre troupe Complicite at the Barbican in London. I've been a fan of theirs since the days when they were Theatre de Complicite.

And I feel the same way in their plays. Apart from the panoply of philosophical ideas....the question is....When are they going to start climbing the walls?

Actually I like the idea of being a wandering player. While many people have lived past lives as Richard the Lionheart or Florence Nightingale, I think I was an itinerant actor in a past life.

That's why I probably like Molière. Oy Poquelin you might have been the greatest comic writer in the French language but it's your lifestyle that gets big respect.

Complicite really endeared themselves to me when they reworked Der Besuch der alten Dame by the Swiss author and dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt.

Studied that one for German A level and loved it. Seeing The Visit performed on stage with such verve and vitality entrenched it as one my favourite pieces. Can't say the same for L'Ivresse du Pouvoir.

I stepped off the train at the soon to be defunct Waterloo and sauntered to the South Bank. It was a glorious autumn morning. I walked along the embankment past the the already bustling cluster of cafes towards Foyles.

Since my first lesson on Thursday at the Centre de Yoga du Marais, I have decided to read up. Michelle, the teacher, has recommended The Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikacher and as I am supple of mind if not yet quite of limb, I ventured to the bookshop but there I found disappointment.

Didn't have it. Crestfallen, I retraced my footsteps past the now even busier parade of cafes for Waterloo Bridge.

And it was along this stretch that I chanced upon the then highlight of the day. Jeppe Hein's Appearing Rooms. Originally commissioned for the garden of the Villa Manin in Italy, it's an ornamental fountain that combines sculpture, architecture and technology.

That's what the accompanying blurb says. What it means is that there are a series of jets which spurt up every 40 or so seconds for about two minutes locking you in a water room.

And while one room is "closed" another "door" opens and you step in and the "door" closes behind you.

Of course you can be crass and barge right through the door. But you get wet.

It's so simple and compellingly interactive that it was joyous. Especially with all the shrieks. Brilliant. Thinking back about it still brings a smile to my face.

Roger Federer winning his 12th grand slam brought another smile. After my glorious demise at Roland Garros in the journalists' tournament I can now feel his pain at failing to capture the Coupe des Mousquetaires.

Federer was playing the Serb Novak Djokovic in the final of the US Open. I was going to stay at the Guardian and watch the showdown but I decided to go and see the film 12:08 East of Bucharest.

The 12:08 in the title refers to the moment that Romania was freed from dictatorship and communist rule.

Essentially if you weren’t on the streets protesting before this exact time can you claim to have participated in the overthrow?

This is the conundrum posed sixteen years later on a local TV debate in a town ‘somewhere east of Bucharest’.

Cool humour. The film by director Corneliu Porumboiu won the Camera D'or (prize for best first film) at the Cannes film festival in 2006.

I decided not to return to the office to watch the final. I arrived home to find — via BBC Radio Five Live — that the Swiss maestro was two sets ahead and 4-3 up in the third.

Djockovic held for 4-4. Federer moved to 5-4 and the 20-year-old then cracked.

I liked the extravaganza that followed the victory. The stats are radical. It was Federer's 10th straight grand slam final. Of those he's won eight. So I feel privileged that I've been there to see him on the rare occasion of a loss in a grand slam final.

He's now with Roy Emerson on 12 grand slam titles and two behind Pete Sampras. Of course many years ago it was said that Federer was the new Sampras.

But Sampras never won four consecutive US Open crowns, actually no one has since Bill Tilden in 1923. Sampras never won five Wimbledons in a row.

But enough of the antecedents. The MC of the prize giving at Flushing Meadows told Federer and the 23,000 spectators (including his conquered foe) that he'd won a Gas Guzzler XLV410i to carry his shiny US Open trophy and — just as importantly — a winner's cheque for $1.4 million.

While the crowd was swallowing that load of information....the MC added that because Federer had been the most successful player during the north American hard court circuit - the US Open series - he was going to be weighed down with another cheque for $1 million.

Languages have been my skills but even my maths can figure out that Federer will be able to buy lots of lollies and tennis equipment over the next couple of weeks.

Two point four million dollars. As my mum would say: "I'd be happy with the point four million dollars."

If he were my mate his would be the first couple of rounds at the 90-metre champagne bar coming shortly to St Pancras International.

But I know he's the type of bloke who'd be just as happy at a cafe on the South Bank.