Sunday, 30 November 2008

The Horror

Still can't quite believe that about a dozen lads can cause complete mayhem in a city for the best part of three days.

But there you have it Mumbai is living proof of shock value.

And England's cricketers are unsure as to whether to continue their tour of India. With a load of chaps targeting westerners, it would seem a tad dodgy.

But to rehash what a few politicians like to say from behind their bullet-proofed lifestyles: "We mustn't let them affect our way of life."

Since cricket isn't really my way of life I don't think I'm in any position to be too critical either way.

But if a few chaps can carve up a major industrial city for a few days, then hacking up blokes in white on a playing field will seem like a turkey shoot.

No news yet as to whether the football team won or lost. My left calf is feeling better. But then I haven't been doing anything remotely athletic on it.

I emerged from about 30 minutes of yoga this evening to try and get the boy to wear some slippers. It wasn't a success. He continues to rampage around the flat in bare feet making a terrible noise that probably infuriates the upstairs neighbour - Darth as I dubbed him in one of my journeys into the dark side of my humour.

The idea of putting the boy into slippers is essentially to stop Darth Neighbour from banging on his floor to show his displeasure at the levels of noise emanating from our flat.

And he might have a point when I was trying to be at one with my inner energies, the middle beast and the boy were making a noise and a half in the bath.

Talk about pouring cold water over my moment.

Anyway at the dinner table, the eldest said: "You're not very calm when you've finished doing your yoga, daddy."

I said: "On the contrary I'm calm otherwise I would have beaten the boy's bottom blue and sent you to your room without finishing your supper for eating with your elbows on the table."

She was more circumspect for the rest of the evening.

Friday, 28 November 2008

The Bike

While wending my way to work on the trusty steed that is my bike, I thought I out to take it in for a quick check up - a winter overhaul.

I had this brainwave as I strode into a cafe at Pont de L'Alma. It seemed the right thing to do given the turn of events with the weather.

I asked the waiter for a creme and he went off to get me one. After he'd brought it to me, I thought I might not have enough loose change to pay.

As I opened my wallet I realised that I had left my bank card in the back pocket of my jeans. Sure enough I didn't have enough cash for a creme but had enough to cover une noisette.

I called the waiter over and explained the predicament. Don't worry was his general tone, I'll see you this one. The fact that I ws in my cycling gear and looking a bit of a vagabond didn't enthuse me.

But I promised to return and settle up. If you do that would be great but if you don't no matter, was the gist of what he said.

I guess I was lucky.

Needless to say the puncture happened on the way home from the radio station. Talk about being in tune with the bike out of touch with the everyday.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

The Strike III

Vive la France. Some of the teachers at school were on strike over class sizes. It meant that the middle child had a full day but the eldest was off all day.

I want to thank the teaching unions for giving me the chance to bond anew with my nine year old.

We took her brother to creche after stopping off for a coffee at Chez Prune where she ordered a chocolat viennois. I thought she asked for a grenadine.

I deposited the boy at the creche while she took the chance to sit up at the bar on a stool and then we went north to La Villette for a walk round the park and to play on some of the games there.

I watched the keep fit contingent jealously. They were able to stride around the park and exploit the various horizontal and lateral bars. Nursing a claquage is ever so tough.

It was cold and so we repaired to the Cafe de La Musique where after tapping into the wifi the Iphone weather function told us it was cold outside. It's brilliant technology.

This seemed to please the eldest and we came back home with her saying it was the best morning ever.

I back the teachers' strike.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Wandering

It's like a new life. With three weeks out to contemplate I can do things that I don't usually do like go out and watch football and have a couple of glasses of wine. This is what I call high living.

Not sure that it's good for my head. Especially if the boy wakes up in a couple of hours. Was out watching the UEFA Champions League with my mate Neil and we saw the teams do the things they were supposed to do. Home to find a house at rest and I can watch Season 9 of Seinfeld. The football might have been so-so on TV, I might not be able to play for a few weeks but Seinfeld of an evening is a esult.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Visit

The good thing is it isn't serious. I have what the doctor called un claquage musculaire - a muscle strain. This effectively means nothing resembling competitive sports for three to four weeks.

The doc said I can go swimming, do the yoga and cycling. But anything shocking is out. I find it shocking. I said to the doctor I found it difficult to actually go to the surgery because I knew there was nothing serious wrong with me. Nothing like last November when I was truly ailing.

In fact all of us were ailing. That was terrible. But at least I know what I must and must not do. So now it's back to watching football rather than watching it and going out and playing it.

Have to look at my own approach. Never thought tennis was that dangerous. Well I'll have something to mull over during the next few weeks.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

The Shaken

One of the upsides of producing the first two programmes as opposed to doing the sport is the sudden instant expertise that one has to don.

The boy has helped this awareness. Saturday night/Sunday morning was a chucklefest between 2-4am. I think he eventually went to sleep at about 3am ish but I was left more or less wide awake.

Perhaps it was the anxiety of responsibility. Whatever. I listened to the BBC world service and by the time I reawoke I was au fait with lots of things.

Producing is quite compatible with child rearing or at least chilling out with a child with an ear infection.

I have two days off to nurse my calf and attend to my administration. Might even go and see the new Bond film on a matinee. Now that's what I call a treat.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

The Strain

It was clearly too much for the system. A night of punctuated sleep and a morning tennis game. I was merrily tripping across the cout when I felt a twinge in my calf. The string of my racquet went in sympathy. And so I have a racquet to repair and a left calf with clear problems.

It was just as well that I had to work this morning. Maybe I was putting too much into the tennis as I knew I wasn't going to be hiking up and down a football field.

Whatever the reasons, I don't think I'll be out there for a couple of weeks. What a shame. Just as the team hit top spot. Just as I felt I was playing well.

I never thought tennis could be that dodgy. Well not the way I play tennis.

Obviously wrong.

The poor night of sleep was due to the boy having an ear infection. During the really bleak period he used to get these once a month but of late has been better.

When he went to the doctors a few weeks ago for a check up, she said that he should go and have his ears checked just to make sure he was OK.

She gave him a jab and said he'll have a fever next week. Sure enough he got a fever and an ear infection. Well at least he won't get something far worse.

In a way I've been afflicted too but it's hard to pull in the sympathy because mine was self inflicted. And I dare say that if something went wrong on a tennis court then it would have gone wrong on a football field.

So at least I saved myself the trip of getting up early and getting injured.

So now it's back to public transport and that means I'll probably catch all kinds of people's splutterings. I was just about to assert that it's much healthier cycling to work. True but then the way people drive I might not play football ever again.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

The Meltdown

I was gearing up for Saturday. Mainly to see if last week was one of those out of body experience flukes or perhaps the start of a surge of consistency.

Will have to wait for another week at least. There is a staffing crisis at work and the boss has asked me to produce the international programmes on Saturday and Sunday rather than my usual jaunt on sport.

Since she was preparing the Christmas schedules when someone called in sick I thought it the better part of self-interest to say yes to her request.

But at what cost to my footballing soul?

I was going to console myself with tennis on Friday but my tennis partner has an ailing child and the boy here is suffering. So the whole end of week sports fest seems to be going down the tubes.

Looks like I'll be dipping into the Beaujolais nouveau with a vengeance this weekend to drown my sorrows rather than celebrate great sporting feats.

Monday, 17 November 2008

The 1939

Given a choice between the Thameslink from north to south London or a Eurostar I have to say the inter city service still gets the nod.

Checking in for the 1939 on Monday night at St Pancras was a far more pleasant experience than the process for the 8.07 from the Gare du Nord.
Maybe because I saw an old mate for a drink before checking in. Maybe because it was probably one of the last drinks I'll be having in Farringdon Road.

The Guardian is moving to swish new offices in a few weeks. All convenient for me as the new era will be at Kings Place just a few minutes from St Pancras. All very cosy for a qucik getaway if I can get that getaway.

Was supposed to hear more about the new era from a line manager on Monday night. But he wasn't at work.

So that was a wasted trip into the pitface. But at least it gave me the chance to saw hello to some of the chums.

And it wasn't a deunct afternoon. Went into the Royal Academy to have a quick view of the Byzantium extravaganza. Lots of icons. Quite gloomy stuff. Upstairs there was more vibrant creations from Joan Miro, Alexander Calder and Georges Braque. All the glories essentially from the Maeght collection from here in Paris.

I might seek out the galleries of an afternoon here. Maeght durch Freude. Obviously trying to get ready for return to sub editing.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Matchday VI Post Mortem

To cut a long story short I played a blinder. Mainly because I was running around like a headless chicken. Not sure where all the energy came from as I didn't go to yoga on Thursday or Friday night. Perhaps it was the anger at missing the classes. I lost my zen and burned it all off. But at the end the teammates appreciated my lone striker role defending from the front.

Anyway I scored the first goal. Nothing spectacular. I hadn't actually had any contact with the ball and it came over between two defenders. The goalkeeper and them seemed to be all dithering and it would have been an insult not to slot the ball in. And I'm a courteous kind of chap.

Duly piqued they responded in a rage hitting the post a couple of times, the bar once before equalising at the end of the first half. It was warranted.

We scored a second mid way through the second half and holding on was quite frankly a battle. But it happened and everyone was mightily relieved to win. Though it wouldn't have been an injustice if they'd drawn level.

I was talking to the opposition team captain over a whisky and coke afterwards and he spoke about the difficulty of having 15 players and making sure everyone got a game. I felt like Sybil Fawlty and I would have said: 'Ooh I know. Ooh I know."

But I don't think it would have translated.

For our part we started with 13 but Renon the captain retweaked his thigh strain and the left back went off with a groin problem. Down to the bare bones of 11, every time one of our men went down I winced.

It's just as well one of my team mates gave me a lift right to the radio station. If he'd left me at a metro station I'd have probably been too dazed to end up at work.

Like I said. A blinder.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Matchday VI Preview

Nearly never made the preview which would have been a bad precedent. Have been trying to get the boy to sleep. He's got a new bed. The child craves a daddy's hug. But a daddy's frame is not meant to crunch into the bed. Well I did my time and am now stretching out the affllicted limb as I type.

Off down to Plessis Robinson in the morn. I looked to get there by public transport but in the end gave up and phoned up a team mate whom I shall meet at Porte de Montreuil at 8.30am.

Bad news on the tennis front. Dear old Roger went down in three sets at the Masters in Shanghai. Despite the fact that he's very clearly injured I still found it hard to take.

Just cannot see him doing brilliantly next year. The youngsters are on the rise and he'll never win Roland Garros. I was there on Thursday night for the launch of an exhibiton about Venus Williams.

A photographer has taken her in various poses and the results are daubed over a section of the Tenniseum. The photographer Koto Bolofo was very jolly and he spoke at length about the experiences. I'm going to do a piece for this weekend and might even extend it as a Christmas feature.

That's what I call enterprising. Shame it's too late to go and watch Star Trek.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The Fallen

Ninety years since the end of the first world war. It was a day off today and I heard the lads at tennis talk about the fact that this is the first time in France that there aren't any veterans from that particular conflict around at the commemorations.

That had to happen at one point. I've always been mightily impressed by the generations that went to war. Moreso because I tend to shy away from violence. But then I guess it was a different mentality at the time. Logic would have said you have to overcome those kind of inhibitions because an aggressor is at the door.

Anyway I won't dive into poetry. They were all heroes.

As for tennis practice. There might be an improvement on the service in the offing. It's all to do with the acceleration behind the head.

We shall see.

The trip to La Villette was joyous. We all cycled along the cycle paths and took coffee and hot chocolates at Cafe de La Musique. While we were sitting outside waiting for the drinks, the eldest saw one of her classmates and her mother.

They were going to see the Serge Gainsbourg exhibition at La Cite de La Musique and were getting ready to queue.

I looked at this woman and thought I have never seen her outside the school gates. And I think she was looking at me in the same way.

I was informed that she doesn't take the child to school. The kid goes on her own.

Independent stuff.

Monday, 10 November 2008

The Digital Era II

I am not entirely sure how many songs are on the Ipod. But it was quite an easy choice this morning. It was joyously ELO. However the boy wasn't that impressed by Livin' Thing and the rest and wailed for the Scooby Doo DVD.

I left the music running and I prevailed. Wow parental authority. This evening I came back in and put on some Miles Davis. There were no complaints from any of the three children. The eldest two were mopey because I was urging them to get their stuff ready for a bike ride in the morning.

So where will we go? La Villette and the Cafe de la Musique. I won't be taking the Ipod.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

The Digital Era

There's many ways to digitalise the CD collection but doing it while watching the final season of Seinfeld seems idyllic. Writing the blog while having the final season on doesn't really seem to be the correct way to treat the occasional entry.

So I'll be quick.

Dozens of CDs have been put onto an Ipod. This has saved shelf space but it means that I have to reappraise the way I approach listening to music. No longer can I just browse an album but I have to dive into the Ipod and select. It's a different way of selecting by mood.

I have left quite a few CDs on the shelf so perhaps they will satisfy the mood moments. But for feeling chirpy. It's Seinfeld

Friday, 7 November 2008

The Futurists

A free Friday gave me carte blanche to savour the wonderfulness of the city. As I pedalled down to the fifth arrondissement I thought it was about time I changed the location of my bank. The Societe Generale in Rue Monge was OK when I lived in the area. But that was a lifetime ago.

It seemed silly to get involved with bureaucracy and change but every time I want to transfer cash from Paris to London it entails going into the bank in person - hence the bike ride.

But as the bank is near Piscine Pontoise the whole thing can be wrapped in the daily exercise routine.

However with the wonders of technology, I am - so the bank teller told me - able to transfer via the internet. Wow. No need to change banks.

It seemed apt then that the exhibition at the Pompidou was Le Futurisme à Paris.

I did not know that it's nearly 100 years since Le Figaro published Filippo Marinetti's Futurist manifesto on its front page.

Boy were they angry young chaps excoriating cubists and the past and wanting to venerate the modern world and machines.

Well I'd personally love to venerate all over a Porsche but until I win the lottery it will have to be the bike and public transport.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The New Season II

Well America has a new president. And it is so momentous that I even managed to wake up at 4am on Wednesday morning and listen in to Barack Obama's first speech as president elect. Quite something.

That was during a trip to England.

Back in Paris this morning I was listening to the BBC World Service and it really didn't stop going on about Obama being black. It was as if if it was unmentionable before the vote and now it's all out in the open. Nothing but stuff about segregation, racism and so on. To the point when I thought the only way to deal with being up at 3.15am on a Thursday morning is to watch the Rockford Files.

That was much lighter.

I'd been turfed out of bed by the boy who decided that he needed to be cosy between his parents but I ended up with a foot in my mouth. I felt it better to retire to the sofa to radio myself up.

But then that plan went down the tubes.

I was thinking of dipping into my new Laurel and Hardy collection of DVDs. A chance purchase at the former Virgin megastore on Oxford Street. I didn't though. It was the right move as it's not settling stuff. Ridiculous to the point of brilliant. The box set has 68 hours of features.

It's going to be a joyous winter.