Monday, 24 January 2011

Going Courtauld

There's something wonderful when art and exercise unite. The Courtauld Gallery provides such an opportunity. The rooms are at the top of a grand staircase. Of course there's a lift but I don't take lifts.

The pictures range from the Impressionists to Fauvism and quite a bit of 18th century. I was particularly taken by a portrait of two brothers 'in the gracefully relaxed attitude recommended by the contemporary manuals of deportment'.

I might adopt the phrase. No, I will adopt the phrase.

Despite the relentlessly grey skies in London today, it's mild. And I feel unusually exhilarated. It might have something to do with being shown how to use the self checkout facility at Sainsburys in Balham. It might have something to do with the double machiatto at Caffe Nero a few minutes later.

I used to go to the cafe to take a break while I was sorting out my dad's things after he died. That was the summer of 2009 and 18 months on the sorting out still hasn't finished.

Certainly isn't helped by heading off to art galleries. But I feel I have to get a helping of art into the system before voyaging to Sudan.

The radio station has decided to save a few pennies by sending me to the tournament to cover the knockout stages. So while my French colleagues get to peruse the group stages, I fly in for the adrenalin rush.

This means I am only there for 10 days and I stay in Khartoum rather than having to flirt with Wad Medani.

Fine by me. It also gives me a few more weeks of football. The team was taken apart on Saturday. It was not pleasant. We were missing the star defender and star midfielder and there were a couple of walking wounded. The skipper says that was no excuse.

Obviously have to put it right on Saturday. My preparation for that?

Lots of tennis.


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Suddenly Sudan

Prospect rising of travelling to Sudan to cover the Cup of Nations for players based in Africa. It takes a month for the visa to come through and costs 80 euros. You would have thought they could get a visa together more quickly than that. But that's the way they do things.

Have to wait and see if the radio station bosses are up for sending me there. Get those sunglasses ready.

Lost Horizons

I finished reading The Good Soldier and had put Utopia in the bag. But I seem to have travelled to England without it. Lost Utopia seems a fitting symbol for the place.

The prices have gone up on transport. Tax on goods have also risen. It will be a more expensive place to be. Not that it was cheap before. Oh well. That's how it goes in austerity Britain.

I was impressed by the Sunday papers who told us that some of the leading politicians were wintering at £8,000 a week chalets in exclusive Swiss resorts.

But it seems right that if you have the money you must spend it. That stimulates growth. Stimulates resentment more like it. But since the people voted for these rich people to make us poor, you cannot get too irate.

Utopia will truly be lost if there was a revolution. Perhaps utopia will be gained with the revelations that suffering is going to be for a swathe of the population. And perhaps the people who didn't expect to be hit will reassess their choices.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year 2011

All of a sudden I had a birthday and was older. Well not so much of a sudden. It was 364 days in the offing. So it cam. People came to my home, ate and drank. We went to the home of some friends and then we ate and drank. My head was a bit furry on New Year's Day. I guess that is a good sign.

L'Equipe had a DVD of the Barcelona Real Madrid match from a few weeks ago. I got a mate to buy it for me while I was in London. I watched it on the train this afternoon on the way to London.

Very good stuff. The fare on TV in England by contrast was awful. I think I shall just insert a Thunderbirds DVD next time there's a match on tele.

How awful then it must be to watch the stuff I play on Saturday mornings. But it's not the watching, it's the playing.