Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Brawl in a Phone Box

On the way to some work in Cardiff last week, and dropped in at Bristol's WelshBack Club to catch some of the encounter between BristolPro Build and TWP St Georges Hill in the Premier Squash League. The second string match was fascinating - Mohamed El Shorbagy was brilliant, erratic and loopy, while Tom Richards was organised, efficient and deliberate. Shorbagy has been active at a high level on the International Tournament circuit and seemed a bit stiff and tired, but nevertheless has new reserves of pace and quality to fall back on, and this just turned the match in his favour in an entertaining 5-setter. Some of his shots were breathtaking, and one in particular - a topspin backhand volley kill that simply skidded out of the nick!

The final match of the evening, the first string match between Adrian Grant and Daryl Selby, was full of superb squash. There was also, initially at least, humorous banter from Daryl as he teased the officials over their decisions. But Adrian Grant was moving so smoothly, retrieving so well, and applying such consistent pressure, that Selby quickly became tired and frustrated, and began a rather ugly campaign of disruptive let-seeking. Grant was playing well within himself, and should really have won the game in three, but weak refereeing allowed Selby's ridiculous claims of interference to succeed, and he managed to spin it out to four. Time after time, when the ball was buried in the back, Selby contrived to wrap his racquet arm around Grant rather than just going to get the ball. It was blatant gamesmanship, born of fatigue and despair, and only made possible by the indulgence of the referee. Amazingly, Grant kept his cool, and his sense of humour, only once popping out of the court to ask the referee "Haven't you worked it out yet? You're being mugged!". Anyway, he always knew he was going to win.

Normally we're keen for the matches to go on a bit longer, in the PSL seats, but in this case we were all eager to see it over, as it was a depressing and faintly disgusting spectacle. Perhaps that's one of the reasons we'll never get to the Olympics. Yes, squash is not the most televisable spectator sport for those who don't know the game, and that may be one factor working against us. But I suspect that there may be a more compelling argument against us, which is that too many squash matches lack the nobility, dignity and morally uplifting quality demanded by the Olympic ideal, and resemble nothing so much as a brawl in a phone box.

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My dark and hilarious novel Idristan is still for sale on Amazon.  Here are some free excerpts.  Happy reading!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Bass Beginnings

Here's a story about how I learned to love the double bass...

Friday, 1 January 2010

Nick's Bass Journal

Tips on working for singers

Bill Le Sage

Bill le Sage Interview

Happy New Year!

Weather Report

Here is the weather
For the Arts in your area
The outlook is dark
And is getting much hairier

Olympians are cool
Their games need subsidising
The Arts are now iced
And the tide of tosh is rising

Playwrights and poets
Will feel the cold bitterer
Shakespeare's left the room
His replacement is a twitterer

Bands of low pleasure
Bring gig fogs and session mists
Tributes, pastiches,
By foolish impressionists

They've issued for Musos
A severe no gigs warning
Eat dry bread by night
Sing the Blues every morning

My Mum was a Diva
But now they have sacked her
For failing to impress
In the first round of X Factor

So goodbye small jazz clubs
Fare thee well Covent Garden
Philistine New Labour
Is our cultural Bin Laden

With their freezing storm
Of petty legislation
They petrify the Arts
And stupefy the Nation

Artists, that's your lot
You've had your chips, and double!
When the snow is round your ears
Your bollocks are in trouble

Here is the weather
For the Arts in your area
The outlook is dark
And is getting much hairier

© Nick Weldon December 2009

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