InsanityChecker's Blog

My Random Musings And Rants On Life, The Universe And Everything…

My 2013…

So, we wave goodbye to 2013 in a flourish of fireworks and still I’ve not got round to letting the world know (as if it really cares) what I thought about the year that was. So, here it is; in no particular order, with no particular agenda or plan are my thoughts on 2013, some big, some personal, virtually all irrelevant to anyone bar me, but you never know. I read somewhere that people actually read blogs…

– Argo, Life of Pi and Lincoln were amazing films that could easily have graced the Oscar ceremonies of any year. Argo, in particular, was an unheralded gem that fully deserved its success. I never really thought that I would love a film version of Life of Pi as much as I loved the book. I was wrong. Ang Lee, you almost made me cry in a cinema! For those who know me, that is high praise indeed…

-Roger Federer is still the best player to have picked up a tennis raquet, no matter how close Nadal, Djokovic and even Murray think they’re getting. As one of my friends put it, The GOAT will rise again!

-Speaking of GOATs, I think that Brendan Rodgers’ quiet revolution at Liverpool will reap rewards very soon.

-My Wife, Mother and I continue our on/off relationship with each other. The latest situation is that until the last couple of days,  they had hardly shared 5 words with each other throughout the year. My biggest regret of the year is that I haven’t tried hard enough to make it work. To be fair to my Wife, I either need to try harder or call it quits and allow her to move on…

-JJ Abrams to direct a new Star Wars movie! OMG!

-Sir Alex Ferguson finally retired as manager of Manchester United. As much as it pains me to say, I think it beyond argument that he is the greatest manager of all time (although many of my Liverpool supporting brethren will rightly point out that in European terms, Bob Paisley was more successful). Whilst I suspect that, given time, David Moyes will achieve some success, I also think he is in an invidious position and will always live in the shadow of Sir Alex. But I think this would be true whoever the successor is. My personal prediction is that Man U will go at least 2 seasons without adding to their trophy haul. Ironically, I can see Moyes’s successor at Everton winning a least 1 piece of silverware in that period.

-My relative lack of cash is becoming increasingly annoying. Whilst I have a job, and can see many roles for me within the organisation, once again, I get the feeling that my face does not fit. Who’d have thought that competence could be such a bar to climbing the greasy pole of success…

-I love my phone! Everyone thinks that the Galaxy Note 2 is too big, until they try and use it or look at something on it’s beautiful screen. Let’s not forget the novelty value of the S-pen (which is actually so much more than a novelty). Roll on November 2014 when, chances are, I’ll be upgrading to a Note 3. In a similar vein, my original version ipad is showing it’s age. With Apple no longer supporting it with upgrades to ios it’s beginning to crash at inopportune moments and the app store has beautiful things that I can only dream about whilst being stuck on ios 5. I think an ipad Air will be on the birthday list…

-Australia is a fabulous country, and within it, Sydney a fabulous city. My wife and I spent 3 glorious weeks in Adelaide and Sydney. Whilst it rained a fair amount when we were there (it being their last week of Autumn when we arrived) it was still about as warm as a good English summer! I look forward to revisiting the Sydney Opera House and continuing my exploits as a kangaroo whisperer very soon…

-At the end of 2012 my wife and I joined a gym and had some success in losing the weight we’ve managed to put on during our marriage. A combination of spin classes, circuit training, and swimming lost me almost 2 stones in weight. I even looked OK in a suit again (instead of doing my usual Alexei Sayle impression). But alas, we stopped going and out the weight back on. Enough is enough. I’ve had my fill of being Mr Tubby. The gym will become a regular friend once again…

That’s about all I can think of for now. I’m sure over the coming days I’ll think of a few more things to put in for my memories of 2013, so keep checking back. You may even wish to let me know what you thought of 2013… Toddle pip for now!

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Star Wars Lounge Music is a Thing That Exists

Coolest. Thing. Ever!

The other day while everyone else was working on a Monday and I was on a massive pub crawl because of a movie, one of our crawlers chimed in from the backseat. “I have a surprise for you,” he said to another crawler, probably, but my memory is understandably hazy for direct quotes. He then handed me a cassette tape, presumably dormant since 1999, and asked that I pop it in (yes, my Explorer has a tape deck… shut up). After determining that it was not a new mix tape (“I no longer possess the technological means to make mix tapes”), this is what played, resulting in several minutes of drunken laughter:

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Men Of Steel And Sequins

Arriving amid the usual superhero film hoopla, I went to see Man Of Steel with expectations that whilst weren’t quite in ‘The Phantom Menace’ league, were still high enough that I knew I would probably be disappointed but was hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, the former prevailed…

It’s not that Man Of Steel is a bad film. It’s just not the film I was hoping for. Over the last few years, we’ve had reboots of most of the major superhero characters and most, following the Dark Knight and James Bond template, have taken a fairly dark path to explain why someone decides to put on a fancy costume to fight crime etc. But even within the darkness, there will be moments of levity to relieve the tension. Think of Michael Caine’s Alfred, or Bond’s one liners (or perhaps in Daniel Craig’s case, don’t think about them at all!), or Peter Parker’s goofiness. These moments rarely detract from the overall ‘tortured soul’ story arc.

However in Man Of Steel, we never got any of these moments. From Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner as the fathers teaching valuable lessons to Kal-El/Clark Kent to Michael Shannon’s General Zod right the way through to Henry Cavill in the titular role, no one seems to be having any fun!

I’m pretty sure that a superhero film is supposed to be entertaining. By all means, be dark (Christopher Nolan knows all about find dark, whilst keeping it entertaining and fun, but as the producer, even he seems to have lost his mojo on this one.) but never forget that part of the deal for the viewer is that in return for suspending their disbelief for a couple of hours, they would like some fun and enjoyment.

Thirty-odd years ago, the original Superman came to screens with the tag-line ‘you’ll believe a man can fly’. And we ignored the ropey special effects because it was fun and bright and colorful: a comic book, in fact. But in Man Of Steel, the decidedly average effects aren’t enough to forgive the copying of The Matrix and the Bible! There wasn’t even a hum-able theme tune!

Tragically, my friends and I all left the cinema feeling a little cheated and robbed.

However, the next night, we went to see the men in sequins. The men in question were Michael Douglas and Matt Damon who starred as Liberace and his lover Scott Thorson in ‘Behind The Candelabra’. From the very beginning the film entertained and provoked thought. 

The central performances are astonishing and if only the American public weren’t so prudish (apparently the film was viewed as being to gay) the chances are that the film would have gotten a cinematic release in The US and so be eligible for Oscar Nominations. And richly deserved they would have been.

Douglas could have portrayed Liberace as a superstar sexual predator (with interesting parallels with some UK celebs of the time), especially as it’s based on the book by Scott Thorson. But even though Thorson is ultimately dumped by Liberace, he never stoops to portraying Liberace as a monster. Instead, he plays the part with charm and wit and allows the inner-monster to come through naturally. Every now and again, you’re aware that this is the same man who played Gordon Gekko.

Matt Damon, as the (eventually wronged) lover had a less flashy, but arguably more difficult role to play as Scott Thorson. Sometimes, it’s easier to grandstand than to sit still and have a camera on you.

So, two very different films dealing with two very different American legends. Ironically, the one that (arguably) should have been the darkest was the one that had the most fun with it’s subject without shying away from some of the more unpleasant aspects of Liberace’s story. But, Man Of Steel was altogether too up it’s own bottom to have any fun. I suspect that when I see it again, my view may change slightly, but I’m holding out more hope for the sequels. In the meantime, I’d rather see the sequins again…

I Tawt I Tweeted A Puddy Cat

It was my first time yesterday.

With much trepidation, and more than a little nervousness, I took my over-sized unit into my hands and, with my fingers working their magic, prepared to enter the bird. A bird who had promised much; a world filled with fun and frolics. A world of strange symbols and unusual positions. Friends have been telling me for ages that I should get involved, that I didn’t know what I was missing. But I steadfastly refused, almost pig-headedly hanging onto my virginity. Yesterday, however, I succumbed to temptation and, well, I’m almost embarrassed to say, sent my first Tweet. Yes, I have finally joined Twitter.

(Just in case you were unclear, my ‘over-sized unit’ is my new(ish) Galaxy Note 2 (the stylus alone was enough to convince me it was the phone for me) and ‘the bird’ is clearly Twitter’s blue logo.)

I must confess that I still remain unconvinced about the relative merits of @signs and hashtags all cunningly wrapped in 140 characters. But in the interests of research, I’ve spent most of the last couple of days sending a tweet or two about the French Open tennis and Canadian Grand Prix. I’ve followed a few twitterers and even gained a follower of my own!! But, throughout it all, I found myself continually asking myself ‘what’s the point?’. Why would I want to limit myself to 140 characters? For someone who veers towards verbosity, it’s actually quite tricky to try and come up with a witty(ish) bon mot in less than a text message.

And then it struck me: that IS the point. Facebook status updates used to quite good when there was a limit to the number of characters that could be used, and now, people write essays. How can your status be more than 140 characters? The very format requires one to self-edit (which is something I find quite difficult).

Still, I will persevere with it and see what come of it.

Perhaps you could share some tips and maybe even look me up in the Twitter-sphere?

Anyway, that’s enough for now. It’s the first day at my new job tomorrow, so I’m off to bed.

Toodle pip!

Skyfall Review

On Friday night, I saw the first half of Skyfall and was distinctly underwhelmed. I say the first half, because just before the London chase, someone collapsed next to me in the cinema and so I spent the next couple of hours making sure he was OK. I was almost glad of the interruption, because, whilst the pre-credit sequence was very good, the rest was a bit…slow. Ponderous, almost. There seemed to be a bit too much navel-gazing. That’s not what I go to see a Bond film for! I’m happy to watch the rest of director Sam Mendes’s work for that kind of thing. So, I traipsed home thinking that the producers had messed up the 50th anniversary film. But in the back of my mind was the thought: so what had all of the other reviewers seen at I had missed? On Saturday night, I found out: they’d seen the whole film!

It turns out, that the alcohol sozzled stranger had collapsed just as things were getting interesting.

Now, whilst I still don’t think that it’s the best Bond film ever (in my view, that honour would have to go to Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me or The Living Daylights) or that Daniel Craig is the best Bond (still the underrated Timothy Dalton for me) I will concede that it is a very good film and Daniel Craig is a good bond (although a little awkward with the quips). The plot takes a while to unfold, but once the set-up is complete, we get back to the familiar formulaic (and I mean that as a compliment) Bond movie standards. Exotic locations: check. Gorgeous girls: check. Great stunts: check (although, I thought some of the CGI was a little too obvious). Fiendish villain: double check. Hilarious innuendo-filled one-liners: sort of check. I just don’t think that Daniel Craig is comfortable with the delivery of the lines.

This time, M is a more integral character, both in terms of what happens on screen and what is supposed to have happened in the past, and Dame Judi Dench delivers another excellent performance. Her interplay with Bond is both touching and amusing. The interplay between Bond and the villain, Silva, is fabulous and benefits from having a quality actor in the role. It’s almost a shame that we can’t bring Javier Bardem back for another go as a villain.

The plot itself, concerning M’s past, is very entertaining and didn’t leave too many gaping holes and via the ‘twists’ at the end, sets up a future Bond firmly rooted, ironically enough, in the past! But, to a Bond fan, that’s where he’s supposed to get his missions from…

The Bond theme, almost Shirley Bassey like in tone, is great and in time I think Adele’s theme will be held in the same high regard as those by Shirley Bassey and Carly Simon. But, where was David Arnold’s score? I think his scores (every Bond film since Tomorrow Never Dies) have been excellent, but this time it’s regular Mendes collaborator Thomas Newman. It’s not a bad score, but one wonders what kind of amazing riffs David Arnold could have come up with based on the Adele theme.

But, ultimately, it’s nitpicking. Is the film great? Probably not. Will it be enjoyed by both Bond and non-Bond fans? Almost certainly yes. It is a good film, and will stand up to further viewings. Of course, the problem will now be ‘how do they follow this?’. Personally, I can’t wait until 2014 to find out…

Welcome Back. Actually, I’ve Never Been Away…

So it’s been a while since I last wrote, and please accept my apologies for that. However, since my last post much has happened: we’ve had the Olympics, which were amazing; we’ve had Andy Murray winning his first grand slam which in it’s own way was amazing although I have mixed views on that; we’ve also had the release of Skyfall, the new James Bond film, which was very entertaining; and clearly, there’s been some movement in my family situation, which I’ll come back to later.

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For now I’m going to talk about the Olympics. London 2012, I thought, was absolutely amazing. London put on a fantastic show; we were on view and London acquitted itself magnificently. From Danny Boyle’s fantastic opening ceremony (and how amazing was the Queen?) to the closing ceremony which I thought were amazing in themselves (other than the George Michael bit) I thought we were treated to two weeks of beautifully executed athleticism. I think it’s a bit of a cliche to say that they were the best games ever but I genuinely thought that we had put on a great show: the sports were excellent; the organisation was brilliant; but the stars of the show I thought were the volunteers, who were impeccable. At the two events that we saw they were always helpful, always smiling, always brilliant! I cannot say enough about how good the volunteers were.

I think before the Olympics began, the fear that a lot of people here had was how will we ever complete with Beijing? Especially the opening ceremony which I think is commonly regarded as being one of the best ever, but I think we succeeded by not trying to compete with Beijing. We did what we do best, we laughed at ourselves, we were quirky, we were entertaining, we were funny. We were British, and I think the Olympics were all the better for it.

From the Olympics we went to the US Open which I thought Federer was going to win. As it turned out the final was Andy Murray versus Novak Djokovic, which on paper should have been a classic. In reality it WAS a classic and we were treated to a very, very fine tennis match. When Murray went two sets to love up I thought he would win fairly easily. However, when Djokovic started to come back and pulled it level at two sets all I thought that his greater experience of winning a five set grand slam match would come to the fore and would make it difficult for Murray to win. Somehow, no doubt helped by the grit that Ivan Lendl has instilled in his game, the Scot came through for a maiden Grand Slam victory. Will he win any more? I suspect he will, but only when the other three have off tournaments.

Anyway, that’s all for now. But, there will be two more posts later today to discuss Skyfall and the family…

Wimbledon 2012 Men’s Final…

I suspect that if one were to look in a dictionary right now and looked up the phrase ‘mouthwatering encounter’ one would probably see a picture of Roger Federer and Andy Murray getting ready to compete in today’s Wimbledon Final.

Will Fed get his seventh, regain the number 1 slot and break Pete Sampras’s record for all-time weeks at number 1? Or will Andy Murray win his first major and give British tennis pundits nothing to discuss at Wimbledon 2013?

As regular readers will know, I’m a Fed fan, and almost anti-Murray (I just don’t like his style of play!). But, there’s a part of me that would not begrudge Murray a win today (there would be a certain poetry to it happening this year with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics) but I would much prefer a Federer victory (I’ve never been much for poetry!)

So, at 1.50pm, I’m going to say that Federer will win today. Clearly, I’ll update this post a little later with the actual result…

Hmmm, 10 minutes in and Murray has made the better start, having broken Federer in the opening game. He even seems to have ditched his usual counter-punching style and is playing an attractive attacking style. Still, long way to go yet. Come on Fed…

Uh oh. Just when you think that normal service has been resumed with Fed breaking back and having break points against the Murray serve, he goes and loses his own service game again! Murray is serving for the first set…

And after an hour or so of play, Murray wins his first set in a Grand Slam final. I still think that this is Fed’s…

So, to the business end of the second set, and in truth, Murray has looked the more comfortable. I have a sneaking suspicion that Fed’s back is causing him some problems: he doesn’t seem to be moving as well as he normally does. But, more importantly, he needs to eradicate the unforced errors. 25ish against 6 or so for Murray tells its own story… Murray to serve to stay in the second set.

But, the Swiss maestro plays two of the best points you will ever see to create the break point and then to take it! Beautifully exhilarating tennis. I must find the YouTube links later…

It will be interesting to see how the psychology works from now on. Murray has been the better player (as much as it pains me to admit it), and yet he lost the second set. History tells us that Murray will sink into an angry, sullen stupor, and Fed will clean up. Judging by the first game of the third set and Murray’s slumped shoulders, I think history may repeat itself…

Rain down, roof on, Fed on the up. Love it!

A marathon 6th game leads to a break for Fed. Murray has started to moan and talk to his box more: a sure sign that he is struggling and beginning to feel the pressure. Fed looks to have finally found his game. Hopefully he can close out the fourth set with relative ease…

Clearly, I meant the third set (which he won). And clearly, I hope Fed goes on to close out the fourth set with relative ease…

Federer is playing some delightful tennis; his usual mix of power and finesse. With a break in the fourth set, it shouldn’t be too long before he claims his 7th Wimbledon title and regains the World Number 1 slot…

Brilliant; quite brilliant. Roger Federer wins Wimbledon for a record-equalling seventh time, his record-extending seventeenth Grand Slam title, and reclaims the World Number 1 spot! Not a vintage performance, by any means, but at times his tennis was beautiful to watch (unless you happened to be Andy Murray). For the first two sets, Murray was the better player, but having somehow lost the second set, his mind wandered and Fed came into his own. However, at least he attacked the ball. He has the ability and the game to win Grand Slams, but for some reason he refuses to play aggressively for a whole match. Against Fed, Nadal and Djokovic, counter-punching alone will not succeed. I will say, that after his interview with Sue Barker, he’s gone up a little in my humble estimation.

But for now, I’m going to revel in the pictures of the man who is clearly, and surely there can be no argument, the greatest tennis player of all time…Roger Federer, the 2012 Wimbledon Champion.

Wimbledon 2012 Week 1: Did No One Read the Script?

One week down, and already Wimbledon 2012 has produced more surprises than, well, any tennis tournament that I can recall.

Having cruised through the opening round, the top four seed in the men’s tournament seemed destined to meet in the semi-finals, where Rafael Nadal would once again show Andy Murray who’s boss and Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic would flip a coin to see who gets to beat Nadal in the final. However, Lukas Rosol, on Thursday evening forgot to read the script. Or if he had read it, he decided to improvise his own version by playing near faultless and nerveless tennis to beat the world number 2 and knock Nadal out of the tournament. Just think about that. He knocked out the man who (aside from 2009 when he was injured and so did not play) has reached the final every year since 2005. Not bad going for a man who had reached the heady heights of 100 in the world.

Surely, normal service would be resumed on Friday when Djokovic and Federer would explain to Radek Stepanek and Julien Benneteau respectively how the script should actually read. And then Djokovic lost the first set! What was going on? Were we going to have another tournament like 1985 where the top seeds all disappear and leave the way open for a new talent to emerge, as Becker did in that year? Not yet. Djokovic showed the Czech Stepanek why he is the number 1 player in the world and came through in 4 sets: only a minor variation from the script.

The last match on the magnificent Centre Court was another matter. An out of sorts Federer lost the first two sets against an inspired Benneteau. We couldn’t possibly have a repeat of the shocks of Thursday night could we? Well, we almost did, but for the fact that Federer showed us why he is still a force to be reckoned with. Coming through in 5 sets, he survived to take his place in week two and try to continue his amazing run of consecutive Grand Slam quarter final appearances. If he wins the tournament (which I believe he will) he will regain the number 1 slot and overtake Pete Sampras’s record of most weeks at number 1(he already holds the record for most consecutive weeks at number 1, but not the record for total weeks).

And then, onto Saturday night, and Andy Murray. Now, I’m not really a fan of Murray. I don’t really like his brand of tennis. Counterpunchers can be very effective (Hewitt and Chang had very successful careers and won majors to boot), but they’re not always particularly entertaining to watch. Whereas the other three top players will go out to play winners, Murray seems more content to wait for a mistake. It’s not that he can’t play attacking tennis (the prime example being his semi-final victory over Nadal in the US Open a few years back), but he seems to choose not to. I suspect that that is why he has employed Ivan Lendl, who was never afraid to go out and try and win a game. But on Saturday, he resorted to type against Marcos Baghdatis, and it almost cost him dearly. However, once he went a break down in the second set, having already lost the first, he seemed to play a more attacking game which paid dividends in the end. I think that this year gives him his best chance so far of reaching the Wimbledon final, but on the evidence so far, Federer or Djokovic (assuming one of them gets there!) will be too strong next Sunday.

So, with no one having read the script, week two promises much. But I hope that on Friday I will be settling down to watch Federer and Djokovic fight out one of semis and Murray play Mr X (probably Jo Wilfred Tsonga) in the other. Famous last words…

The Ninja Biker Rides!

I am, what can only best be described as, a chunky monkey. I always have been (except whilst at university when I lost a lot of weight due to all of the tennis I played and the fact that I walked everywhere!) However, over the course of the last few years, a more sedentary lifestyle has left me looking like the aforementioned fat simian.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I decided I would cycle To and from work each day (unless it’s tipping it down, which it does a lot in England). And I’m loving it! Whilst I don’t seem to have lost a lot of weight yet, I can feel the benefits already. I find cycling much easier than running: it’s easier on my knees and I don’t as out of breath as quickly. So, on Saturday, I decided to cycle to a nearby town approximately 15 miles away. How difficult could it be?

Well, in truth, it wasn’t too bad. In a car, the route is a bit up-hill-down-dale and so I rode along the canal path on the basis that it would be much flatter. So, at about 11.30, I donned my helmet, got on my bike and began my journey.

At about 11.45 I almost got knocked off my bike by a car that decided to turn left in front of me! It was a beautiful sunny day, the visibility was good and so her (for the driver was a lady) inability to see an 18 stone Indian guy on a bike was inexplicable. Despite the fact that I was understandably shaken by the incident, I could see that she was more shaken so I didn’t make a big deal about it. After checking that the bike was OK, I carried on. Passing a shop window, I caught sight of myself and realised what I was wearing: black running trousers and a white tee shirt which was covered by a black Nike fleece. I looked like a ninja! Albeit one whose days of upholding the code of the Bushido were long behind him…

My decision to travel the bulk of the journey along the canal path was clearly going to be a good one bearing in mind my attire. As I was cycling along, I decided that once I got to the shopping centre which was to be my eventual destination I would look for a brightly coloured jacket to improve my visibility to other road users.

Of course, I had to get there first. Going along at a fair old pace, I made reasonably good time. There were signs along the canal path asking cyclists to stick to a 10mph speed limit and I am pleased to say that I averaged this for the journey. So, once I got to the shops and locked my bike up, I felt very good about myself. My legs were a bit stiff, but otherwise, I felt ready to take on the challenge of finding a luminous jacket to make myself look less ninja-like on the way back.

But,they’re so expensive! I’m not convinced that I need to spend the best part of £100 to make myself look like an oversized lemon on a bike. When else would I wear it? And then I noticed a sports shop with a sale. Surely, they would have something subtle at a reasonable price. I was half right. For the princely sum of £19.99 I could have purchased a jacket which would merely have made me look like an oversized lime (or tangerine, for it also came in orange). But the sizes were wrong. The XL was a little snug for my liking and the XXL was just too big. There’s a reason I normally go out looking like the Milk Tray man, and for once it doesn’t have anything to do with my James Bond fascination: black makes me look (marginally) slimmer. Luminescent yellow, green and orange have a diametrically opposite effect! I decided that I would just have to take my chances.

By now, my legs were beginning to feel the effects of the ride so the journey back was slightly slower, but a more pressing problem was presenting itself: the dreaded numb bum and ‘bits’. When I started cycling to work, on the first few days, I noticed that my bottom was numb by the time I had reached my destination. However, over time, it had got better, so I barely even notice it now. However, on Saturday, on the return leg, numb bum returned with a vengeance. More troubling is the sensation of having one’s bits squeezed on the saddle. For those of you who have experienced it, you’ll know my pain. For those of you who have not, count yourself lucky! It meant that I had to keep stopping every couple of miles for a little respite. I think padded shorts will need to be my next purchase…

Eventually, at about 5pm (just in time to watch another epic tennis match on TV, which you can find out about in another post) I got back home and worked out that I had burned approximately 2000 calories! Not too shabby! So, despite almost being knocked over, almost making a purchase which would have made me look like a huge portion of lime sorbet and losing most of the sensation in my bottom and ‘bits’, I loved the experience and shall try and make a long cycle ride a regular weekend occurrence. So, if you see an oversized Indian guy, dressed all in black, on a bike, please make sure you give him a wide berth as you pass him in your car!

The History Match: The 2012 French Open Final

So, here we are, on the verge of tennis history. One player, Novak Djokovic, the world number 1, going for his fourth consecutive major: the Grand Slam. The other, world number 2, Rafael Nadal going for his seventh French Open ( and in so doing breaking Bjorn Borg’s record) and also aiming to avoid becoming the first man to lose 4 consecutive major finals.

On paper, it should have been a mouth watering encounter between the two best players in the world. However, I was in the curious position of not wanting either man to win! And all because I’m a die-hard Roger Federer fan. If Nadal wins, he gets one closer to Federer’s record of 16 Grand Slams, and if Djokovic wins, he does what Federer has tried to do twice before and win four in a row. Both times, it was Nadal who stopped him in Paris…

I was hoping that Federer would beat Djokovic in Froday’s semi-final and then beat Nadal in the final to stop the Spaniard from beating Borg’s record in the same way that Nadal stopped Federer from beating Borg’s 5 consecutive Wimbledons record in 2008. Alas, it was not to be…

So, I settled down to watch the ITV coverage in the company of John Inverdale and with jim Courier providing expert analysis. I would normally have watched the Eurosport coverage with Mats Wilander, but Jim’s been an excellent companion over the last two weeks.

Both players seemed a little nervous, with the weight of history seeming to lay more heavily of Djokovic’s shoulders. And in the first set, this seemed to manifest itself in the Serb not playing his usual attacking game. For the first three games, he was blown off court by the rampant Spaniard. But then, he found his range. From 3 each, both played some great tennis showing why they’re 1 and 2 in the world. Unfortunately, a level that Fed can’t live with, on this surface at least. But Nadal held on to win with 1 net break. 6-4

The second set  seem to be characterised by more errors than outright winners, but Djokovic got Nadal a few times with his lob, and towards the end of the set, Nadal seemed to have the better of the exchanges. Djokovic began to show his frustration (he broke two racquets). A rain delay, with Djokovic serving at 5-3 down, gave him a chance to regroup. But Nadal continued where he left off and broke to win the second set. 6-3

An early break for Nadal in the third set  should have meant that the contest would be all over now. Djokovic just hadn’t been able to impose his game on Nadal bar for a few points. It was a little reminiscent of the Federer-Djokovic semi from Friday: on paper, fantastic, but only one of them seemed to be performing to anywhere near the expected standard. However, with a break back from Djokovic, maybe reports of his demise had been greatly exaggerated… And then, better make that two breaks. The tennis is approaching the level reached in the first set when Djokovic was 3 down. Another break for Djokovic. At 5-2, it looked like a fourth set beckons… Djokovic held serve to take the first set off Nadal this tournament! That’s 6 games in a row that Djokovic has taken off Nadal! On clay! At Roland Garros! 6-2

At the beginning of the fourth set it began to get tricky for me with the tennis, football (Italy-Spain) and Canadian Grand Prix! But the tennis won! Nadal seemed to be bothered by the weather, but the opening game produced some fabulous tennis… And Djokovic breaks at the beginning of the fourth set with a fabulous pass. Seven games in a row for Djokovic…Better make that eight, and Nadal looks annoyed. Looks like there’ll be another break for weather soon. Nadal stops the rot in terms of games lost, but can’t stop the rain.

And so, with Djokovic a break up in the fourth set, the rain came in Paris and play had to be suspended. Who would win the history match? Well, we’ll have to wait until Monday (or even Tuesday or Wedensday if the forecast is to be believed). But, hopefully they’ll both come back and play to the fullest of their abilities, because if they do, part II of the History Match could be awesome…

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