Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Leconte - Refreshing at first, but eventually annoying

Henri Leconte - former World No. 5 and French Open finalist in 1988 - was one of the commentators at the Australian Open last night. He was on during the match between Jo Wilfred Tsonga (Fra) and Nicloas Almagro (Esp).

I found his performance... Gallic, for lack of a better word.

A highly excited and emotional bit of commentating, with an unabashed bias towards the Frenchman. Some gems:
  • "I'm sorry to bother you, but do you have any ball?.. Ello, ello, we are out of balls!"
  • "AAAAHHHH" (in a high pitched voice), followed by "AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH" (in a more manly one)
  • "Come on Jooooooo, come on... YEAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!"
  • And, for almost every point: "AHNBILEEVABULL!"

    "NOOOOOOOOO!" Leconte screams in anguish as Almagro wins a point

It was nice to have someone so passionate in the commentary box, with such free flowing, off the cuff and breezy observations on the match. A welcome change, for a bit, from the hushed-voice snooze inducers some of the matches have seen. It was like having a Mexican football commentator in the box.

But the fact that he was practically yelling every time he spoke, coupled with his inability to be fair and objective to both players and use adjectives apart from AHNBILEEVABULL made him pretty annoying beyond a point.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Now that's a show

Last week, I watched The Manganiyar Seduction. It's a fascinating show featuring performers from three generations of the Manganiyar community of Rajasthan, performing from within a set of thirty six stacked cubicles. Each cubicle is curtained and as the piece progresses, each solo performer opens his curtain and joins in. An artiste's cublicle is lit at times that he is performing. And given that there are about forty performers, that makes for a delightful array of voices, instruments and lights that blend together very satisfyingly in a dazzling visual and aural spectacle.

No, this is not Bollywood Squares

A very special mention must be made of the 'conductor', who also manned the clappers. His animated engagement with each performer - and, in a delightful piece in the middle, the audience - as well as his incredible skill on the instrument had me floored and took the show to a whole new level.

The 'Seduction' in the show's name, by the way, comes both from the fact that the music is brilliant and draws one into the performace, and that the set is inspired by the red light district in Amsterdam.

The Manganiyars are a largely Muslim community from Rajasthan. They are hereditary professional musicians, who have traditionally performed for the local rulers and fat cats as a means of earning their livelihood. Interestingly, they pray to a Hindu god - Krishna - apart from following Islamic teachings. Their recent history and the story of how they rose from desert obscurity to national and international fame thanks to folklorist Komal Kothari, makes for interesting reading.

The Manganiyar Seduction was an incredible experience, and very uplifting. Definitely, definitely worth a watch if you can catch it in whichever part of the world you are.

Read more about the show here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No, it's not kool


I just got an email from someone that included the line "I'm kool with that."

Kool. Not Cool.

Is it really so difficult to just type it the right way? I admit 'k' is closer to 'o' and 'l' on the keyboard than 'c' is, but are you really not in a position to spare a digit of your left hand to press the 'c'?

This just made my blood boil.

It's not like kool is the new cool, unless it's the 80s or something. And it's not new slang/lingo, like pwned.

It's not even like it's a significant shortening to sms-language. I can, to some extent (a small one), understand someone typing 'u' instead of 'you'. It saves time, energy, space. I see that.

But not 'kool' for 'cool'. That's just dumb.

And annoying.

I'm becoming a grumpy old man.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A full Cup must be carried steadily

Starting September 2011 (20 months from now), New Zealand will host the Rugby World Cup.
Starting February 2011 (13 months from now), India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will host the Cricket World Cup.

20 rugby teams will feature in 48 matches, playing in 13 locations over a period of 44 days.
14 cricket teams will feature in 49 matches, playing in 13 locations over a period of 43 days.

The full draw and venues for the tournament were announced in March 2009.
The full draw and venues for the tournament were announced in October/November 2009.

A dedicated and detailed website has been launched.
The website, a page within the ICC's Yahoo website, features the latest news from recent cricket, but has limited information about the World Cup itself.

In New Zealand, a significant marketing campaign is being launched. Cathedral Square in Christchurch features a large billboard with a countdown to the World Cup.
Crickets chirping. No pun intended.

Merchandise is widely available across New Zealand and other countries.
No merchandise has been launched in South Asia yet.

Tickets went on sale (through travel agents) to a global audience on 1st January 2010.
Ticket information "will be announced to the public in due course", according to the website.


Friday, January 01, 2010

A long drive

Rental car: $60 per day

Elvis album bought for the road from local store: $10

Fuel for the 387 km drive: $40

Driving 5.5 hours through the mountains and rain with 3 hours of sleep the previous night and nursing a massive hangover: priceless