Friday, 10 September 2010

Fringe Owl's Pick of the Fringe

... but enough of my opinion on the Fringe, what did Fringe Owl think?

I found Hans Teuween edgy and brilliant but Fringe Owl didn't think he was edgy enough, and spent a long time afterwards talking about how there was a lack of owl-based material. To be honest he had this problem with a lot of comedians.

He disliked my other favourite acts of the Fringe - The Boy With Tape on His Face, Jeremy Lion, Terry Alderton and Daniel Kitson. He thought TBWTOHF was taking the mickey out of his toupee adhesive (yes, I have to let you know that the hair in the photo is not his hair, although he will HATE me for publishing that). He didn't like the crow puppet in Jeremy Lion, thinking that it was stealing his thunder. He spent a lot of the Terry Alderton gig wanting to poo on Terry's shiny head, but thankfully the low ceiling and the speed with which Alderton moves about the stage meant the wily comic remained unsoiled throughout. As for Kitson, we had the following conversation:

TH - "Fringe Owl, don't you think it's brilliant that a comedian noted for his whimsical semi-serious one man shows can return to the gladiatorial arena of stand-up with such brilliant effect, as witnessed by his laugh-out-loud compere-ing the Invisible Dot by the Sea gig?"

FO - "Sorry, I just zoned out there for a minute, what did you say?"

TH - "Never mind."

Fringe Owl also liked Doctor Brown, mostly because there was a lot of food thrown about, so he went in between the audiences legs, gorging himself on olives and bran flakes. "That is what comedy is all about," he said just after the gig, although within 30 minutes he was suffering from excruciating indigestion. Serves him right.

I went to see Frisky and Mannish twice, but Fringe Owl went three times, to try and steal the shiny beads off of Mannish's jacket. I told him he wasn't a magpie, but he responded with "Don't tell me what kind of bird I am," and left the flat without putting his hairpiece straight. I didn't bring it up again.

One afternoon Fringe Owl was still in bed after a very late night mousing, and I happened upon Pip Utton in the Pleasance courtyard. I told him I had really enjoyed the brief bit of his one-man Charles Dickens show I had seen when we shared the bill with him at Pick of the Fringe. I told him of my plans to do a sci-fi adaptation of Martin Chuzzlewit ("Astro-Chuzzlewit") at next year's fringe and asked if he would like to cameo in it as the great author, just a few minutes to express his approval of the adaptation from beyond the grave and so on, and he said he'd love to.

(Unlike a lot of the stuff about the fictional owl with the hairpiece, the above is actually true).

Haven't got time to post the rest but Fringe Owl is going to lend a hand by sorting out the relevant hyperlinks to all the acts named above, while I clean the kitchen. Thanks Fringe Owl.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Edinburgh Festival 2010 - What I Saw

Here's my opinion on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Edinburgh Fringe this year.

First, Ovid's Metamorphoses, an earnest young production which got a couple of 5 star reviews. It transplanted the Greek pantheon to '40s/'50s Britain and told a few of the stories using innovative theatre techniques. Sirens backed up with sock puppets - A sex changing dance number with identically dressed Tiresias's swapping behind panels - Narcissus falling in love with his own cinematic image. All very clever clever.

Strict contrast with The Ballad of Backbone Joe, which Brian Logan seemed to disapprove of but couldn't help giving four stars. It's a Chandleresque tale about a small town boxer, played out by a crack Australian swamp rock band, Suitcase Royale, who break out of script either to take the piss out of each other or to play brilliant songs describing the action. Critics universally disliked the fact that these three constantly undermined their own story with semi-improvised interjections. They were missing the point. They were able to send themselves up and then hit you with an emotional uppercut the next second. It seemed like the emotional core of the play was as solid as the boneheaded boxer it had for a hero, and that the derivations just widened the scope of what you were seeing. Things began echoing through the different layers - the desperation of the characters rattled through the actor's improvisations, the black jokes infected the dark heart of the story. It was brilliant. It was criticised for being a mess but who said theatre should be tidy? I saw plenty of other productions - the Metamorphoses was one, Ernest and the Pale Moon was another - that were a lot tidier, but left me cold.

A brief note about Ernest and the Pale Moon - I got tickets thinking it was the one with the puppets, and it wasn't. Disappointed. Although that James Seager (head of company, lead actor & director) gets about a bit, judging by his CV.

To get all the serious stuff out of the way - I also went to see the Gospel at Colonus and Sin Sangre as part of the main festival. The Gospel was a revival of a legendary 1985 musical version of the Greek tragedy in which the role of Oedipus was played by the Blind Boys of Alabama and Morgan Freeman in turn. However, this revival was a bit like that other 1985 musical - the Blues Brothers - being remade as Blues Brothers 2000. It seemed to have got twice as long, twice as pointless, and twice as tacky. Still a great production, but not as good as the original, (video recordings exist but they are very rare).

I fell asleep quite soon after Sin Sangre started, and it was just like having a intermittent, badly scripted and tedious dream about the Spanish Civil War. I don't care how clever the mixture of theatre and cinema projection was. It was boring, and the seats in the big theatres of Edinburgh are comfy with lots of legroom. The Republicans of polite attention were overrun by the Nationalist Armies of slumber. Siento mucho herir tus sentimientos... zzzzzzzzz.

A fitting end to the serious stuff, I also saw Bane 2 - the sequel to last year's one man film noir parody, also playing this year. I liked it a lot, and there's not much else to say apart from the fact that Joe Bone (actor's real name, or another wilfully noirish tribute?) must be making decent money, selling out two shows a day with two one-man shows. The critics may wax lyrical about the creative inventiveness of one man doing everything himself, but on the tight margins of the Fringe it makes financial sense.

Onto the comedy. Ah comedy - the theatrical dustbin of life, where a thousand ideas, trends and characters are picked over and melted down for scrap, a deceptively simple premise - make people laugh - i.e. not excusable just to chase the elusive beast the serious performers are after.

First: stand-up. Saw Jason Byrne. Gleefully inhabits that most fruitful part of comedic territory - growing up, family embarassments - that helped make Peter Kay so loved. We need comedians to make us aware of the passage of time, i.e: brilliant routine in which he described to young people in the audience what it was like when you had to get your photos developed and wait to see them. Realised that I was no longer in the bracket of 'young people' as he did so.

Greg Davies, was also very good - no surprise, considering he got 5 stars from everyone. He is like a pleasant mash-up of Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson - as a conoisseur of the gurn, I recognise those type of faces from old episodes of Bottom and its good to see them aired again.

Gary Delaney - storms clubs around the country with his killer set of very rude and inappropriate one-liners. Like Tim Vine's evil alter ego. I was sold on his marketing, which contained a 'no whimsy' logo, but after the umpteenth sexual crime had been encapsulated in a neat turn of phrase, I was left slightly longing for a nice long story about crumpets and jam.

Talking of long story - the most incredible set I saw was that performed by Paul Foot at the late night comedy showcase Spank. He launched into a long story called 'Love on the Eurostar', in which a carpet-fitter saves up to take an accountant to Brussels for a dirty weekend. There are not jokes as such, but Foot dwells brilliantly on the incongruousness of passing details, and so expertly inhabits the persona of the angst-ridden carpet-fitter that it is completely gripping.

Not so for the man in the audience that night who kept on shouting 'crack a joke', and 'you're not funny!' Paul countered with remarks to the effect that he knew it was odd, that he was well enough known as an odd comic for people who didn't like it to avoid it, that 'Love on the Eurostar' was one of his more commercial and accessible pieces, and that the man should be happy he hadn't spent 40 minutes talking about shirehorses, as he did in his full length show. Eventually it ended with the interlocuter being escorted out, Paul remarking as he did that 'a boil had been lanced from the face of this gig', and continuing to the hilarious and tragic denouement of 'Love on the Eurostar', not before a mid-gig standing ovation.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

8 facts

1. Experiments to grow pork meat in a laboratory are being hampered by rules prohibiting the scientists from eating the fruit of their research.

2. A new property development on the Isle of Dogs is offering a virtual golf course as an attraction to would-be buyers.

3. Some retailers have launched dedicated 'Crime Buster' websites with footage/clips of shoplifters to tackle shoplifting.

4. JJB Sports and Sports Direct are under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

5. The Walker Review may mean it is no longer possible for an individual to hold up to a dozen non-executive directorships, by requiring people to spend more time finding out about a company. Excuse my naivety, but I was shocked to find out that people could collect so many of these sinecures (typically £20k p/a for 30 days work p/a) in the first place!

6. The roof for the Olympic Aquatic centre - 3000 tonnes, 160m long - was put into place last week.

7. The government is embroiled in a row over the alleged inefficiency of the Olympics procurement system, with contractors allegedly missing out on millions of pounds worth of construction contracts because of a badly designed website.

8. You can now melt down your gold and have it turned into cats.

Alright, so the last one may not be true. But if you made it this far you deserve a break...

Worth Seeing in the Manchester Art Gallery

Had a couple of hours in the Manchester Art Gallery yesterday, scribbled down notes of things worth seeing. Fully intend to find digital images of all these to add but might not have time:

All of Francisco de Goya's 'Fantasies, Follies and Disasters' (temporary exhibition until Feb 2010)

Jim Medway - Oxford Road
Isabel Dacre - portraits
Ingo Maurer - Porca Miseria
Andy Hazell - Theatre of Life
Ken Currie - At the Edge of the City
David Kemp - Mask of the Taillight Warrior
Stephen Dixon - The Levantine Chess Set
Craigus Horsfield - Plaice Ascending

Of the 18th and 19th century stuff, there is a lot that is really really awful - some of it straightforward awful, some of it so over-the-top bad that you actually begin to admire it. Straightforward awful are the things by Gabriel Rossetti and Holman Hunt. Thank God Andrew Lloyd Webber has taken it into his head to collect Pre-Raphaelite stuff and get it out of the public eye. There are chokingly garish but brilliant classical and mythological canvases by Etty (The Sirens and Ulysses) and von Wagner (Chariot Race), whereas the kitschness and soft porn is tempered in Dicksee's Viking Burial, and Mengin's Sappho. There is almost no drama in Goodall's scene set on the Nile, but it is brilliant.

Two big representations in the permanent collection are Lowry and Valette. Lowry is deified nowadays, but I find Valette's stuff to be infinitely better: I imagine that brash Mancunian sense of self-sufficient worth wouldn't allow a Frenchman to be accorded the same honours, a hundred years later, as a native, but please check it out.

There is a Chapman brothers thing in alongside the Goya that isn't worth mentioning: much more interesting, in a similar medium, is Stephen Dixon.

Temporary exhibition on Women and Surrealism - didn't have the time, had to get on a train, no slight intended.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

An Experiment in News - But Will The Nation Benefit?

Dear Reader,

I have just done something a bit odd - sat down on a sofa and read through a broadsheet newspaper. The paper itself is The Telegraph, and the reason was that Telegraph Media Group have unwisely floated a graduate trainee scheme, meaning their servers will shortly crash under the weight of thousands of knackered would-be hacks like myself.

Being familiar but not much, I decided to buy one and properly go through it. The first thing is the size: the broadsheet format was first abandoned by The Guardian, then The Times, but the Telegraph hangs on, among the illustrious company of the Financial Times and the Sunday Times: the aspirational newspapers. What exactly is it about disappearing behind 4 sq ft of newsprint that marks one out as upwardly mobile?

The news agenda is dominated by politics and business. The front page has 4 stories about politics, offset by a 'quirky piece' about women being better with gadgets than men, and with a big picture of the Duchess of Cornwall with her hair blowing in the wind. A Guardian pundit branded this 'misogynist' on TV last night, but she is surely missing the point: the Telegraph is not poking fun at Camilla, the picture is merely meant to be 'jolly', which is a word meaning a quaint, old-fashioned form of 'fun': indeed, the Duchess smiles broadly at the camera as her locks blow around, like some belle of a British seaside town in a jaunty 30's photograph.

Anyway, passing to the inside: 1~16 News, 18~19 'News Digest', 20~23 World News, 24 Puzzles, 25~30 Comments and Features, 31 Technology, 33~34 'Music on Thursday', 35 Arts, 36 Court and Social, 37 Obits, 38~39 TV& Radio, 40 Weather and Crossword. Plus a 10 page business supplement, featuring the 'Alex' cartoon that is such an insitution it spawned it's own West End play last year (put on, appropriately, in a theatre that coexists with a member's club ). Sounds a bit thin? Don't forget that the pages are double size. The sports supplement has slipped into the demotic, and comes in at 20 pages in Berliner format - I'm told the cricket writing is excellent. Well, it would be. Also, note that the Telegraph has not permitted it's lighter content to break free and form a seperate supplement (i.e. times2, G2). Oh no. The lighter stuff is kept firmly within the parental folds.

Part of the pleasure of reading through any newspaper is guessing, from the editorial content, news priorities and adverts, who exactly the typical reader is. The adverts are as much of a clue here as anywhere: 2 full-page adverts for mid-market around-the-world cruises are an indicator of retirees, as are adverts for stairlifts and cardigans. The state-of-the-nation address of the articles and editorial content would suggest an audience of decision makers, but the paper is stuffed with adverts for cut-price presents: our imagined retired Whitehall official disappears, and is replaced with a man living anywhere from the more comfortable to the more precarious parts of the middle class, perhaps ekeing out the pension to cover those petty luxuries - nice wine, a broadsheet subscription - into his dotage. The letters page shows locations mostly in the Home Counties.

The comment section provides the key to understanding the serious bent of the news agenda: two pieces, by Benedict Brogan and Edmund Conway respectively, talk about 'the state of the nation' - the first an upbeat piece about how the Olympics will lift the mood of the nation, and the second a righteous rejoinder to all those who might dare say that the UK manufacturing sector is dead. The first ends with Brogan seeing " in those five rings a potent motor for the job of national reconstruction that must now preoccupy us." The second ends with a more jocular version of jingo "... it is quite possible to envisage a bright future for Britain. Stranger things have happened: why, much as we hate to admit it, we have even won the occasional sporting tournament."

So there we have it. The Telegraph standing with sword in hand, provoking concern about the state of the nation, and swearing to protect it as well. On behalf of a nostalgic group of people who may have had very little to do with affairs of state in their working lives, but hang onto the 'national interest' as their specialist topic, especially seeing as their wife is the one who has mastered the TV digibox and microwave. I had forgotten to mention that their PR material boasts about a digital service providing expats, so it is likely that a lot of these nation-builders now live abroad.
Odd? Yes, actually - my preferred news providers go more for human interest - The Times ran a page 3 piece on the collapse of the Dubai housing market today. The BBC covers Jedward. It is not until you read the Telegraph that you realise how much of what is news is not covered by a seemingly catch-all phrase like 'the national interest'. To wax Wildean: the national interest no longer interests the nation.

A mention of the Telegraph would not be complete without a mention of Simon Heffer, its assistant editor, who, along with John Humphrys and Lynne Truss, forms a triumvirate of pedantry that has elected itself joint defender of the English language. I sit on the fence as far as language goes: I wince at misspellings but recognise that language is just a system for transmitting meaning. And language can transmit meaning without observing most of the rules that Mr Heffer so splenetically defends in his style notes, which I love reading to indulge my closet pedant. The phrase "We are still embarassing ourselves with homophones" cuts so many ways. I feel that Heffer is too good a character not to appear soon in my other life (see also here).

I have painted too cruel a picture of the Telegraph and it's readers - I think it was a slow news day, and tomorrow's front page (appeared half an hour ago - see right) - suggests something more upbeat, perhaps indeed deserving 'digital publisher of the year'.

Reading a newspaper is itself beginning to feel quaint, and that has coloured my interpretation. This is the same week, after all, that I have figured out how to embed links into blog posts, finally mastered the basics in a digital video editing suite, and am currently configuring an RSS newsfeed site to cater to my news whims. All this so I can finish an even more unwieldy blogpost explaining my idea of how the media landscape will change in the next 5 years. Let's hope I finish it soon ... it's what this nation needs, after all.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

300 year old pickled arseholes

Have just spent an incredible afternoon in the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgery, a free museum on the South Side of Lincoln's Inn Fields. It is almost directly opposite the John Soanes museum, and both house the spoils of two of the most fanatical gentlemen collectors of the 18th century. Whereas Soanes taste ran to pinching or plaster casting endless architectural details of the ancient world, Hunter's habit is arguably more interesting: he pickled.

Hunter was a pickler. He was a preserver. A surgeon at a time when the profession had barely disassociated itself from that of barber, he collected hundreds of specimens, and, in the name of human knowledge, and having cut them up or left them whole, and suspended them in alcohol. The Hunterian museum has glass cases covering two floors, each containing hundreds of parts of animals or people who last breathed air 300 years ago. And that is not to mention the skeletons, skulls, and casts. It is overwhelming. The mad thing is that only a third of his collection remains - two thirds was destroyed by a bomb in 1941 - not difficult, as a lot of it was in highly flammable alcohol. Pictures and photographs of the collection as it was are hard to describe. Huge rooms contain a whole Noah's ark cut up and pickled or wired and suspended, stopped mid stride or in submerged alcoholic slumber, as it were, waiting.

To a layman, it is the method which appeals. He would classify the organ of each animal according to function - vision, digestion, circulation, etc, and then classify them according to that. So one corner on the ground floor is devoted to the organs of excretion of many different animals - bears bumhole, crab's cloaca, cat's crapper. A whole array of pickled rectums. A cabinet of teeth. A cabinet of ears. This is the whole of the animal kingdom reimagined as a spare-parts brochure, an Argos catalogue, laid out from simple to complex. And the system is merciless: foetuses also form their own category under 'organs of generation', and so a dozen human foetuses at various stages of development from a few weeks to full-term are suspended, eerily still, in alcohol, on the second floor.

If the system is rational, Hunter needed passion to put it together. Many animal specimens were from Cook's Tour. The human specimens were donated, or (one imagines), appropriated in a very 18th c way by the gentlemanly surgeon from amongst his patients. An Irishman called Byrne at the time made a living from being 7 foot 7 inches tall, and, it being known to him that Hunter coveted his bones, made arrangements to be buried at sea. Whoever it was was paid off and now Byrne's huge frame is indeed in one of Hunter's glass cases - displayed next to the skeleton of a man with a rare condition that caused bones to grow through his muscles and vein pathways, and whose skeleton consists of the usual grisly arrangement enmeshed in a cruel snaking network of improvised bones, leading from nowhere to nowhere, the sadistic invention of his own body for its own punishment.

A gruesome day out, but a fascinating insight into the history of medecine - preferable even to the excellent Wellcome Collection. Just don't go immediately after lunch.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Blogging the final sets of the Wimbledon Final

Roddick serving in the final set: the crowd, wooed by the Hollywood of it all, are cheering him on. Of course they are - Federer is the villain of the piece. Swiss: the face of secret corporations, gold, watches. When he's winning, you see him phoning to order the bath of liquid chocolate that he will swim in. When he's losing, you hear the sound of cuckoo clocks smashing. "Get the clocks and the hammer ready Genevieve, it has not been a good day."

Meanwhile Roddick's face contorts in stubbly pain - he is Hollywod, like a hero of a Bruce Springsteen song - the commentators referred to him as a 'blue-collar player', as if he's been doing a spot of welding in between sets.

Let us spare a thought for the three stooges at the back of the court who stand and adjudicate in the official posture. Apart from the one who is in the line of fire, and who is allowed to stand up, ready to flee the 120mph bullet heading their way. Perhaps a hangover from its royal days, Tennis is superabundant in these underlings, modern day courtiers in green.

Federer leads 4 games to 3. He drinks from a bottle of distilled child tears as refreshment.

Roddick winning again now. 3 hours in the sunlight! I wander if either of them have begun to hallucinate. Of course, even the random train of thought is the athlete's enemy. A long rally, and you begin to think - Aren't radishes a funny vegetable?

Game Roddick.

Federer serving now. Not headline-grabbingly fast, but accurate.

I should be making dinner but I'm not, I'm watching the tennis. Now is that scary bit where they cross each other near the net - what do they say? Nice hair, Rog. Where do ya get it cut? - I get it cut by a laser in my underground lair, Andy.

How long is it before they start sponsoring the relatives, who after all are on camera a fair.bit. One of the Roddick camp (seen doing terrorist fist bumps a minute ago) was wearing a crocs T-shirt - how much did some marketing department slip him to wear it?

Federer now winning 6-5. The commentators seem to be running out of platitudes: "Who has got what it takes to win it. Well, they both have actually." It's true. It's a brutal match though. Like the Ali-Foreman fight, with Roddick as Foreman, the big hitter, and Federer as Ali.

of course there's no trash talking in tennis. Despite the fact that some of the players wear their caps backwards.

Roddick has just brought it to 6-6 and it's seems to be in mental torment. So if Federer wins this game he's won? Surely not?

What a time to forget the rules of tennis. Well he's just won and apparently not.

Slight comic relief of watching a very muscley man hold an umbrella with military precision. Half expect him to break out of his position into a dance routine.

F approaches baseline.

15 all.

laptop battery running out but can't move to fish it out of bag, but might miss something.

They've just consulted the master computer on one of Roddick's returns and it disagreed with te already taken decision. What a strange thing to consult a virtual reality like that - do they ever think of making it look like Mario Tennis?

One of the commentators just remarked that Federer had a moment 'where he looked almost human'. Unfortunately I missed that, and he now looks like an international superrobot built by a conglomerate of banks again.

Right time to run for the laptop cable!

Phew have power and also got some biscuits. It's now 8 - 8 in the final set and F is serving. 15-30 to Roddick. 15-40 to Roddick! Good God! The wiring in the Federer mainframe must be skipping connections in the heat.

Despite being an avid browser of celebrity tat magazines, I am having trouble recognising all of the people that the audience cameras are moving in on. Surely it can't be that NORMAL people have gained access to this

The commentators now have recourse to the Commentator's Handy Book of Platitudes - "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." Do not try and ease our anxiety with mere words you silly man! We are skating on the outer edge of the incomprehensible, the edge of the unknown, the limits of human endurance, clipping the kerb of oblivion in a chariot of fire!

These are great biscuits. 35p for a pack of custard creams at Sainsbury's. Brill.

Roddick with a deft touch over the net to take it to 40-15: and he's just won. The skinny girlfriend almost cracks a smile. Are they like the US version of Posh and Becks? what am I talking about? Posh and Becks are more US than the US.

Nice shot of Woody Allen in the seats, thinking no doubt about tits.

Shot of Russell Crowe, thinking no doubt about the same thing.

Roddick just scoops a shot over Federer plc. The shareholders wince.

Federer wins the set regardless. The graphs of projected earnings pick up.

I have to admit that I doubt, like Roddick, the accuracy of the Mario Tennis projections. Maybe the guy who marks the lines has turned to drink in the pressre of the tournament, and gone off a millimetre. He will be shot at dawn by green capped muppets.

Bloody hell, 10 games each in the final set. I've got washing to put on here lads, hurry up.

Bjorn Borg breaks the silence. For a moment it seemed that the commentators had just forgotten about the mics. Federer plc wins the game - 11 to 10.

The man with the microphone has just told off the crowd for shouting. Will anybody be held back for detention?

"Rain woudl be pretty interesting at this stage wouldn't it?" says Tim Henman, leaving us baffled as to how we could have been so emotionally attached to a man with such a capacity for blandness.

Roddick (I almost accidentally typed Rocky) is on track to make it 11-11 - or is he? It's deuce now in this game. Right time to concentrate.

Advantage Roddick, still the face of pain. I almost wish Federer would do like a Swiss clinic and put him out of his misery - but no, Roddick wins.

Just had a phone call from Ben in Lancashire - does he not know that the entire world is watching a series of fluffy yellow balls? I dismiss him abruptly, after a terse volley of banter.

"Both players tired now" - presumably that manifests itself in only serving at 110mph.

Federer Plc's father looks like Mr Creosote out of Monty Python. Another titan of physical endurance. Of course F plc has not father, having been created in the Hadron Collider by the revivified brains of weapons scientists.

Talking of arms race, Henry Kissinger is in the audience. What are the chances of a superannuated celebrity collapsing from heatstroke and exhaustion? Probably be Wody Allen - all that thinking about tits is going to push him a vital couple of degrees over the safe level.

Feel sick. Have eaten too many biscuits.

Now it's Deuce in this set, with 13-12 to Federer on the scoreline. Very tense

Now it's 13 all. How long is this going to go on? I'm beginning to think time has stopped, and I have been placed in some kind of armchair sports hell as divine retribution for some misdemeanour in my young days. I will stay here surrounded by dirty washing and biscuit crumbs forever, glued to the televisual images of some endlessly slogging international sports brands, and never see the outside world again. Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrggggghhhh

Bloody hell, I've been writing this thing for over an hour. I could have finished a chapter of a novel in this time. Bloody microblogging trend, who do I think I am, Stephen Fry?

Come to think of it, who does Stephen Fry think he is? Always been puzzled by that one.

Can't stop now. As the line from Macbeth goes, 'so far steeped in biscuit crumbs and dirty washing...'

30-30. F plc jsust two points from Grand Slam. Roddick "holding on by his teeth" as Bjorn charmingly puts it. Oh well. A mispronunciated platitude is more interesting than a platitude. George W for commentator anyone?

The internet is broken so I can't look up how many sets they play before it goes to a tie break. whoever thought up this hell really had everything figured out down to the fine detail.

"That's Gavin Rossdale," says Bjorn, showing his great knowledge of slightly crap English bands.

F plc 2 points from victory here. Release me, Roger!

Now it's 30-30. I feel like the crew in the film Das Boot.

Deuce. Roddick's wag wife with a steely cosmetic face: Botoxed by the moment.

Deuce again. Implacable swiss Federer, how do you do it? What Genevan machanism is this?

Advantage Federer plc.

FEDERER'S WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I immediately feel bad for slagging him off. Daddy Sampras looks down grinning. What is happening now? The greencapped muppets are everywhere.

Roddick looks destroyed.

To slip into the vernacular: OMG, I've never seen this: they're turning the pitch into a ceremonial ground. Royalty have arrived. This is surreal.

Ah-ha. Lars Graf, microphone man, was Swedish.

Hope people spotted the Abba reference in the above.

Roddick looks like he'd want to throw that plate in a bin.

Federer plc looks quite fresh. God that trophy is gaudy. If Jacko was here he'd be commissioning a replica to hold sweets in. Give us a good baroque trophy anyday - noe of your minimalist glass and steel rubbish.

Now Roddick speaks to the crowd: wow. Even a joke to Pete Sampras. And ending on 'I'll be back'. Hollywood through and through.

"I won 5 but still it hurts". "Unfortunately tennis there has to be a winner sometimes, and today it was me." Here, I feel Federer has erred on the wrong side of glib. Probably getting ready for his career as a pundit.

Woody Allen still thinking about tits at this point probably. Wake up Woody! it's finished.

Okay stop talking to Federer now. 'Just one final question' - noooooooooo. Awww it's the Hello magazine angle - the baby. "It's good that there's an end of it". You said it Rog.