What else can I say?  In fact, that is so good a word that I’m gonna say it again.


That’s 77 (or 26) years worth of WOW, thank you very much – and we are entitled to every letter of it.  Wow, wow!  And thrice wow.  And wow again.

Yes, I don’t need to tell you why – it’s obvious.  Since 1977 we have not known such deep and penetrating volleys of joy: such backhand cross-court drop-shots of happiness; such over-the-net-and-in-the-corner-of-the-court returns of euphoria.  And there hasn’t been a British male winner of Wimbledon since 1936.

That’s right: before the war, when women wore long (or longer) skirts to play in; when men wore long trousers and everyone said ‘Oh, jolly good shot!’ in tones like Dan Maskell (in fact Dan Maskell may have been no more than a locker-room strategy in his mother’s womb); when commentators were rather sneering about Americans and foreign Johnnies – that’s the way tennis looked when Fred Perry won the best tournament in the world.  Here’s some Pathe News highlights:


I have to say it doesn’t look anything like as energetic as today’s play – when they were playing I thought they were still warming up!

Anyway, since those days in the male half we’ve had Buster Mottram (reached 1/4 finals but was a fascist), John Lloyd (also 1/4 finals) and Tim Henman (semis but lacking killer instinct).  But now we have Murray, the dourest of Scotsmen, who only just about cracked a smile when he won.

But oh, my god!  What a moment!

He began well, taking the first set 6-4, but most people must have thought we were in for a five-setter.  I hardly dared let myself believe he could win – and even when he took the second 7-5, coming from 1-4 down with 2 breaks of serve against him, I was sure Djokovic would fight back: but whether it was the Serb’s gruelling 5-set semi-final or whether he just didn’t find his form, in the end he couldn’t follow through and the third set saw Murray serving for the match.  He had 3 points on his serve and lost them: it went to deuces – and finally he came through in straight sets!  I could NOT believe it!  The cheers were deafening, Murray cracked what could have been construed as a grin and Djokovic was commendably gracious in defeat.

Oh, joy!  Deep joy!

So it was on a cloud of this joy that I floated over to Yesim’s.  On being asked whether I had any poetry I responded: ‘The only thing I have in me right now is the sheer poetry of watching Murray win Wimbledon!’

Sadly no-one really shared my joy; and a second later someone said (and I quote) ‘I know a negative story about that.’

‘No!’  I said.  ‘No negative stories!’  And I rushed to the loo.

Why is it that when you’re on a high some people’s first thought is to bring you down?

There’s a lot of philosophical stuff here, such as ‘What effect does having a national winner have on the national psyche?’ – not to mention why some people try to bring you down when you’re happy – but I shall save that for a separate post.  For now, I’m just going to leave you with this moment, which I will be savouring for a long time to come:


Game, Set, Match and Championship!






Kirk out


Holy Flying Circus, Batman! You MUST Watch This!!!!

Yes, today’s theme is religion and philosophy and instead of just sitting here and giving you the benefit of my thought (LOL) I’m going to recommend a programme.  Nay, ‘recommend’ is too weak a word: I absolutely INSIST that you watch this on iplayer the very second that you finish reading this post.  For here, most unexpectedly, is the most eerily and brilliantly accurate comedy biopic I have ever seen.  Directed by Owen Harris (‘Misfits’, ‘Black Mirror’, ‘Skins’) and written by Tony (‘The Thick of it’) Roche, it is in the same mould as the Kenny Everett biopic I blogged about earlier, but even better.

‘Holy Flying Circus’ tells the story of the furore following the release of ‘Life of Brian’.  Starring Darren Boyd as Cleese (he’s Dirk Gently’s sidekick in the recent series) and Charles Edwards as Palin (and Palin’s mother) and including Steve Punt as Eric Idle, this film features a style of acting which is uncannily like the real thing: something half-way between interpreting a role and doing an impression.  The two stars in particular are so good you’d swear you were watching Palin and Cleese, while Graham Chapman sits and puffs his pipe in the background and makes us all feel nostalgic for when he was alive.

The climax of the film is the famous chat-show, Friday Night and Saturday Morning where Cleese and Palin debate with Malcolm Muggeridge and a Bishop on the morality of the film, chaired by a terminally gentle Tim Rice (Tim Rice?).  Here’s a bit of the original:


There is a brilliant, multi-layered script featuring God at the end played with consummate brilliance by Stephen Fry; and lots of subtitles pointing out ‘satire’ and other such Python-nesses.

So I insist that you watch this NOW, before it disappears from the iplayer:


The Bishop looks thoroughly dated and extremely patronising, unlike the other Bishop I encountered unexpectedly yesterday going into the Turkish restaurant on Narborough Rd.  Yes, Rob Freeman (for it was he) and Chris were just going in as I was passing, so I nipped in and surprised them at their table.  They are dropping in on the Martyrs later so I will catch up with them then.  Rob is utterly sensible, very humorous and just about the most down-to-earth bloke you will ever meet.  And he’s Bishop of Penrith:


Happy Sunday – enjoy the sunshine.  And come on, Andy!

Kirk out

Go Murray!

Well, what else can I write about today but the tennis – and what can I say but ‘Wow!’  There were two utterly terrific semi-finals yesterday: I had intended to stop watching the first, between Djokovic and Del Potro, after an hour or so, but I just couldn’t tear myself away.  This nail-biting five-setter didn’t follow the script at all: Djokovic ought in theory to have dispatched ‘Del-boy’ in straight sets, but the Argentine player just hung in there and produced some spectacular shots.  He simply wouldn’t go away and punished each of Djokovic’s errors with a winner.  So Djokovic eventually got through the match, which was the longest men’s semi-final in Wimbledon history; though there have been longer matches at other levels.  You have to wonder whether, after that, he will have the reserves he needs for tomorrow’s final.

Aaaaaand yes!  He will be playing Murray.  After a fairly nail-biting four-setter against the eighteen-year-old Janowicz during which they had a break to put on the roof, Murray was through in fairly decisive fashion.  The match was almost an object-lesson in youth versus experience, Janowicz covering the court faster but Murray playing more wisely and getting far less worked up.  There was some controversy about the decision to put the roof on at that stage; there seemed to be enough light to play on but Janowicz had been whittling about the roof for a good half hour and the break favoured him as Murray was on a roll at that point.  Still, in the end Murray gritted his teeth and won the fourth set and the match.  You have to give him good odds against Djokovic, especially with a home crowd.

Sadly I shall be missing the women’s final as I’m meeting Chris and Peter for a drink: however I have my seat booked for tomorrow from 2 pm onwards.  Not on centre court, sadly, but in front of a decent TV for a change…

Happy Saturday

Kirk out

PS  I can’t remember if I mentioned that I was going to be on TV talking about urine therapy?  I think I did – well, I’m not doing it now as I have received reliable information that this is not the serious scientific study it purports to be but an exercise in ridicule: apparently it is to be called ‘Health Freaks on Trial’.  So no thanks, Channel 4 – if I’m going on there it should be me taking the piss….

All Won in the Best Possible Taste!

The BBC was under fire last night for Gary Richardson’s post-match interview in which he suggested Murray might get the ‘hair-dryer’ treatment from coach Ivan Lendl for losing the first two sets.  Meanwhile I was actually in need of a hair-dryer, being an emotional wet dish-cloth after the knuckle-biting five-set encounter between the Scottish No 1 and relatively unknown Spanish player Fernando Verdasco.


I tuned in around five to see in disbelief a scoreline of 2 sets to 0.  Could this be true?  Did they not have it the wrong way round?  Nope, Murray was losing.  The Spanish guy played almost supernatural tennis at times, covering the court like Sonic the Hedgehog and creating angles you don’t normally see outside doubles matches.  Andy brought out all his shots, but they weren’t enough, and in the end it just came down to hanging in there and waiting for the other guy to make a mistake.  This he eventually did, putting enough shots out to let Murray equalise and finally win the last set 6-4.  Murray looked the more tired of the two throughout the match and what won it for him in the end was his own persistence and a couple of over-long shots from Verdasco.


Elsewhere on the i-player the Beeb repeated the excellent Kenny Everett biopic, ‘Best Possible Taste’.  The guy playing ‘Ev’ is so good you’d swear it was the man himself you were watching; and his conflicted relationship with his wife and with his own sexuality is beautifully portrayed.  It’s hard to believe that only 30 years ago people were dying of Aids in this country because they didn’t know about condoms.  So watch it before it disappears from the i-player.


Some things do get better.  Homophobia is one – and tennis is another.  Come on Andy!

Kirk out

PS  Wordpress informs me that this is my 1775th post on this blog!!!

It’s a Crime not to Read This

So… on Thursday I went along to the inaugural meeting of the local Crime Reading group: this took place in the library and turned out to be an all-women affair, though the facilitator, an ex-librarian, was male.  He proved to be very knowledgeable about crime and got the discussion going; though people didn’t need much encouragement, being a very vocal group.  We began with our favourite authors: M C Beaton was the first to be mentioned, an author towards the cosy end of crime who was referred to throughout as Mrs Beaton, which amused me.  Ian Rankin featured heavily, of course, as did Patricia Cornwell – whom I have yet to read – Kathy Reichs and Val McDermid were also mentioned; many people liked Agatha Christie (which I don’t) and what was surprising in retrospect was how little Sherlock Holmes was mentioned.  A sign of the times perhaps?

There was a potential split between those who wanted to focus purely on books and saw TV adaptations as irrelevant (‘I have only books and radio 4 in my house’ said one) and those – one woman in particular – who seemed very focussed on TV programmes and admitted to reading only ‘short, easy books.’  I suspect most people are like me, wanting to focus on books but also interested in the dialogue between books and other forms – and in particular, whether future books are influenced by past adaptations.  Some people claimed that Ian Rankin’s books, for example, had been changed by TV interpretations of Rebus.  So that will be interesting.

For next month we have a book to read which is based in the Island of Lewis off the coast of Scotland, called Black House.  I’m finding it interesting so far and he evokes the setting well:


And so to the Ale Wagon, where Jan and I discussed Scottish independence and whether the vote would go through if they had it tomorrow.  She reckoned it might…

…and going back to yesterday’s theme, there’s an awful lot of talk about tennis injuries and why the courts are so slippery, but few people seem to mention the obvious: the utterly crappy summer we’ve been having.


Kirk out

Poc! Poc! Poc! Poc! AAAAAhhhh!

Yes, that’s a rally of tennis – and tennis is pretty much all I’ve been watching on the iplayer this week.  There’s not much else around, but in any case I do tend to focus on the tennis to the exclusion of all else, during Wimbledon fortnight.  The highlights so far have included Murray pretty much walking his first-round match and Laura Robson playing a blinder in hers: Rafa has also, sadly, been knocked out as, surprisingly, has Scharapova.  In fact, they’re dropping like flies, amid mutterings that the courts are damp and slippery:


Wimbledon is a special event for me.  The jibe about people only watching tennis for two weeks a year is entirely just; but there are reasons for it: I know Wimbledon as I used to live reasonably close (as London distances go) and I have visited the place several times.  In those days you could get a fairly cheap ticket which would take you on all the outside courts and you could queue for standing room on the show-courts.  It was a great day out, and having been there I feel I know the place: I have an affection for it.  The tournament also has historical value for me: it connects all my summers going right back to when I was eleven and first started watching tennis (I’ve only ever missed a couple of years when I didnt’ have TV), and although some changes have been made including the much-needed roof on centre court, the tournament has remained pretty much the same in all that time.  It’s about the only place where you can’t complain about them calling the women ‘ladies’ because they actually do call the men ‘gentlemen’…

I think it’s high time, though, that women played best of five sets.  I’ve never understood why they don’t, since that is about stamina rather than strength, something women are better at than men.  It would make the women’s game more exciting and unpredictable too, though I have to admit the prospect of listening to Scharapova scream her way through five sets is not inviting.  The bloody woman screams on every shot!!!  Too much…

… and yes, I have heard the most exciting news of the week: that Federer is out!!! – but I can’t realise it yet because I haven’t seen it on the iplayer.  Until things are on the iplayer they haven’t really happened for me.  Good news for Murray, though – he’s in with a real chance now.  Here’s the latest beeb update:


I wait with bated breath…

Kirk out

Sunday Evening, Gather Round…

Another terrific night at Yesim’s last night: plenty of people but not too many; Mark came and told a story about an alien tooth fairy, and I did two poems and sold four Tomatoes Poetry pamphlets!!!  We finished, as usual, with the Yesim’s Music Circle Song – and as always I felt inexpressibly happy at hearing everyone sing my words with such gusto.  This must be what it feels like to be Leonard Cohen…

Speaking of singer/songwriters, Chris Conway has complained that once again he has failed to win the Sports’ Personality of the Year award.  He wonders whether his agent is putting him in for the wrong awards…


He was, however, interviewed on Radio Leicester yesterday by John Sinclair.  I’ll have to see if I can get John to interview me next:


Bradley Wiggins was surely a shoe-in (or spoke-in) for the SPY award – no-one else came close this year.  Much as I like Andy Murray, his dourness and lack of verbosity would have made him a slightly incongruous choice.  Or should we be valuing these qualities in this way?

I had some thoughts on gun control in the US (and everywhere) but my heart is not in it: it’s too horrible to think about.  So meanwhile here is some light music:

Light Music 

(for Eyjafjallajökull)

And it brought back to me my childhood

every second thought

punctured by a scream of metal

straining to get into heaven…

That’s the start of a poem but I can’t remember the rest.  I’ll have to go and look it up.  So for now my little bloglets, enjoy your last week before Christmas.  Remember that the world won’t end if you fail to buy something that’s on your list; remind yourself that spending time with people is more important than spending money on them – and when you’ve done your jobs, put your feet up and have a glass of wine.

Kirk out