Tuesday, 1 January 2008

I love 1970s (Happy 2008)

Gogi Alauddin in 1977So then squashblog charged out of the trenches right from the new year get-go, gunning for nay-sayers like Jonathan Aitken brandishing a squash racket and the trusty shield of whatnot ...

And first in the firing line is Harry Pearson in the Guardian, goading the great game across the Christmas-New Year demilitarised zone when the 'blogger was back in barracks.

Before we share it, here's a new year quiz ...

What have the following got in common:

A Question of Sport
They Think It's All Over
Mark Lawrenson partnering John Motson in the commentary box for international football matches

Yep, they're either unapologetically sh*t, or A VERY BAD IDEA. They are not, by any stretch of the imagination, funny.

What is it about sport and comedy on TV? Try and think of an example where the two conjugate successfully. It's pretty damn hard.

Has there ever been an edition of A Question ... that hasn't featured some gurning ex-pro resorting to some lame laddish banter about Sue Barker's matronly tone in order to raise an arms-folded titter from his team mates?

Actually, I can't answer that question. The last time I sat through a full half hour of it, Bill Beaumont was slumped comatose in his seat while Emlyn Hughes stood on his head to trying to identify an East German pole vaulter by their backside during the mystery guest round.*

The one glorious exception that comes to mind where sport and comedy avoided the preditable NASCAR pile-up is the film Caddyshack (Rodney Dangerfield RIP).

Anyway, not to hype it any longer - here is the article extract from What won't happen next year:

'At the World Masters Championship squash in New Zealand organisers deny that their sport suffers from an image problem. "People keep saying squash is just too 1970s to take seriously," says Abigail Crimpelene. "But I don't think that is true and everybody I talked to at the pre-competition fondue party agreed with me." The event itself is marred by an injury to the No1 seed Mateus Rose of Portugal, who crashes his Vauxhall Viva into a space hopper. "Apparently he was having trouble steering because earlier he'd hurt his wrist in a Clackers-related incident," says a New Zealand police spokesman.'

I wonder if he's been to see the play Water that I recently reviewed here.

I loved the 70s - in fact I was born during them: the year of KISS's Destroyer tour, when global warming hadn't been invented, and unnaturally hot weather was greeted by regional news crews broadcasting housewives frying eggs on the bonnets of Ford Capris, rather than the holding international climate summits.

The British squash legend also made an appearance in Mike Leigh's successful screenplayBut given that in the space of little more than a month I've read an article and seen a play that both represent squash as a pastime still enjoyed by the likes of Tony from Abigail's Party rather than Lewis Hamilton in a pre-season fitness drive, then maybe we should be worried. After all, why are clichés clichés?

At least none of the top PSA pros now sport large mustaches, which seemed essential to attaining consistency of length and longer rallies in 1977.

And there's more ...

* Amazingly, a quick look at Wikipedia threw up something genuinely funny that has happened on AQOS. The Australian cricketer Shane Warne was on the show at the time:

When the opposing team incorrectly guessed Venus Williams as the sports star shown, the answer was obviously Serena Williams but Warne thought differently and thought it was Roger Federer despite the two having different skin tone and being of a different gender.

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