I am going to have to do this in two parts.
I am told by the Blog Writers’ Guild that it is de rigeur for any blogger to do a review of the year that was and a preview for the New Year. I have been remiss. And no excuses – I can’t bitch about lots of work, won’t wash with those who know my lazy ways. I can’t bitch about lots of parties either – I don’t get invited to the kind of parties I would like to go to, and those that I do get invited to are not worth going. Groucho Marx knew my views on such events – “I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.” So, as I was saying, no parties either. Laziness is the real reason, for which I have already apologized to the afore-mentioned Guild.
So, now to work. I am informed that the review should consist of things that happened in 2006 which I consider the high points of the year, from my purely personal perspective. So here goes, in no particular order of importance:
- The launch of my book. Didn’t know there were so many people who really cared for me. Made my year. Also, it stopped pretty young women calling me ‘uncle’; they started calling me ‘sir’ instead. Don’t really know whether it’s a huge improvement though.
- The Zizou headbutt. A perfect piece of physical coordination, best seen in slo-mo replay. The wind-up, the short sharp action at point of contact like a Mohammed Ali jab, the follow through – exactly as described in all the best football manuals. Tough to do, mind you; as tough as the bicycle kick. But when you see a perfect head butt, it beats Rivaldo’s bicycle kick of about 5 years ago.
- The van Nistelrooy dive. The grace of a swan, the movement reminiscent of the perfect normal curve, the gentle lift-off, the way the body goes horizontal, the landing on the forearms followed by the body making a perfect three-point landing, then the all-important head swivel to the referee with an expectant look on the face. Greg Luganis, eat your heart out!
- The Floyd Landis “blink and its gone” Tour de France trophy. One day the champ, the next day a villain. I feel sorry for the man. Doping has been part and parcel of the Tour since it began – I seem to remember reading about a racer in the 1920s, who said that without cocaine nobody will last more than 4 days. Now with the WADA and other such spoilsports, no decent man can take a shot of the stuff that enables him to last through three weeks of torture. The Tour has got to be the toughest sport that human ingenuity has invented – I have been watching it every year for the last three, and I still can’t understand the psychology of anyone who would willingly undergo such unrefined torture. Every man who finishes is a winner. Except Floyd Landis, who had the misfortune to get caught.
- The Kavya copy-paste incident. Plagiarism they called it; they took the book back off the shelves. Did they take the advance royalty cheque back, I wonder. Anybody knows a good book I can copy-paste from? Twentyfive percent of the royalties I get – that’s a promise.
- The Cream reunion concert DVD. A whole host of memories from my youthful days flooded back in a rush. Overwhelming – the only word I can find to describe the show. Ignore the fact that Clapton, Bruce and Baker have aged. Ignore the fact that they are doing the old Cream songbook, not a single new song in the show. Who cares? The chemistry is back on full steam; Eric played like he hardly plays nowadays: my twenty year old son understands why Eric was called God in the late 1960s. The intensity of the performance was incendiary.
- The Cream farewell DVD. I saw if first last year, hence it gets mentioned out here. Again, overwhelming is the word. The whole film is cinema verite; and the music is just, well, incendiary. The farewell and the reunion shows made me feel 18 again. I am glad I started listening to music seriously when all this stuff was really happening.
- Me being called a cool dude. I have written about it before, so the readers (I am being optimistic in using the plural) of my posts know all about the feeling of euphoria it created. Made the last quarter of my year, it really did!
- Seeing Kurosawa’s Dersu Uzala, after nearly thirty years. Not one of his masterpieces, but who cares. My emotional favourite Kurosawa – the visual beauty is stunning; the casting is perfect, particularly the Siberian hunter; the film flows like a running brook; and isn’t there a bit of Kurosawa hidden at the end, where the hunter realizes that his hunting days are over? Made me cry when I first saw it; made me cry again when I saw it some two months ago.
- The death of James Brown. The hardest working man in show business, and probably the strongest influence in the kind of music that I love, not excluding Bob Dylan and Charlie Parker.
Enough of this ramble, you say? Agree with you, you know. Not the kind of stuff to spring on strangers during a post New Year recuperative period. So, am taking your leave, chillun, and hope to see you again – soon.
(first posted on sulekha.com on Jan 3 2007)