Tuesday, July 18, 2006

For One, Brief Shining Moment

"Don't let it be forgot,

That once there was a spot,

For one brief, shining moment,

That was known as ...."

Camelot - a place that once must have been real, and is now firmly a myth. A dream of the once-upon-a-time future.

It was and will be a place of wonders: A Summer and Winter, Spring and Autumn Paradise - where the original "Beautiful Young" dwell - if not in harmony with each other, at least in touch with something deep within their individual natures: The real fight against ignorance and prejudice - the ignorance of worn out systems only present through inertia, and prejudice grown from poverty and lack of exposure to the opportunites so freely available, and so frequently abused, elsewhere.

Lic Shakespeare, Timisoara, Romania, 1993-96.

That was Camelot. A brief moment of time and located in a land besotted with myth.

Magic happened then, the magic brought by unrecognised freedom, in a system which had lost control and hadn't had time to regroup and rebind.

Ideals drove some people on - not just the young people, the older ones too, determined to make the world different.

Money drove on others - dollar signs in their eyes, but free at last to pursue that greatest of democratic treasures, private property and wealth.

Yet others were there for the ride, not knowing what they had entered, not particularly caring either - but the magic penetrated even their indifferent skins.

Like all magical moments, it was brief, intangible, incomprehensible and never to be repeated (until another time, another place).

In June, this year, a number of the survivors met. There were empty chairs around the round table.

Whether married and starting young families, swept away in the Romanian intellectual diaspora, well on the way to their first (US $) million or just making it good at home, a remarkable group of young people came together. A number of the elders were there too.

There was still magic there - but not the high energy, atmospheric fission - magic that had sedimented somewhere inside the people (I'll avoid using 'soul' - although the Romanian word conveys a sense of essence not really present in the English, it also sounds too much like souffle for my heathen taste).

No matter where these people go, what these people do, there was in their lives, that brief, shinning moment -

and to Arthur's bussom, they shall eventually return.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Agassi vs. The Thug

I am not a great fan of sport - which, to those who know me, is something of an understatement.

However, over the past few years, I have been bound to the television for much of my entertainment. Not only that, "foreign" television.

Whilst I enjoy film and theatre, intelligent debate and factual programmes, understanding is almost impossible when you barely have the capacity to order a beer in the local ex-pat bar, and can't get your hair cut for love nor money.

I have consequently drifted into viewing sport on the grounds it is at least something I can follow (although I deny vehamently any understanding).

In time, one becomes attached to individual faces - and certain events.

In fact, one longs for paticular events as some sort of reference point in the the ever shifting mindscape of international life.

Wimbledon is one such event, and Andre Agassi one of those 'old, familiar faces'.

Yesterday he played his last Wimbledon match and at the end, said an emotional farewell to the crowd and spectators (whilst crediting them with a degree of knowledge I doubt really exists).

Agassi (unlike poor old Pete when he bowed out) had been given Centre Court - even though he was playing the number 2 seed (normally sent off to exile in a lowlier court 'til later on in the tournament) Rafael Nadal.

The old man put up a fight for the first set - then fell to the inevitable power of the up and coming, just-out-of-teenage-er.

Nadal went for his habitual roar of triumph and then, remembering who he was playing and what he had just done, pulled up and stepped back out of the limelight.

The Centre Court paid its tribute to the defeated ex-champion and you knew some sort of ending had happened. There was dignity in it - and respect. The Coup-de-Grace had been delivered, a Young Lion had taken over the pride, the handing over completed. Agassi had been given given his triumph.

What a contrast latter on in the day when England fell to Portugal in the World Cup.

There was little dignity here, and a lot of bitterness. The action which most sits on my mind (much like an under-cooked suit pudding on the stomach, waiting to be vomited) is the stomping and brawling of England's prize thug, Rooney.

I don't doubt his ability with a ball - but what a lout he is - and what a representative of his country.

FIFA's 'Fair Play' is splattered all over the place as if printing it makes it a reality. There are few professional footballers one would think subscribes to it. The game doesn't matter, only beating the opponant does. Pretence and deceit are valued, as long as the other team loses.

And Portugal can't hold its head up either - a whinging Ronaldo trying to pursuade the referee to send off an opponant - what a spectacle.

What a contrast to Rafael Nadal.