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Wednesday, 28 June 2006

Spain 1, France 3...

Songs of innocence and experience.

No, not Blake. Clive Tyldesley. (I'm paraphrasing, obviously....) "A European summit", he solemnly intones. The "youthful zest and potency" of Spain (ave. age 24 1/2) pitted against a France team (ave. age 29 1/2) who have "grown old together". Too early for Spain? ( mind drifts off here and I picture the callow Spanish side shuffling on to the 8.45 bus, proffering their Freedom Passes to the tight-lipped bus driver, squawking, "is it twirly? Is it twirly?") Or too late for France? "My head says Spain, my heart says France. The heart wins out, Clive..." swoons the ever-lyrical David Pleat. Blake? Shelley? It's only a bloody game....!

But this is no ordinary game. It could be last time any of us get to watch the great Zinedine Zidane kick a ball in anger, our last chance to "wallow (??!!?) in his magic." Incidentally, why do ITV persist in employing pundits for whom English is clearly a troublesomely-acquired second language? Fortunately, Ruud Gullit is on hand to bail out Venables after his "wallow in the magic" gaffe by bidding his own emotional "far well" to Zizou.

The anthems: Zizou (an older, more obviously Arabic David Blaine) leads the French equipe through the Marseilleise. I'm sure his bottom lip wobbles a bit at the end before he steadies himself and his team mates with what I lipread as a stern and focussed "allez les bleus!" The Spanish team look skyward.

It's boys against men alright. Gallas picks the pocket of the much-lauded (and hitherto very impressive) Torres (a young Rob Brydon), roughing him up a little for his cheek along the way. The Spanish backline, led by the little pocket battleship that is Puyol (the fifth Marx Brother - Permo) is playing dangerously high up the field. It's just a matter of time before Henry breaches their juvenile attempts at playing the offside trap and scores with a trademark sidefooted curler cutting in from the left.

But no. Against the run of play, Spain win a penalty which Villa (David Copperfield from Three of a kind) places just inside Barthes' (Donald Pleasance in a Pinter play) right hand post on 26 minutes. But France are unphased. Ribery, a one man French new wave, makes a clever diagonal run from inside the centre circle, Henry puts both hands in surrender to the assistant referee to convince him he's not interfering with play (unnecessarily, bcause he's done fek all so far, save be caught offside) and the trap is sprung. Ribery romps into the acres of space left behind the hapless defence like a city scruff through pasture and scampers around Casillas to slot home around the 40 minute mark.

Half time. A bout de souffle.

Our prolonged second half bad pun competition -

S.: Couldn't they have a team called Diss United?

Me: That's daylight Ribery, that is....etc.

is interupted by a cheeky run to the byline by the increasingly confident and influential Ribery (sign him, Arsene...) He cuts the ball back ("here you are Sydney...", deadpans Pleat) but there's no one there to apply the coup de grace.

Instead, it's left to Vieira (who still illicits the occasional, involuntary "goo on Paddy!" from yours truly, I have to confess). He seems to be relishing the opportunity to do more of his work in the final third (two goals already from midfield) now he has Makelele to cover behind him. Henry cons a free kick for a nothing barge from Permo (he's had a wonderful evening, but this wasn't it..). Then Thierry lets himself down by feigning a facial injury after one of Permo's curls hits him square on the chest. Insult is added to injury when Vieira heads home at the far post seven minutes from time.

Domenach (a very scary Dave Allen/Paul O'Grady face morph) replaces Henry with Wiltord while Spain can still plausibly equalise and take the game to extra time. "He's mad", I gesticulate at the TV, screeching in bad French. But Raymond knows. As the game enters stoppage time, Wiltord's neat wall pass releases a now zestful and potent Zidane, who cuts inside the by now completely ragged Permo (and that's just his hair) to shoot low and hard under Casillas. "Roll away the stone", Tyldesley talk-sings. Forget all the young dudes, it's Lazarus Zizou's night.

The clash of the generations theme is continued and expanded in Eastenders. Jim Branning (Lee J. Cobb re-imagined by Picasso after a heavy night on the Rioja) hands on misery to his newly reacquainted son, Max (Mark Wright) who in turn hands on misery to his newly reacquainted son, Bradley (an ultra-flushed Prince Harry, only quite nice with it). It deepens to a coastal know the drill.

A vinyl urge. I fall asleep during side two of Songs from the Catherine Wheel. Refreshed by this power snooze, I stick on side two of Revolver. Such beautiful recordings. The stereo soundstage has real depth, even on this late 70s pressing. As I'm on a roll with the second sides, I play Bookends (by Rooney & Gerrard - sorry, that should be Simon & Garfunkel...) They look too young on the cover to be singing about 'Overs' and sad, lonely bookends and taping people in old folks homes.

There's also an anger that's not present all that often in the rest of Simon's work on this LP. Hear it in the snap of the acoustic guitar runs and the derisive Joe di Maggio namecheck on 'Mrs. Robinson' and the "blah, blah, blah" Garfunkel tacks on to the line "because the kid's got no respect for the law today..." in 'Save the Life of my Child'.

Songs of experience:

When she goes, she's gone
If she stays, she stays here
The girl does what she wants to do,
She knows what she wants to do
And I know I'm fakin' it,
I'm not really makin' it.

But songs of innocence too. In the the free for all of the zoo:

The monkeys stand for honesty,
Giraffes are insincere,
And the elephants are kindly but
They're dumb.
Orangutans are skeptical
Of changes in their cages,
And the zookeeper is very fond of rum.

Zebras are reactionaries,
Antelopes are missionaries,
Pigeons plot in secrecy,
And hamsters turn on frequently.

And the hazy-morning-breakfast-fug surrealism of 'Punky's dilemma':

Wish I was a Kellog's Corn Flake
Floating in my bowl, takin' movies.
Relaxing a while
Living in style
Talking to a raisin who occasionally plays L.A.
Casually glancing at his toupee.

Wish I was an English Muffin
About to make the most out of a toaster.
I'd ease my self down
Coming up brown.
I'd prefer boysenberry more than any ordinary jam.
I'm a citizens-for-boysenberry-jam fan.

Innocence, experience.

Bring on the Quarters.....

© 2006 Swipe Enterprises

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