July 5th, 2008

Shopping, Murder Ballads And The Two

1. If we drive into Ashton we can go to Lidl- which is cheap- then just down the road to Sainsbury's to buy all the things that Lidl doesn't stock.  We're back to trying to live on a budget. As I wrote last time we tried it, budgetting can be fun if you treat it as a game of hunt the bargain. My biggest, little, personal triumph yesterday was finding a pack of frozen fish- from the Sainsbury's Basics range- four portions of pollack in batter, very nice too- for a ridiculous 99p. 

For a week or two we were getting our fruit and veg from the Asian supermarket in Glodwick. Fantastic value for money. Last week we drove by and the windows were boarded up. According to the Advertiser it was an arson attack. No-one knows why- or if they do, they aren't telling. 

2. I like Nick Cave. But maybe he's getting a bit old to be still banging on about murder and the Book of Revelations. His littlle concert with the Bad Seeds on the BBC last night took him to the edge of self-parody- and maybe over the edge. What I took to be the recent material- like a song about a guy in a long black coat with a red right hand- seemed written to a formula. You're forcing it now, I thought. So how about a nice, little middle-aged, love song? If Red Right Hand is one of the classics I apologise. But when we got to what I recognised as the bona fide classics- Mercy Seat and Stagger Lee- the passion seemed real again. How does an artist step down from a persona as vivid as Cave's? Does he bother? After all, look at Mick Jagger; if you go on pretending to be seventeen for decade after decade there comes a point when people stop laughing and pointing and start to be in awe. But then I was thinking about Alexei Sayle- one time alternative comedian- and how half way through his career he seems to have decided being famous was bollocks and he'd just jack it in. I admire him for that.

3. As the TV commentator said, There are Two Men at the top of the game- and then there are the Others.  The Two, of course, are Federer and Nadal. When the Others are playing amongst themselves they can look pretty impressive, but put them up against either of the Two and they get swept away in straight sets- which is what happened to poor Andy Murray. Really, the first two weeks of Wimbledon were a bit of a charade; It's not as if we had any doubt which two players were going to be in the final.

The women's game is much more open- or so we thought- but the ease with which the Williams sisters cruised through, brushing aside players with higher ranking, suggests that here too there's a gap- an almost impassable barrier- between the Others and the Two.