Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ringy and Rudi

• The Cork hurlers eh, what a bloody mess. Watch the media en masse dance around the real issue which is Frank Murphy’s authoritarian, though, it must be said, politically astute running of the County Board. Players come and players go but Frank goes on forever – it has seemed. But Murphy has finally met up with a generation of hurlers that have stood up to his machinations and his controlling impulse – and he will be damaged by this. Gerald McCarthy is only a pawn and will become expendable in the end game. Watch the footballers join in before the matter is resolved.

• Watched Ringy last night – a documentary on Christy Ring. While it tended towards hagiography and lacked TV evidence of his skills, you couldn’t but be impressed by the spoken tributes of his contemporaries, including old adversaries such as John Doyle (the master chef in Tipp’s hell’s kitchen). Doyle reckoned that “Christy won 8 All Irelands for Cork, my lads (his Tipperary team mates) won 8 for me”. Ring was a prototype Roy Keane. He had the same cold competitive intensity but was very intolerant of anyone on the team who didn’t share his zeal and talents.

• Saw Slumdog Millionaire last Friday – underwhelmed. It’s visually lush and very snappily edited but the whole thing seems a romantic contrivance – notwithstanding our immersion in the slums of Mumbai and the teeming chaos of the lives depicted. There were redeeming features, the quiz master (Anil Kapoor) was wonderful – patronising the “chai wallah”, and the female lead (Frieda Pinto) had a lubriciousness that would put Scarlett Johansson to shame.

• Just finished Julie Kavanagh’s biography on Nureyev. It’s very good on the arcane world of ballet, and especially good the colourful characters who populate that world. (Such as Dame Ninette du Valois who spent some time with the Irish Ballet in Cork.) There was however more technical detail than I wanted. You came away with the feeling that Nureyev blew it. Removed from the discipline of the Kirov he became infatuated with his stardom to the detriment of his dance. He also fell prey to the lure of the money and the rich and frittered away his time and talents on hedonistic junkets with Stavros Niarchos and Aristotle Onassis. His warm and lasting relationship with Margot Fonteyn was an exception in a life littered with people dropped after they had outlived their usefulness to him. And he had a very unedifying and perfunctory attitude to sex - which Kavanagh manages to convey without salaciousness. This of course did for him in the end.