Despite the fact Roger Federer won his 18TH grand slam title the frozen northerner found this year’s Wimbledon was a rather insipid affair, what with Sue Barker’s constant fawning and Andrew Castle’s slimy commentary the BBC really need to take a long hard look at their sports coverage, as it appears to be looking rather tired and dated. God, the amount of times I was told that Roger Federer is the greatest player of all time begged belief, Roger is great there is no doubt about it, but the greatest of all time, sorry, better than Laver, Borg, McEnroe, Sampras, Gonzales, Kramer, Budge and Tilden then the answer has to be firm no. All of Federer’s titles have been won in the open era of tennis which has only been around since 1968, thus severely restricted the careers of players of the calibre of Gonzales Kramer, Budge, hell, when Tilden turned pro in 1930 he had won 10 grand slam titles without appearing at Wimbledon every year, never mind Roland Garros or the Australian. Borg’s 11 Grand slam were all achieved in very short space of time before he left the sport at the tender age of 26, if he had played on who knows what he might have won, now I know what you are thinking which is that the frozen northerner just does not like Federer which is far from the truth, it is that I just think there have been better, I need to be convinced by Federer and I am not, oh and there’s another thing, Budge and Laver can argue about, Grand Slams, they are the only players to win all four Grand Slam titles in a calendar year with Laver doing it twice. Furthermore the likes of Laver and co nearly always competed in the doubles and mixed doubles at these major events making their task of consistently winning the singles titles just that little bit harder. What makes these kinds of assessments so difficult is that there is very little footage of the early great players and there aren’t too many people around who can remember Tilden or Budge, or even Ellsworth Vines, who the very shrewd Jack Kramer though was the greatest player ever to lift a racket. People like Kramer, Dan Maskell and Bud Collins spent the life constantly assessing players and their expertise greatly outweighs my rather limited knowledge. However, for me personally no one is ever going to get past Laver, who for me was pretty much incomparable, Borg would probably be my number two with the despised McEnroe at number three. The BBC commentary team can wax lyrically as long as they want about Roger who is truly great, it’s just that he is not the greatest.
Television wise you could argue that Hugh Laurie is at the top of his game, coming off the back of his success in the critically acclaimed The Night Manager his latest offering is Chance, a series created by Kem Nunn and Alexandra Cunningham, focusing on a San Francisco based neuropsychiatrist called Doctor Eldon Chance. Over the years Hugh Laurie has tended to excel playing upper class twits such as Lieutenant George in Blackadder or Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster and personally for me in this type of role he was and still is without peer. However in 2002 his career took him to America to try and crack the rather tough American TV market, firstly starring as the rather sarcastic and prickly physician Doctor Gregory House in the medical series “House” and then in the much darker noirish thriller, Chance. Despite the fact I am not totally convinced by his American accent, Laurie has pulled it off rather brilliantly in both shows. Will Chance reach the dizzy heights of “House” a show amassed a huge audience and won a raft of awards is yet to be seen, but if the first three episodes are anything to go by I am fairly confident that the show is in for a long run. In Chance, Laurie is ably supported by a good cast featuring amongst others Gretchen Mol, as the troubled but highly seductive Jaclyn, Paul Edelstein as Jaclyn’s violent husband Raymond Blackstone and Ethan Suplee as D. Having to deal with complex personalities is the least of Chance’s problems as well as having problems with his daughter, he’s in the middle of a messy divorce, notwithstanding to add to his ever growing problems he has now allowed himself to be drawn into a complex relationship with one of his patients the aforemetioned beautiful but highly vulnerable Jaclyn Blackstone. The show for me is completely unmissable and each episode is leaving me wanting more, would the frozen northerner fall for the highly desirable Jaclyn, your damn right he would, but being found by her brute of a husband is another matter, so the ball is your court Doctor Chance, what are going to do, perhaps you should ask Bertie Wooster.
The frozen northerner has not holidayed in any of the Balearic isles or Spain for that matter, for a considerable number of years, so it was going to be interesting experience going back, why was I returning, well, the answer is very simple, my youngest son and his bride to be were to be married in Cala D’or on the beautiful island of Mallorca. Situated on the south-east coast of the island Cala D’or is a very popular destination for thousands of Britons during the summer months and is about an hour’s drive from the islands capital Palma. So, the only question was the frozen northerner who, is not noted as being the most sociable, going to enjoy the experience, myself along with my wife the Contessa Di La Proctero and the rest my family stayed at Aparthotel Ferrera Blanca, this hotel was perfect for a family holiday/wedding and I have to say exceeded all of my expectations. Rather than have one long stretch of beach Cala D’or has a huge range of delightful alternatives with the coastline being dotted with lots of small sandy coves and bays. The wedding took place at the Cala D’or Yacht club which is located at the marina at Cala Llonga, having never been to a wedding abroad I was interested to see this occasion compared to the rather more formal weddings we have at home. Casual and laid back would probably best describe the event and a very pleasant day was had by all, I cannot thank the staff of the yacht club enough, as they went out of their way to ensure that my son and his bride had the perfect day. Before I went on this trip I was filled with apprehension, both about the wedding and the location chosen however, I have to say it was one the best weeks of my life and that is saying something, the wedding may have been the highlight of the holiday, but don’t underestimate Cala D’or and especially the yacht club because they are a great place to visit.
In blog notes 42 I argued that when it comes to polo shirts it is impossible for the frozen northerner to look beyond Lacoste or Fred Perry and in particular the Fred Perry that was made in collaboration with Nigel Cabourn. The alternative to these classics are wide and varied and has led me to Ralph Lauren’s flagship store on Bond Street to explore Ralph’s purple label polo shirt. The famed Mr Lauren has under his umbrella a range of labels such as the aforementioned Purple Label, Polo Ralph Lauren, Big & Tall as well Polo Tennis and Golf and a few more. Each line of clothing is supposed to share the vision of Ralph which probably reflected by the exasperating price range of his Purple Label which is regarded as a more luxurious line of clothing which, in all essence means more expensive. Purple Label products all have that famed Made in Italy tag which is guaranteed to send the price through the roof, so let’s see what we made of the purple label polo shirt. The first thing I noticed was that logo features an embroidered purple label pony which is different to that of their more iconic logo, furthermore it features mother of pearl buttons and is knit from two-ply long-staple cotton which the company argues aids colour retention. I cannot argue with quality of this shirt which is very good, but the price is exorbitant and that’s the rub, do you really want to pay that much for a polo shirt, who will wear it, well, it will probably be worn by people on the French and Italian Riviera and ivy leaguers heading for the Hamptons, but will it be worn in those summer hotspots of Whitley Bay and Tynemouth absolutely no chance in God’s creation, would I swap my Lacoste’s and Fred Perry’s for Ralph’s purple label pony, probably not, but that is not going to stop me lusting after one.