Practice makes perfect

The Canary Wharf Squash Tournament is on this week at, you guessed it, Canary Wharf in London. It brings to town the world’s elite squash players. I’m here already, of course….

I had the great privilege and pleasure to follow my “idols” in action at a training session on Monday and matches on Tuesday. They really are rather good at it. Practice makes perfect.

We’re producing a record at the moment. That in itself is hardly newsworthy considering what we do for a living, but there is a violin player in the band we’re working with. She is good. But admits that she’s not good enough to play in an orchestra. “You have to be seriously good to get in”, said she.

I was looking at some Youtubeage of Deep Purple from their glory days in the early 70s. Man, you had to be seriously good to get in to that band.

It’s strange. Every time I have an experience where I see someone really amazing in action in whatever field they’re in, I really feel frustrated with the state of the business I’m in. Forget whingeing about corrupt record labels and costcutting at the Beeb and the this and the that. Fuck ‘em. They don’t make records. They don’t write songs. They don’t play anything. We do. You and I do that.

I wonder why people wanting to get in to rock’n'roll seem to think that they’re entitled to a great career even if they’re not that good. The insane amount of practise that goes into getting great… a career is the reward you get for working hard. Commitment is something that ought to happen automatically, NOT as a consequence of someone “giving you a chance”. You know, “we’ll give up our day jobs if given a chance”.

At Canary Wharf I saw one of the absolutely top players, Gregory Gaultier, the French number 1 and former world number1, demolish a young qualifier from Switzerland, the Swiss number 1 Nicolas Mueller. The Swiss guy had made it into the main draw of the tournament through a gruelling couple of days of qualifying matches. He’s not making any money from it. Paying his way, paying his dues. Then he meets this mountain in the first round. No way around it, certainly no way through it. The Frenchman is saying “piss off, this is my meal ticket and I ain’t about to let you get even a whiff of it”. End of.

It was educational. Emotional, even.

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