Monday, 23 June 2008

Special Live Blog from the World Extreme Competitive Still-Life Painting Finals

Preamble: Hello everybody and welcome to today’s live blog. I’m writing from Gawain-Upon-Pissant, where a good crowd has turned up to see the current World Champion Extreme Still-Life Painter, Gordon Jordan, defend his title in what should be a great match. Jordan is up against the enfant terrible of the ECSLP world, Telemachus Lewis, who has impressed many fans of the sport with his performances in the qualifying and knockout rounds. His technical victory over the much-fancied Tanoshi Kata from Japan was a tournament highlight.

I’ll be providing you with regular updates on the action, in what I believe is the first ever live blog from an imaginary sporting event. Stay tuned, and feel free to send me emails or comments on the action!

12:00 Today’s referee, Ulrich Ulrich of Frankfurt, has made sure everyone is familiar with the rules before starting the match. We’re using the more advanced Russian set of regulations for this competition, a move that has seen some confusion during the earlier rounds, especially for the less experienced competitors (and who can forget little Jimmy Belford’s elimination on a technicality in the opening match, prompting a tiny temper tantrum from the eight-year-old?). So there’s no confusion, these rules prohibit the use of a four-fold triple dashback unless it’s preceded by a Helmsman Tribune. Slapdown pulls may not be made by a player who is in Nid, and the offside rule has greater cadence.

12:01 Ulrich Ulrich has unveiled today’s subject: it’s a bowl of apples and grapes! He blows his whistle and the match starts! Good luck all round!

12:05 A very good start from the champion here; he has spent the last few minutes speed-drawing preliminary sketches in what has become his inimitable style. Lewis is moving a little slowly, as if the pressure of the competition is weighing heavily on his shoulders.

12:10 Lewis is settling down now and getting into his stride. It looks like he’s going to attempt some difficult perspective work on the surrounding area, which could be risky; he needs to concentrate on the main focus points at this early stage, I feel. Jordan has started using colour now. I think I can see some greens in his pallet.

Incidentally, some people have contacted me with questions about the competitors’ choice of equipment. From what I can see, Jordan is using his trusted oils and the ever-present Windsor X33 set of brushes (which is hardly surprising, given his multimillion dollar sponsorship deal). Lewis has a vast range of watercolours and inks. I don’t know if he’s going to try and use the latter, or if they’re there for moral support after his remarkable black and white victory over Mary Starr in the semi finals. His brushes are all Hockney Extremes.

12:15 Wow! A very risky move from Lewis just got the crowd gasping! It would appear that his slow start was deliberate, and he was waiting for Jordan to get colour on his canvas before getting up and moving some of the fruits in the bowl! Remember: Such things are allowed within the Russian Rulebook, and Jordan is looking very angry indeed. A recovery from this will truly test the champion.

12:20 What a comeback there from Jordan: After a few minutes (in which Jordan seemed to be erasing a lot of previous work and changing things) Lewis went back and put the fruit back the way it had previously been in the bowl! Such creativity! But as he was doing so, Jordan ran around to Lewis’s canvas and painted a large blue stripe across it, from top right to bottom left! Lewis is furious, but if you live by the daring play, you also die by the daring play. The crowd are going wild!

12:30 After that exciting few minutes, both men have reverted back to a more conservative play. Not much has happened since then, but it appears that Lewis may be preparing for a pointillist interpretation of the fruit.

12:33 Penalty!! Amazing! After writing those words we’ve had a penalty call against Jordan! What was he thinking? The referee’s assistant spotted the use of an illegal brush stroke, and replays confirmed it: the highly illegal Devonshire Reverse Swirl. Intentional or not, Jordan has a five-minute penalty, and Lewis must be elated.

12:38 Jordan is back at the easel, and from his expression it looks like he’s swallowed a lemon factory.

12:42 Well, once again the crowd are going wild, but not for anything on the competitors’ easels. A streaker just jumped over the advertising hoardings and was chased by some of the stewards who quickly covered up his tiny penis with a hat. Lewis and Jordan didn’t bat an eyelid, such is their intense concentration during this awesome match. As is the tradition at these events, the naked interloper will be taken out back and shot.

12:50 And now the first signs of pressure are showing on the challenger. His brow is furrowed and sweaty and he’s been making some elemental errors (the most blatant: going for a Yellow Splash straight after a prolonged period of Elemental Grey…I thought that was beaten out of you in training camp). It’s clear that he’s struggling, and Jordan knows it. The taunting is beginning.

12:53 Excellent taunting from Gordon Jordan there. The 53 year old champion is showing why he’s the best in the world, both technically and mentally. And – oh my God! As I write this it looks like Telemachus Lewis has scribbled over his entire canvas and is – he isn’t, is he? – he is! He’s interpreting the still life in an abstract expressionist form! Oh no! This is suicidal by the challenger!

13:00 This is getting painful now. Jordan is coasting while Lewis is talking to himself and using a palette knife to scrape large swathes of heavy ink over his canvas. The referees need to put a stop to this, and soon.

13:02 Telemachus is clucking like a chicken. Even Jordan is starting to look concerned for his opponent’s mental well-being. This is a sad day for competitive still-life painting.

13:04 It’s all over! Victory for Gordon Jordan, who retains the trophy! In the end Telemachus Lewis threw out his canvas and drew eyes on his closed fist, trying to throw his voice so it looked like his fist was talking to the referees. He was asking for directions to the Soviet Embassy. A sad way to end the match, but a win is a win, and Jordan will be defending his trophy next year in Salt Lake City.

Thanks to everyone for your messages during this live blogging session, they really helped me get through the boring parts. Sorry I wasn’t able to respond to everyone, such was the level of excitement during today’s competition. See you next time, everybody!


Splotchy said...

I wish I could be an imaginary fly on the wall at this proceedings!

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Oh, it's true, Splotchy! I've witnessed many sporting events, from the famed 1996 Ski-Fight Championships to last year's thrilling football match between Real Madrid and St. Oswald's School for Angry Young Girls B-Team, but the atmosphere here beats everything!

Anonymous said...

I dunno, the Nuremberg Nude Oil Painting Derby of 1979 had a particularly thrilling atmosphere, especially after Hans P. Hans of Denmark broke down sobbing on the pitch after his canvas was tested positive for performance enhancing gesso.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

CCC: Unfortunately I wasn't there to witness it, though Derwent Cobblepot's excellent book, A Tryptich in Eight Parts: The 1979 Nuremberg Nude Oil Painting Derby Story made me feel like I had attended that seminal event.

Falwless said...

I really felt like I was right there. This liveblogging is where it's at. I think you should do all events like this from now on. Sure, the travel might get costly, but, listen, we all have to sacrifice a little for the common good of humankind.

Amazing. Really. Well done indeed.

Mo said...

"...the naked interloper will be taken out back and shot."

Ah, how I've missed my daily dose of reviews while wasting away in St Louis this weekend...It's good to be back.

katrocket said...

This is some quality embedded journalism right here!

Are you available for children's parties?