In an unprecedented move, tournament officials called a Press Conference this morning, hoping to calm the uproar over the absence of electro-pop duo Air from the draw.
‘It’s not our fault. They missed the deadline.’
It would have been one of the shortest conferences in history. But as the level of dissatisfied muttering in the room reached a dangerous crescendo, two men in dinner suits and sci-fi motor-cycle helmets escorted two other (unhelmeted) men in white towards the microphones then stood at either end of the table with arms crossed, in what can only be described as menacing poses. The white knights, smiling genially, announced themselves as Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel. They spoke in turns, word by word rather than alternating sentences.
‘We are very sorry not to be here to compete,’ they said, ‘We were playing a non-tour event in New Zealand.’
Someone asked if it was too late.
‘Sadly, Oui. Yet there is some relief in not facing the prospect of playing Jean-Michel Jarre. We learned all we know from him.’
‘That’s daft,’ said a reporter.
Glancing to either side, Air responded. ‘Oui. It is. And they are not playing either. Something to do with the helmets.’
‘Could you play an exhibition match with those punks?’
The black knights nodded.
‘Perhaps,’ said Air.
And so the press conference ended and the scheduled matches began.
The number one seed did not need his #1 game to oust little known electronic duo Bescombes-Rizet in straight sets. Jean-Michel Jarre won at a canter after his opponents, who smoked ferociously between points as well as at the change of ends, kept setting fire to their equipment and asking the umpire to roll back the vision. ‘We prefer soundtrack work,’ they admitted afterwards. ‘You can control the pace of everything.’ Jean-Michel, as is well-known, thrives on a mid-paced game.
In other results, little known progressive outfit Clearlight performed brilliantly to defeat Atoll. The former simply had more variety than their solid but unremarkable opponents. Similarly, Heldon were too inventive for symphonic progsters Pulsar, much of whose game seemed in thrall to Wish You Were Here era Pink Floyd.
The upset of the day was the defeat of neo-classical composer Saint-Preux by soundtrack supremo Maurice Jarre.
‘My game plan was all wrong,’ said S-P ruefully. ‘I thought the lush melodicism of my first album would do the job, but he was too good at manipulating themes. Should have gone with my second album. It has more variety and would have appealed to the crowd more.’
‘I only have one game plan,’ observed Jarre. ‘But it is a good one.’
Late in the evening, a number of players were seen relaxing at Thierry David’s lounge and bar. A real connection seems to have formed between the very different tribes of Art Zoyd and Gong; they made a raucous party in one corner of David’s lounge where they added an improvised percussion track to the soothing piped music. Other patrons hastily left.
Nor was Thierry himself to be seen. It is known that the New Age / Chill Out musician was disappointed not to make it through the qualification rounds, having not realised that tennis involved running.
His music, however, is quite liquid, having that intriguing quality of the best New Age releases in that it seems to have forward momentum yet not actually go anywhere. With titles like ‘Sunlight in my mind’ and ‘Zensations’, David is clearly aiming at the macrobiotic market and hitting the mark unerringly. He certainly seems to have found his niche at this tournament and it would not be surprising to find patronage of his laid-back establishment increasing as the heat in the Centre Court cauldron increases. Especially if Art Gong are banned.