Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dear Mr. Fantasy -- Ramy Ashour

I was watching this great video of Stevie Winwood, okay, this might date me a bit, but for those of you that know about Winwood, he was the wunderkind of rock in the 60's and 70's. He was a mere 17 years old when he recorded with Traffic and barely 20 when he sang those exquisite, and I mean exquisite lyrics, for, and I will say, the greatest rock group ever to record, Blind Faith. It's so rare that we experience this virtuosity at such an early age. Read the poems of Rimbaud, about the same age as Winwood, and similarly the same age as this brillian racquet genius, Ramy Ashour. I have to confess, I'm not a big fan of Egyptian squash. I didn't put Amr Shabana in my top ten, I never ever really saw him play a great match. But I have seen matches recently of what undoubtably is a true virtuousa, a rock star of squash, pure and absolute poetry he writes these lyrics with a racquet rather than a pen. Ramy Ashour, aside from all the hype, does things with the squash ball not unlike Steve Winwood does with vocals with the likes of Traffic and Blind Faith. While I have no doubt that there is no one in the history of the planet that was meant to sing vocals on Dear Mr. Fantasy, I have no doubt that there was no one ever meant to be number 1 in squash. Such genius transcends time, it always does, there will come a time when people will look at the great amasss of videos of Ramy playing and shake their heads astounded at just how great this talent is. When I watch Steve Winwood with Blind Faith in Hyde Park London, singing Sea of Joy, I can feel the same thing. I shake my head and say this man is perhaps the greatest rock vocalist ever. Those who know me might be surprised at this, I'm conservative and love the British and Australian approach to squash. Nick Matthew to me is truly a genius on the court, he is so good, but he's the Clapton of Blind Faith, what made that group so great were the vocals of the Wunderkind, Steve Winwood. Strange correlations, but when you step outside of time and place you can invariably connect the dots you otherwise wouldn't connect. I have to say that Ramy is perhaps the greatest player I've seen since Jahnsher, what he does simply astounds me. The racquets of Ramy, the vocals of Winwood, if we could somehow bring them to a similar medium it would be perfect poetry, perfect squash.

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