Wide World of Clarke. "The Tournament" by John Clarke. [review]
In the first few pages of this extraordinary and daring piece of work, John Clarke effortlessly maps out the ground rules simply by taking the whole thing as read. There is no anxiety to explain massive anachronisms, outlandish juxtapositions, wild propositions: these are part of the satirist’s armoury.The form of the narrative - essentially, game following game, however bizarre the match-ups - runs the risk of an eventual flagging, a sameness, but nothing could be further from the truth. An immense, continuous and renewing energy flows from these various dimensions of wit, allusiveness, gags and uncomfortable historical reference; not to mention the fixtures themselves, which throw up new diversions just when the joke might have lagged. In the end, the winner is certainly not tennis. But game, set, match and championship: J. Clarke.