The Best of TEE OFF with Vivienne Inch

I confess I was surprised to receive an invitation from the publishers to choose for you archival cave divers a couple of examples from my insanely popular sports column Tee Off with Vivienne Inch. Despite repeated attempts to convince the publishers of this trendy rag we deserved better placement, fellow sports writer Jack Rufus (Tooth & Claw) and I for many years (1994-99) languished at the scrag-end of the publication spinning sporty bon mots from the news of the day.

Why golf? Well as I answered in fielding a question from a young high flyer in 1996 about the popularity of the sport among artists and arts bureaucrats, “The etiquette of the game demands restraint. The desire to wallop your opponent with a nine iron is kept constantly in check. And despite the bunkers and the sand traps and the impossible holes, it’s a numbers game where you can still look your opponent in the eye, face the same hazards and expose your handicaps. Golf is the closest thing we have to the level playing field.”


TEE OFF with Vivienne Inch

RealTime 8, August-September, 1995, p 35

Teeing off this week with Muffin Spencer-Devlin I was paged by the selectors to score at the State Opens for this year’s Shakespeare Competitions. I jumped at it, of course. I am a stickler for diction and pleased to be able to give an ‘Inch-along’ to an under-reported sporting activity. How widely known, for example, was the recent win at the Metropolitan East regional finals of the Globe Centre Shakespeare Festival, by two Year 11 Cranebrook lads who took out the dialogue section for their delivery of a scene from Julius Caesar, defeating 15 older competitors? These boys are now heading for the State Finals. Teachers report overwhelming demand for drama in the classroom since the introduction of the Competitive Shakespeare. State netball and hockey selectors report massive drop-offs as girls set their sights on outings such as the Desdemona Open and the Ophelia Handicap. In the latter category, players will be battling to better last year’s flamboyant display by Rosemary Wu, a young prefect from Wilberforce who hurled the bouquet a record 6.7 with a showy, “Here’s Rosemary for you!” before executing a perfect triple turn with pike. One troubling aspect of the sport, however, is the incursion of the corporate sector. Unconfirmed rumours of Bell Shakespeare’s young King Lear in hessian and Nike Airs and Viola sporting a prominent Libra Whispers logo are just scary enough to be true.


TEE OFF with Vivienne Inch

RealTime 33 October-November, 1999, p 36

Wherever I have teed off this month, the unsettling matter of mergers has been on my mind and what we might be in for at the end of the path to total convergence. On the bright side, I suppose you’d have to count the hybrid art experience of the Rugby League grand final last month. There were the predictable pieces from Futurist sports writers but something Baroque in the photographs of naked footballers cradling infants, and matching commentary: “Little Logan Ainscough won’t remember the 1999 Rugby League but one day his dad will be able to tell him he was there when history was made” (Sunday Telegraph). Only an Expressionist could have brought together a football team and a weather pattern to create Melbourne Storm. On the day, averring Minimalism, Lazarus raised his whole team from the dead at half-time. Dadaists shouted “Ceci n’est pas une goal” from the Dragon camp at the penalty try and later we watched a Symbolist outburst of blubbing from the losers on the lawn. Lazarus, holding aloft the three-dimensional object, took a postmodern cut-up approach in his victory speech, referring to our boys in Timor while reserving the catch in the throat for the wife and kids. Dragons captain Paul McGregor called the loss “surreal.” Meanwhile, in another of his unconvincing ‘Man of the People’ performance pieces, John Howard on the winner’s dais, you’d have to say, was entirely Conceptual.

Top image credit: US golfer Babe Didrikson, winner of 31 professional golf tournaments 1948-55

18 July 2018