Archive | June, 2010

Course whispering – The counsel of miniature golf

26 Jun

Holidays. Queensland. Gold Coast. Surfer’s Paradise.

Spiritual home of mini golf.

Time to reflect. Time to pour a sharp whiskey and consider just why a loop the loop next to a plastic tiger is so thrilling. Mini golf, I tell ya, exposes you.

Upfront, I will admit to being shaken by Paradise hole theory. SP delivers MG  in quantity (There are three 36 hole courses within walking distance of our Hotel Aruba ) and is chock full of  the necessary fibre glass flare – monkeys, pyramids, T-Rex and one quite nice horse-shoe hole where a crocodile lunges at you as you line up for your second putt. All very nice thank you very much, but their hole theory, no,  hole mythology…..sucked massive balls.

Mini golf should brim with undeniable glory options.  A tiny blue tube next to a huge rubber band. A mysterious curling ledge beneath that there concrete mountain lion. Where you stand and must choose, that maybe if you can just squint your physics and tap the ball ever so,  will be rewarded with the smells like victory ker-klunk of your pink ball proclaiming hole-in-one history. For a moment, it could be, should be, as if the laws of physics have been altered in your very honour. God-like. Far above. Ker-klunk.

Of equal importance is a sense of judgment. That to aspire to glory is to risk hubris. That your ball shalt strike the edge of a strategically propped brick, roll five feet sideways, and then inch its way back towards you along a surprisingly gentle decline. You may rail your fist to the skies. You may re-walk the hole and stamp that f’ing decline trap with a subtle cuban heel. But there it remains, at your feet – zero gain. One and a half inches of flouro mockery.

Go On. Hit me again.

So, yesterday,  Leah and I played an Egyptian 18. Mini pyramids abounded. It looked terribly promising from giant’s eye view; but, after hitting the sweetest clipping shot off the Midget Pyramid of Giza on Hole 3, and finding my ball in fact not hole bound but in a loose and open second putt scenario, my belief systems bristled. What gives Anubis? If I want random failure, I’ll go to a Taberet and watch all the pretty pokie colours eat my savings away. This-is-mini golf!

Clearly, the Egyptians as a civilization were  over-rated.

What mini golf has taught me is, that unless there is a clear and defined glory option, an absolute death or diamonds rope bridge, I’m a gully-tapper. A creeper. A safety first setter-upperer. An everything that the game demands you be not.  It’s no good having holes where the ball hits the sphinx’s left paw precisely, but then slides to some-random-place for that crucial second putt. No, no!  Paw equals hole and ball as one. Paw equals Newton. Paw equals justice. Paw equals existentialist salvation motherfucker! And so it goes, if you miss the creaking  Tutankhamun sarcophagus, your next shot should be from a lava pit in the third level of Hell….or a diorama of one at least.

We , all of us, the course should command, are condemned to be free.

What I learnt about Leah is she is a go-hard-go-blind strategist regardless of the crevice before her. Smack the ball in the vicinity of the hole and that’ll do. No amount of stern mutterings from me about the crucial angle of the third ramp and pointing of putter in paternal counsel, nor climbing into the nearby landscaped gardens to retrieve her ball and mark up the appropriate penalty could sway her.

Smack! Yay! How can this be?

It was awkward fathoming if other couples’ philosophical souls were also on display at the foot of a miniature crypts. Staring and nodding is discouraged in any sport prefaced by mini. And plus, it’s off-peak tourist season, so there was just a few threadbares out on the links. Conversation beyond an embarrassed, yeah, we’re lame too greeting is frankly, off topic.

But hole mythology…. you see don’t you? Don’t you?!!

That choice should be distilled in the choosing. Process becomes the outcome. That for one moment, life is one tiny thing that bears all things. Is it too much to ask, is it, for a  narrow ramp and a leap over a pond full of tiny sharks, a rollercoaster car to be putted into and a fibre glass Evel Kneivel that salutes your hole in one as a pirate flag rises to the 1812 Overture?

Is it?

Leah?

She’d be happy teeing off in an oversized pinball machine.

Like the universe is random or something. Godless. One choice is as good as another and no matter what you do there’s going to be a bunch of sound and fury, so hey, why not enjoy the show?

I see no place for male angst in such a world.  Where does one brood amidst such eruptions and clangy, clangy sounds brought upon by a random swing?

Mini Golf. You expose me.

Rise and rise again

17 Jun

Award ceremonies are a guilty pleasure. Of course, we all know there are far more important things in the world – like the insidious cruelty of racial intolerance, the immovability of masculine hegemony, and other stuff  you can quote from books, but there’s something glorious and luridly olde world about watching a bunch of pretty people win shiny things for being famously good at pretending. It’s all glowy and clean. Hand me a cigar George, I want to run bare-foot through your hair.

But, they do get ruined when you give a shit who wins. Like the rampaging injustice of Chariots of Fire escaping with Best Picture at the Oscars as Raiders of the Lost Ark languished with mere millions of bucks to comfort it. Rainman beating Mississippi Burning and Dangerous Liaisons. English Patient/Fargo, Crash/Brokeback Mountain and that third Hobbit movie winning anything.

Sometimes I can swallow it. I can live (just) with Cuckoo’s Nest taking out Jaws in 1975  ( A cracking year), but I digress. This is not about The Oscars.

It’s about,

The Tonys.

Now, plonking a Hollywood babe in a Broadway show is old hat I guess. It gets the mid-town gumbies stampeding to the theatre and guarantees a house will be on their feet at curtain fall as if they believe standing and clapping is a prerequisite for being allowed to leave their seat.  I’ve always endowed a little more gravitas to theatre awards than the movie gongs. I mean, it’s like live acting and everything. No takes. Know your role. Step out. Be available. In the moment. Deliver!

And then they go and give  Catherine Zeta-Jones a Tony for ‘A Little Night Music.’ I remember this show. I remember my girlfriend being in tears as we left at interval to go eat chocolate in a desperate attempt to wipe the taste from our memories. She wasn’t crying because we were leaving one of her favourite shows. She was crying because the show was so-godamn-….beige; and a big part of that was CZJ, bounding around like some sort of mug-bot, winking at the audience every second line in some shock and awe attempt to replace all the natural humour of the text with her own elbow popping D’ya’get’it? Huh? D’ya?

Is this the same type Tony that went to the utterly glorious South Pacific revival? August Osage County? Spring Awakening and the revival of Hair? Are these the same people deciding? No. Really?

I need a cup of tea.

Okay. Then the quinella of no-mummy-make-it-stop pops its ugly head when Scarlett Johanssen scoops a shiny disk thing for her wandery actory thingy in A View From A Bridge. My giddy God!

Wow. Truly massive tits.

Hey, lookit the stage hand waiting with the red shoes.

I want some peanuts…no cashews.

What’s wrong with that guy’s face?

Is she reading an auto-cue?

These are the various internal mutterings that kept me entertained for this two and a half  hour trip through a kind of Arthur Miller thing-a-ma-bob.  I mean, the tenements set was on a carpet street. Carpet! And there she was. ScaroTony. Front and centre. The blank canvass. Not a choice made. Not a view from anywhere.

What I loathe here also is of course myself. Such boneless theatre turns me into exactly the sort of post modern quipsnarker I rail against, but, I do recall vomiting in my mouth a bit as people rose to stand and ovate at the end of View. Maybe they just wanted to get their hands closer to the shiny people on stage… I dunno…. Oh sit down you c*nts!

Cup of tea and a sit down perhaps…

Perhaps I expect too  much, but isn’t the theatre the magic place where questions meatworld life just can’t hold are asked? Goethe’s quote,  ‘I wish the stage were as narrow as the wire of a tightrope dancer, so that no incompetent would dare step upon it’ rings. There should be danger in that dark. Great risk and great reward.

A standing ovation is the highest public order that you can bestow on an actor. It saddens and frustrates me when they are dished out as part of a night out. A shiny award is prolly the second highest nod.  Look, I know there are more important things in the world, I do, but if we can’t even get the silly rituals right,  what hope is there for the ones that count.

Impro, fries and Romanian lies.

7 Jun

So, little light bulbs are flashing in my murky monkey brain as I pull in for the traditonal 10pm post Impro Cave performance  McComfort food. It’s been a fun night on stage with people I trust.

But, the usual loop of “Coulda said/done/danced/sung” is playing out, though this time it’s on missing a big ass connection between a character who refused to fall in love and a man who had just fallen from God’s waiting room. First mouthful of delicious, delicious salty fat and that big juicy offer of metaphor, fall, pops up and pokes its tongue.  I suppose it’s progress that the self punishment is lamenting lost allegory and not being a dirtyfuckingblocker.

Secondly, the McRitual was something that I used to share with my Lea. A lovely indulgence late on a winter Sunday. Sundaes and cups of tea and making her laugh.  The body remembers I guess.

Third flash bulb is being forced to play a gypsy. A gloriously joyous gypsy. (The show is Gypsyprov) Blanket archetypes aside, the brute reality that sank in by the last slop of syrup on Glenferrie Rd,  is that the absurd positiveness of Ulrich, this alter ego, is so far removed from how I move through life that it actually hurts me to let it go. Him. Up and at em’. Me. Not so much. Him. Loves the ladies and doesn’t mind showing it. Me. Not so much.

God help me if I ever start sprouting method nonsense to justify anything, but  impro in general is becoming more and more a kind of spiritual mind the gap announcement, or warning. I can’t distill why there is such giddy freedom within it ( and even that is a little shaky of late) that somehow squeezes to a grapefruit core of tight lipped tension in almost all other avenues, be they writing, composing or just looking someone in the eye and being available.

I’m sure there are logical connections. Impro taps into that absorptive play that children are so natural with. We are, on stage, ostensibly, playing adult dress ups with the addition of a cheering audience. We are reminded of that simplicity. One thing. Another one thing….a story unfolds. Our stories. Delicate, courageous things.

I’m sure the logic links are there. The whys. The hows. I can understand it. I can.

Just lately though, what I know and what I feel, they line up..not so much. At times, I feel like I need a Kneivel Sky-Cycle to breech the chasm.

prepare a face to meet the faces you meet; wrote T.S.Eliot.

He was on to something there.

His next line, there will be time to murder and create.

I think, perhaps, even a gypsy couldn’t have said it better.

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