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Thelma and Louise versus THE PATRIARCHY

It’s early of 2016, I’m not doing all that well in my course essays and know I need to pull a decent grade out of somewhere.

My  lecturer has made plenty of comments insinuating he was a ‘woke feminist’.
I have spent countless hours watching YouTube videos about third wave feminism. Predominantly videos deconstructing and dismissing the ideology nonetheless I feel comfortable using it as a lens. We have to do an essay about Thelma and Louise, a film I really dislike. I decide the best way to get a decent mark without putting any effort in is to use this YouTube knowledge. It turns out I was right!

Unfortunately I could not find my final submitted draft but trust me when I say it was only marginally better than the first. This drivel was marked as a a 72 (Low first)  despite it being in my opinion significantly weaker than my other essays which scored worse.

What’s the point in sharing this you may be asking?
I suppose my point is that shoddy work is marked more generously when it coincides with the academic’s world view and conversely work that doesn’t will be marked more harshly. But my question for you is should anything be done about this? Can anything be done about this? Or should students just play what’s in front of them and game the system? I’m not sure.

Regardless here is the first draft that I wrote. Enjoy!

 

Who or what is the antagonist in Thelma and Louise?

 

Critical opinion was mixed when Thelma and Louise was released. The majority opinion was that Thelma and Louise was a welcome addition to the buddy road movie genre which by having its two joint protagonists be women allowed a fresh take on well-trodden ground. This fresh take was a portrayal of working class feminist liberation from the confines of patriarchy. The minority view point however was that best portrayed by the New York Daily News columnist Richard Johnson who wrote that the film ‘justifies armed robbery, manslaughter and chronic drunken driving as exercises in conscious raising.’ (1991) His interpretation seemingly being that as Thelma and Louise’s liberation was driven by the same tools of toxic masculinity that they were trying to escape from it rather defeats the point. For him Thelma and Louise are to some extent unwittingly co-opted into the system they are rebelling against. This can be seen in how they become more stereotypically masculine throughout the film as they steal men’s hats and sunglasses albeit that this is not present in the script. Thelma even steals J.D’s armed robbery patter word for word. But there are reasons given for this within the text. It appears that this is an expression of their personalities which happen to be more stereotypically masculine. Khouri makes this explicit in her screenplay when Thelma says ‘I guess I went a little crazy’. To which Louise replies ‘ No… you’ve always been crazy. This is just the first chance you’ve had to really express yourself.’(111) The story then is not necessarily what they do, but their freedom to do it.  For the purpose of this essay I will give Callie Khouri’s screenplay the benefit of the doubt as much as possible. I will do this by analysing Thelma and Louise with the same feminist lens that Khouri wrote it with.

Ostensibly the antagonist in Thelma and Louise is the police force. But Khouri makes it clear that Thelma and Louise are responding to the whole system. Following the inciting incident, where Louise shoots Harlan dead, the rest of the narrative is driven by Thelma and Louise’s futile attempt to escape from capture. They become outlaws because Louise cannot trust the police force owing to her previous negative experience with how they dealt with her rape. When Thelma encourages Louise to go to the police and tell them exactly what happened  Louise dismisses her with the lines ‘Who’s gonna believe that? We just don’t live in that kind of world.’ (19) Khouri has Louise go from the particular, mistrust of the police force, to the general, that kind of world. The police are presented as a fundamental part of patriarchy. The antagonist is not one man or one structure but the whole system. Rebelling against one part of the system brings the whole weight of it toppling down on our protagonists. It is inaccurate to pick out any of the men Thelma and Louise encounter as the antagonist. This is because the part represents the whole. Each man represents an element of the system of oppression. Khouri addresses public response to the inciting incident she states

‘Outlaw movies have always been a catharsis for men, but denied to women. I was extremely frustrated with the literal interpretation of Thelma & Louise. Doesn’t anyone read anymore or understand metaphor? I thought when Louise shot that guy there’d be dead silence in the theatre. That scene was written carefully: it was an attempted rape, and I wanted to make what she did wrong. And yet people cheered. I was stunned. (2001)

Freedom for Thelma and Louise is derived from being on the run, breaking away from the system however temporarily it might be. They are finally free from the gender roles and constraints they have placed on them by the men in their lives. Catharsis is not gained for Louise through killing Harlan. This is shown through the line Khouri has Louise whisper to herself following the shooting ‘You watch your mouth buddy.’ (17)  She has yet to exorcise the ghost of her rapist. Otherwise she would be able to drive through Texas. The killing is a consequence of that lack of exorcism. An audience celebrating that moment for Khouri is missing the point. Nothing has been gained yet. A nasty guy is dead so what?   It is the failed and flawed system they are fighting and which they are now compelled to reject owing to Louise’s lack of self-control. Harlan is almost inconsequential as he is not actually the antagonist. He is just another bad guy. Yet it is his casual killing that provoked the negative response I touched on in the introduction. Joan Smith wrote that the film is ‘a masculine revenge fantasy in which the gender of the leading characters has been switched.’ (1991) For Khouri this is the only reason for the backlash she says

‘Bad guys get killed in every goddamn movie that gets made and that guy was the bad guy and he got killed. It was only because a woman did it that there was any controversy at all. If a guy had come out and saved their asses and shot that guy and said, “Run, quick,” do you think there would have been a fucking moment of controversy?’ (2001)

This critical response confirms for Khouri the existence of the antagonist she is writing against. The negative feedback only comes because women are not allowed to demonstrate typically masculine behaviour without fear of reprisal even within fiction!

The catharsis and liberation for Thelma and Louise is derived from their complete rejection of gender roles, their role as the subordinate woman, the unwelcome place in society that they don’t enjoy. Yet as they have entirely different natures, how they are constrained by the antagonist is slightly different. Khouri demonstrates the difference immediately through how she presents the two visually, Thelma has a wild personality which is demonstrated in how she packs haphazardly. Louise is far more restrained and has a more orderly packing regime. Thelma is constrained by men specifically Darryl to the point of infantilisation which leaves her knowing little of the world and unable to be the ‘wild woman’ she does not quite realise she is. (48). This is spelt out immediately by Louise when she asks Thelma ‘You mean you haven’t asked him yet? For Christ sake, Thelma, is he your husband or your father.’ (1) This line is then called back by Callie Khouri to hammer home just how the antagonist is oppressing Thelma when Thelma says ‘Darryl, please….you’re my husband not my father Darryl.’ (37) For Thelma simply getting out of the house without Darryl’s permission is a start in her journey of liberation this is seen in the exchange between Louise and Thelma in the Silver Bullet where Louise states ‘I’m used to seeing you more sedate.’ and Thelma replies ‘Well, I’ve had it up to my ass with sedate.’ This works on two levels. Firstly there’s the element of dramatic irony for we know the non-stop action to come. Secondly it shows what Thelma is desperately seeking which is the agency to make her own decisions and her own mistakes so that she can grow up in all sorts of ways. One example would be her finding out from J.D. that she can ‘have a sexual experience that isn’t completely disgusting.’ (63) Khouri shows that Thelma has finally reached that point of being a grown up with agency in the scene where Khouri flips the perspective that the two had following Harlan’s death. Thelma says in response to Louise now thinking that perhaps they should have gone to the police ‘That guy was hurtin’ me. And if you hadn’t come out when you did, he’d a hurt me a lot worse. And probably nothin’ woulda happened to him.’ As far as Thelma is concerned ‘At least now I’m havin’ fun.’ Thelma is ‘not sorry the son of a bitch is dead.’ She is ‘only sorry that it was you that did it not me.’ (96) Thelma has finally realised who the antagonist is and how she has been let down throughout her life. This switch of perspectives is further demonstrated when Thelma cuts short the phone call between Hal and Louise. She has realised there is no salvation to be found within the system, however sympathetic Hal might be, and that trying to find one will only ‘blow it’ (98).

Louise isn’t constrained by men so much as continually let down by them. Even though on the surface she wants to connect with men it is extremely difficult owing to her past experiences. She attempts to separate herself from these entirely by avoiding Texas as well as trying her best to stop Jimmy coming to her. Jimmy is shown relatively positively by Khouri through his actions, however Khouri reveals that his nature is perhaps less benign through dialogue. Louise says ‘Don’t be fooled, he’s no different than any other guy. He knows how to chase and that’s it. Once he’s caught you, he don’t know what to do. So he runs away.’ (49) Jimmy also infantilises Louise for no clear reason he asks her ‘Now, my little coconut, what seems to be the trouble here? Tell Daddy everything.’ (53) Although he does not appear to mean any harm from this we can see that he must not see them as being equal. Jimmy seemingly cannot imagine Louise having any problems that he could not solve. Through this we can then see the other level which the antagonist has. There is the clearly chauvinist masculinity shown best by Harlan, Darryl and the trucker who wish to control women and see them as objects for their own benefit. This is obviously wrong and to be negated which is why the cartoonish torment and mockery of the lorry driver who has been omnipresent throughout the trip is not as grating as it might have been had he been a rounded character. But then there is the more subtle sexism of low expectations that Hal and Jimmy exhibit. If you do not hold women to the same standard as men then you must see them as inferior. Hal demonstrates this most obviously at the end of the screenplay when he says ‘Hey! Don’t let them shoot those girls. This is too much. They got guns pointed at them!’ (113) to which Max replies ‘ The women are armed, Hal. This is standard. Now you stay calm here.’ (114) Note Hal’s use of girls and Max’s use of women. This is not to avoid repetition! It is another clever way of Khouri showing Hal’s unconscious sexism.

Some people argue that in not having Thelma and Louise escape to Mexico the antagonist wins. Khouri explains that it is a symbolic victory ‘you didn’t see a literal death… They flew away, out of this world and into the mass unconscious. Women who are completely free from all the shackles that restrain them have no place in this world….They will be brought down if they stay here.’ (1996) The reason the antagonist in Thelma and Louise is a concept rather than any specific person is because as Lipsitz writes ‘For 129 glorious minutes, two women were the stars of their own lives, and their lives did not revolve around men.’ To whittle it down to one particular man is to miss the point as not a single one matters in their own right but only in how they relate to Thelma and Louise. Ridley Scott understood this perfectly which is why he made the decision to minimise Hal’s role at the end so that it is purely about Thelma and Louise’s rejection of the antagonist. A perpetual break away from the antagonist is only possible through this ending hence it working so well.

Word Count: 1972

 

Bibliography

 

Lipsitz, Raina. ‘‘Thelma & Louise’: The Last Great Film About Women.’’  The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 2011. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.

Morris, Mark. “Girls Just Want to Have Guns.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 2001. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

Page, Clarence “`Thelma & Louise`: A Reel-life Tale Of Women And Power.” Tribunedigital-chicagotribune. 1991. Web. 05 Apr. 2016.

Khouri, Callie. Thelma and Louise. 1990. Print.

Khouri, Callie. Thelma and Louise and Something to Talk About (Screenplays), ‘Introduction: An Interview with Callie Khourie’, Jodie Burke, Grove Press, NYC, USA, 1996. Print.

How would you have graded this essay? It’s basically me saying ”It’s  the patriarchy, stupid” again and again despite me not actually thinking there is one in the western world.

 

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What’s this? The great eight playing minigolf mate.

On the 20th of June a total of eight hardy minigolfers set off to Motspur Park for the Seth Thomas Merton Minigolf Invitational. Seth Thomas had spent the previous few months canvassing for players and as a testament to minigolf’s enduring and long lasting appeal had managed to procure a field half the size of the British Championships the first ‘major’ of the year to endure his tournament.

Notable absences included ‘Squire’ Richard Gottfried who’s IBS (irritable back syndrome) meant he was not up to the task of competing, his endeavors now lie elsewhere, see a future blog for more details. Also absent from the London contingent was Alan Norman who it was believed was holidaying in Cornwall.

Among this field we had Ollie ‘The Machine’ Florence playing his first minigolf of the year. His attention this year had been drawn away from minigolf instead to worm charming and managing though not as a combination it should be added. We also had the British Number One competing, seeking confidence following successive defeats to rivals in tournament minigolf.

Also competing were the Donnellys and the London contingent led by Brad ‘Frugal’ Shepherd who was hoping to follow on from his success in the WDMIOBCC (Will Donnelly Invitational Open Beckenham and Croydon Classic) provided he didn’t follow through….. all the other competitors didn’t have a problem with this.

Prior to the tournament the TD (tournament director) had bought a trophy of sorts for the winner and medals for the top three. Unfortunately the TD had a mishap with the trophy dropping it and breaking the engraved bit of the trophy off. Luckily sellotape (other brands of sticky tape are available) came to the rescue. Also up for grabs was a Freddo for the aces champion. Plus a bag of different types of chocolate each for the top 3. I also made special frugal cardboard and exercise book paper scorecards in honour of Bradders.

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The trophy before it got damaged.

First to arrive at Motspur Park was Michael and Seth. Seth had joined Michael’s train at Earlsfield and had to cajole Michael twice into leaving his seat of two and sitting with him in one of the banks of four seats on the train. This reluctance may have had something to do with the intense mental preparation Michael goes through prior to each tournament, little room for chitchat. Following a small diversion via Fulham training ground Michael and Seth arrived at the course. The man was yet to have opened the hut so we made our way onto the course. When the man did finally arrive. I tried to pay but the man seemed more interested in his phone than opening a till. ‘Paying for tennis?’ ‘No minigolf’ ‘Nah you’re alright’ (Eyes back to phone.)

Eventually everyone arrived I told them we could all play free (the logical extension surely?). We started slightly later than the original agreed eleven-thirty tee off time to give the Donnellys more time to practice and in order to take a photo of the field. You may notice the photo is slightly skew-whiff. This owes itself to the fact I used my minigolf bag as a tripod.

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What a fine bunch!

After the first round I was last following a dreadful round of 49 including a 7 on the snail. They say madness is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. Sadly that’s precisely what happened to me on the snail I felt like I whacked my pink World Of Golf golf ball up it about a billion times.

Michael Smith was first. Following the end of our second round at Motspur Park Oliver Florence had to leave. A friend had come down from Cornwall who he had to care for. This was probably for the best as a controversial incident happened on the snail where he used a twig to keep his ball steady on the incline of the snail having replaced it after he hit his ball over the border of the hole.

Finally we went orf to Wimbledon Park. The Donnellys and Michael trailed Chris Jones’s car all the way there. We had to stop at one point ostensibly to let the Donnellys catch up having got caught in traffic lights but also to give Brad’s pub/charityshop dar an opportunity to function.

Having arrived at Wimbledon Park I told everybody to pay for a round and we’d play two. Brad was terrified of having to pay for a second round so I told him that we’d play on until we got kicked off…. I didn’t see this happening especially after what happened in Motspur Park unless the man in the hut or in this case woman own the course they tend to not care especially when it’s council run.

Michael maintained his good form all the way to the end of tournament winning comfortably. Brad came a despondent second. Gareth came third and won the highly sought after Freddo having hit 8 aces over 4 rounds showing marriage and minigolf can go hand in hand…..At least early doors anyway. Despite my ridiculously bad first round I actually came 5th missing a putt on the last to get into a playoff for third.

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Michael wearing an unusually small amount of suncream?

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Gareth taking great pride in his Freddo.

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Stoic Brad.

Despite a great day of minigolf there was a slightly unfortunate end. My camera ran out of battery so I had to take the group photo of the top 3 with my phone unfortunately I did not realise I had maximum zoom on resulting in the worst quality photo taken in history. Some cruel soul said it was probably for the best….grrrrr.

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Shepherd. Smith and Holmes.

While the London lot went off for a well deserved curry in the restaurant next to the course. We had an unofficial Knowley Grail. No pound entry fee or prize money, no banter. Just a quick test of who could master the Pinky Diver. With a quite extraordinary round of 35 without any dropped shots and including an unfortunate bounce out I became the unofficial Knowley Grail champion. The other three scores were so high I have no means of expressing them with this keyboard.

Thanks very much to those who came especially Michael for coming down from Oxford and Ollie for making his cameo from Guildford.

Hopefully the field will be bigger next year, would dearly like to match the British Championships!

If it was a bigger field I would make it a one course event.

ATB Seth.

Results

1. Michael 38, 37, 39, 36, +6

2. Brad 39, 42, 38, 36, +11

3. Gareth 42, 40, 40, 39, +17

4.  Will 43, 45, 37, 37, +18

5. Seth 49, 40, 36, 37 +18

6.David 46, 40 39, 41 +22

7. Chris 45, 44, 40, 39 +24

DNF Oliver 44, 40 +12

DNS Richard

p.s Has anybody seen this man?

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The lesser spotted James.

Club Championship Report: Cambridgeshire Nearkats

Here follows a report written on the 29th of November about the 2012 BMGA Club Championships. Unfortunately it has not been possible to get it on the CMGC website so I have decided to publish it on my blog.

Cambridgeshire Nearkats!

The Cambridgeshire Minigolf Club went into the Club Championships on November the 25th, greatly strengthened from the previous year where they had finished fifth. Some fantastic free transfers and wheeler dealing from James Rutherford meant that the CMGC was able to enter two teams. The make-up of these teams was not decided however till very late. Despite beating the Club Captain at the Planet Hasting Crazy Golf Open, in a shock move, Emily Gottfried was dropped from the Meerkats team in favour of Wandsworth. Whose recent performance in retaining the Kent Open title by six shots had seemingly tipped the balance in his favour. Nevertheless in her new role captaining the Mongooses, Emily was an exemplary leader dragging them to a very respectable fourth place despite a poor start to the tournament. In their third/fourth place playoff match they lost narrowly to the Midlands A team, who put in a very strong performance hurraaaying their balls along for a lot of aces.

After an equally slow start the Meerkats made their way to the final. In a rematch from the group stages, where they had been battered by five holes, they once again faced the Kent Spitfires. This match was a tighter affair, which was nip and tuck all the way. British number one and KMGC reporter, Michael Smith was not at his best (perhaps nervous at the forthcoming results of the Leveson inquiry!)*, but it was his fortunate ace at hole 3 that took the Spitfires into the lead for the first time. They retained this lead, meaning the Spitfires went into the final hole needing just a half to win a third consecutive Club Championships. Unfortunately for the Meerkats, despite a fantastic putt from James that looked in all the way, it was not to be. The hole was halved. The Spitfires triumphant once again, this latest victory was warmly greeted by half a dozen claps and a rasping cough. A late protest from Mr Rutherford that there was a clearly audible trump as his ball lipped out, meaning he had the right for a retake was unfortunately rejected. As well as Silver, the CMGC also won the best dressed team award, a hard fought category it must be said, with Ted McIver receiving an honourable mention  

Although both CMGC clubs lost their respective finals, it was a very encouraging performance from all involved. Hopefully by next year our club, will have grown even stronger and we will be able to enter at least three fantastic teams.

In other news, Oliver Florence still smarting from his unfortunate playoff loss in the CMGC Championships last year where a jammy ace from Captain Ruthers to force the playoff had left him feeling robbed and fiddled and diddled, managed to win the 2012 CMGC Championships. He played extremely well to defeat last year’s winner James Rutherford winning their playoff with an excellent ace on the second hole. Oliver Florence was extremely proud of his performance especially as he did not know that it was the Championships until the start of the third round.

Our final piece of news is that the CMGC’s Captain, manager and all round inspiration is heading off to Sweden in January to play in a 24 hour eternit marathon. All of us at the CMGC wish him all the best with this endeavour and hopefully he will shoot that elusive 18!*

And for our final words let’s hear from the man himself, ‘‘Very very proud of the CMGC and the efforts that were put in on Sunday from everyone involved in the club. 2 teams in the top four was a phenomenal result despite being pipped to the post in our respective finals. I won’t hear a word said against anyone in the team.’’

And so say all of us!

ATB

*Topical joke no longer relevant. (Michael had made some journalistic errors in his Club Championship report, The Leveson inquiry was coming to its conclusion)

*James did very well in Sweden shooting the best ever British average on eternit. He also equalled the British eternit record of 20.

Miserable Seth Maudlin In Defeat

In one of the biggest falls from grace since Adam and Eve tried to keep the Doctor away, reigning Kent Open Champion and British number 17  Seth Thomas slumped to an abject 28th place finish in the Star City Open. Despite high hopes on improving on his unsatisfactory performance in the same event last year, little could be done to aid his play once the jiffs appeared to take over. An average of an unfathomable 9 shots a round behind the leaders, Seth dropped more shots in his first 9 holes than he did in the entirety of his Kent Open win.

This derisory display has led to fresh speculation as to his place in the game and indeed his commitment to it, with some suggesting his new found preoccupation with Darts could perhaps be affecting his game. An unknown source close to his family revealed today that he was spending near 20 minutes a day chucking pointy things at a round object. In fact this led to a caution from the Police after a neighbour complained about having cacti lobbed at her rear. One unnamed BMGA Tour professional, said this ”It’s undeniable Darts is affecting his minigolf, I was playing hole 18 with him yesterday and he tried a ridiculous double rebound, he told me he thought we had to finish with a double, honestly the closer he gets to hitting 180’s in Darts the closer he gets to hitting 180 over 3 rounds in minigolf.”

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Seth's hero. Half the player he used to be.

Seth himself has yet to comment on these rumours, but an official statement is expected to be released shortly. British number 1 Michael Smith tried to allay these fears saying ”’When he is relaxed, he plays better minigolf than anyone in this country past or present, he proved that with that ridiculous four round sequence at Hither Green in practice, he won’t let that ability go to pasture” the sequence in question, of 4 rounds under 30 including two 26’s whilst impressive, did come under the influence of Haribo, this notorious performance enhancing drug long since banned from BMGA events.

While it is believed the British number 17 will be present at the British Masters in April looking to improve upon his respectable 5th place finish from last year. The bookmakers seem less than  convinced with Madbrokes offering odds of 2 to 1 that British Number 48 Alex ‘Perfect Par’ Pragnell beats Seth by a margin of 5 shots or greater.

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A new dawn is approaching and it will be perfect.

In other sporting news, Tooting/Wandsworth based Seth Thomas stormed to victory in the Arcade Games winning comfortably all the fixtures he played. The bashful teenager was modest in victory unable to offer explanation as to his surprise domination, ”It’s like well weird I play this game right called minigolf and I can barely hold my putter then I come down d’ Arcade and I’m like OMG my hands are doing what I ask them to I was just ROFL by the end really, I dunna wha’ to say, to defeat these legends in such a way big man ting I don’t know what was gwaaning, d’ only worry is can I take this form into the next 2 pound tat challenge?”.

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Playing it by Air.

Perhaps foreshadowing his terrible minigolf performance, and the idea that perhaps an alternate career choice might be wise, Seth Thomas took a little time out from minigolf by conducting an interview with maverick minigolf blogger and mild mannered man, ‘the Machine’ Oliver Florence, admittedly the interview was conducted during a round of minigolf but lets not split hairs just yet!* The Walton upon Guildford based man was extremely enthused about his minigolf blogging, particularly the fact that he never released a blog unless he was a hundred percent happy with it. Whether this was a thinly veiled attack on the father of minigolf blogging is up for question, but it is certainly true that Oliver emphasised the importance of quality to his blogs, revealing that he sometimes wrote as many as 14 drafts.Indeed a rare outburst of annoyance when questioned about his output led to some choice words ”I don’t understand why people criticise me for not writing enough blogs, I write tonnes of blogs but I happen to have a cr** filter which means most of them do not see the light of day”. Oliver Florence did express one regret however saying ”I wish I hadn’t named it the minigolfer, with my forays into the world of bread golf and wormcharming, I feel I have really limited myself from the mass audiences these activities could bring to my blog, there’s much more to it than minigolf”. When asking about his own blog, Mr Thomas was encouraged to give up. Oliver Florence was rather grim, ”The minigolf blogging market has reached saturation point, Michael’s reports, Rocket’s round ups, Will, Alex and Owen’s blogs, the amount of minigolf based writing on the Internet has reached horrendous levels. ‘The Ham and Egger Files’ had to have a high output when it was the only example of its type on the market, but now there is too much. Something has to give, if you don’t enjoy writing your blog that much, then  just don’t write it!”. Apparent plans to introduce a pay-wall to http://theminigolfer.wordpress.com/ are what is reputed to have led to Oliver’s recent attacks on his blogging rivals. Oliver however was having none of this ”These pay-wall plans have been in place for ages, before your blog before Alex, Will’s and Owen’s blogs, I don’t need to tell people not to read them, If they’ve read them once already, then that job is done”. What followed this comment is unfortunately unpublishable, needless to say the interview was brought to a horrid premature close. Later that night Birmingham A and E had to deal with multiple finger fractures, in a horrible ‘Air Hockey’ accident Mr Thomas had had two fingers broken.

Oliver Florence had a chipped nail and a new nickname.

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From small Acorns do Mighty Oaks grow.

He’d just added Mean to the Machine.

*What follows might not be quite true, I cannot remember the interview in its entirety, perhaps because I passed out in pain and was unconscious for several hours 😉

p.s This could have been 3 separate longer blogs but I wanted to spoil you. It’s definitely not laziness.

Mysterious Golf

The One With The Pointless Friends Reference

Saturday the 26th saw Britain’s foolhardiest minigolfers down in Dorridge preparing for the last event of the season. With a pair of invitational tournaments played, one of which gave out no invites and the other of which had an ‘organiser’ who could not be bothered to give out more than 3. It looked like perhaps minigolf’s friendly image had gone down the drain, certainly this could be seen to be the case after a group of ramblers were mocked, photographed and encouraged to ”jog on”. But this was far from true, somehow word had got out of my kind invitation to stay at the Smith household or the  ‘house of champions’* as Squire affectionately called it, and several friendly matches were played.

As for the invitational tournaments, unfortunately I was unable to win the Green Invitational Tournament being comprehensively outplayed by my team mate Chris Smith, who narrowly missed out on the overall win squandering in the process a rare opportunity to beat his son, Britain’s best player!

Captain Ruthers finally won his epically long Cambridge Invitational in a sudden death play-off.

Wannabe Peter Jones Spotted

As for the friendlies, Squire once again teamed up with a different partner, he’s really been round the block this guy! And alongside Clockwork Orange (That’s me) achieved what the Kelly’s have yet to, comprehensively defeating the Smith’s 4 and 2. (Like an episode of Family Fortunes this, question is who’s Les Dennis?)

Sunday the 27th saw the tenth annual minigolf club championships and aside from the absence of those legends of minigolf Planet Hastings, a respectable complement of eight teams were signed up.

Incidentally,  I was watching Ross Kemp on Gangs and it was quite upsetting to see Ross blubbing after a choice insult from the inimitable Tim Davies so acerbic and biting that it had ripped the hair off the poor man’s head.

But back to the the ‘gangs’ that were there, favourites Kent more commonly known as K*nt due to a worldwide shortage of e’s, w*r* looking to r*tain the titl*. But as ever they had a bevy of great teams to contend with who shall now be looked at.

Firstly Midlands A, sadly missed last year it was expected they would put in a good performance playing at their home venue of sorts. Team spokesman ‘Johnson Paul Johnson’ had this to say ‘If we put in some sound as a pound good rounds then we will run the other teams into the ground’

Secondly Cambridgeshire, who had after some apparently heartbreaking poetic missives had managed to obtain a full complement for their maiden push at the title. After seeing Captain Ruthers great work it is rumoured he is now in talks with the NSPCC to direct some of their adverts.

Thirdly London, with a reportedly Sturdy line up they were hoping to improve their already fantastic record in this competition. Rumours of in team strife proved unfounded despite there apparently being a Burke in the team.

Also present were the Green Hornets who despite coming third last year had lost their two best players and were now going to have to deal with the quite different experience of not playing on home soil. Team Captain, Seth the optimist, widely regarded as a bit of a Clock (That’s me) had this to say ”Well really it’s just a honour to be playing on the same hallowed turf as these guys, I’ve brought some memorabilia to be signed and I am looking forward to meeting my hero Der Gott once again”

We get our 'refunds'.

The Kent B team (Turns head at gun being cocked) sorry, the wonderful, fantastic, second world war winning Hurricanes were everyone’s big tip to win the final by a never seen before and unprecedented 18 holes.Their team spokesman had this to say ”To B or not to B, I don’t think much of that question.”

Finally making up the all star line up were fittingly the Minigolf Allstars, shockingly not captained by Praggers who had this to say (can I think of no other way to introduce a quote?) ”Well it’s par for the course really, despite my inexorable rise I am aware that as my good Pa used to say to me, life is not a party nor a piece of cake, we do not always get what we want, besides I have my eyes on other things*”.

Speaking of cake, Mr Kipling better watch out as the cakes Mr X brought along to the tournament certainly had the X Factor.

Unfortunately with the Midlands B team having to miss the tournament due to mysterious circumstances* reducing the tournament to seven teams. Tournament organiser Sean Homer decided to put to a vote whether the format should be changed or kept  (there was a brief pause when someone complained that they were not using AV, my first choice would have been yes and my second no by the way)  and with a narrow margin of four votes to three, it was decided to keep the current format. Giving the three teams in the Midlands B group walkovers. After this the Spitfires had another effective walkover when they played the Green Hornets.

With some fantastic action and tight matches and great play all round, have a look at Michael Smith’s excellent report for details (http://www.kentminigolfclub.co.uk/2011BCC.htm), and after an exhilarating but unfortunately freezing couple of hours we were finally left with a unexpected final, the minigolf equivalent of Spain versus Costa Rica. The Green Minigolf Club versus the might of the Kent Spitfires, 4 of the top 5 players in the country versus 4….people. The earlier group stage match between them showing the Green to be so poor as to be green with envy at the talents of the American Samoa football team.

Surely anything but a huge win for the Spitfires would be Insania, yet after seven holes the Hornets were somehow emulating Costa Rica with a one hole lead with 5 holes to play could they hold it together? Surely…not. And then showing the true class you associate with the Spitfire, the style dial was suddenly turned up to 11, with the Spitfires winning 2 of the next 3 holes. And so we came to hole 11. The dreaded pipe hole, the Greens worse hole on  paper as had been seen in the (GIT), with just 2 holes remaining it was not looking good…..

With Marc urging everyone to have a good ganders at and feel of his balls and Wandsworth offering a good old reach around inside his ball bag and complaining that it was hard to get a good grip on his shaft as his hands were cold, it would be fair to say a lot of queer stuff happened that weekend, not least the Green ridiculously managing to get three aces on 11 taking it to the final hole. Or as Freebird would presumably say, paper smaper statistics smatistics. (You haven’t read Michael’s report yet have you?…yeah, yeah sure, you would have laughed otherwise)

Marc's Balls

Hole 12 was a bit of an anti climax really. The only fun part came when on conceding a putt, I got the Kent players name wrong, it was less me forgetting Annie’s name though and more me getting my tongue twisted. Tempted as I was to pretend to hand my putter to Olly Florry to take my shot on 12, with the verbal slip up I feared looking like I was taking the mick. A couple of clickers creeped close but none dropped.

Praggers exhibits his telekinesis powers

Orange Clock (That’s me ;)) was irritated as as on hole 10 his ball once again hit the hole directly taking all the pace out of it. This excitement meant we saw the first draw of the day, but as this was the final there had to be a winner so we moved on to sudden death.

Captain Clockwork (If you don’t know yet…) had been the only member of his team to get any aces on hole 1 with a respectable 3 out of 5 though one of those had come in the walkover round. So he knew he had to get the ace as it was more than likely his team mates would not be able to, he also knew however as soon as he hit his putt that he had mucked up the line. With the rest of his team he watched on with trepidation as the Spitfires played the hole, as earlier, Marc and Andy missed the ace. And so stepped up Michael, Britain’s number one, arguably already Britain’s greatest minigolfer despite playing for a relatively short amount of time, he had aced 6 of the previous 11 holes he had had the chance to play. Surely surely even he could not ace seven out of 12 holes in a high pressure final. Let me just say, a clip of this event won’t turn up on ‘a Question of Sport’ of course the putt was perfect, pace and line spot on, the ball might as well have been laser guided.

Well done Spain..I mean Spitfires you did what you were expected to do and you did it well. If you make it three in a row next year no one will blink an eyelid, except perhaps to shed a tear of annoyance!

But…..I have heard the Hurricanes are looking to raise up a ‘storm’ next year, so big it will down even the mightiest of planes. (Turns head (”Have I phrased that right”)

WATCH THIS SPACE (or rather go on the BMGA website in a years time to find out the result of the 2012 British Club Championship, provided of course the world has not ended by then!)

On the journey home, my continued free loading and excellent weekend finally turned sour when despite having a train ticket to get home in a journey that would take 3 hours at the very most. I decided to take up the kind offer of the Donnelly’s to go by car presuming it would be more comfortable and interesting as I would have people to talk to. Delays on the M40 however meant, I wasn’t back in London for 4 hours and 50 minutes, yet I had another hour and a half of train travel to go! The highlight of which was a drunk lady puking up copious amounts whilst sitting near to me. (unlike much of this blog this bit is completely true!)

*For those who asked, no I did not have to sleep on a bed made of trophies nor did I have to drink from old silver cups. What is true is I had a lovely time, and got to spend ages talking about and watching my favourite subject tennis!”

*Can I make it clear that the Midlands B team did not I repeat NOT pull out due to threats received, on being overheard referring to the Hurricanes as something so disgusting I have had to censor it K*** * T***.

*Rumour has it that Praggers is planning on becoming the next BMGA Chairman.

The Indomitable Praggers

The man obsessed with twos has to have two captions right!

I Kent believe it!

With the Green no more and my appetite for minigolf waning as a consequence. Some truly shoddy play in the last couple of minigolf tournaments had seen me lose to Praggers and be beaten thrice in a row by Freddy ‘The Shark’ Blackburn-Shaw, a player I like to think myself as the equal of.

So I came to the Kent Open, played at the same venue as the British Open (scene of my mini breakdown see Britass Open blog for details) with not so much apprehension but indifference.

On the Saturday the KMGC were holding their (KIT) Kent invitational tournament which I decided to play in with the KMGC ball, which was the only ball we were allowed to use in the main tournament. Most of the Kent lot stuck to using minigolf balls however, presumably in search of precious ranking points.

My first round went predictably well, a grand total of zero aces, four lovely threes and a four leaving me with a forty two to be proud of. (My ball getting stuck on hole 13 a personal highlight).

Not that I had played quite bad enough for that score to be merited. A point I made to TK Max when he enquired after my round, with me telling him honestly that I had played alright but had been quite unlucky. To which he replied ”I’ve never heard that one from you before Seth”, cue general mirth. Which slightly grated, as when I play sh** as I do half the time, I am generally pretty blunt about my performance.

A much better though irrelevant 34, two aces no dropped shots left me as the third placed guest behind a solid David Donnelly.

With that over and my practice for the day done, I headed home, a brief stop at the chip shop (hey that rhymes) the only diversion. The evening was then whiled away watching two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and reading Just William (Ruddy heck I’ve regressed hugely, makes a pleasant change from school though!).

I cannot really remember what happened the next day, needless to say it must have been enjoyable seeing as I won.

Enough for a football match.

Knowing I had found it nigh impossible to get aces with the golf ball the previous day in the KIT and in practice, I settled on making sure of the twos, with only two blemishes on my score card and only one courtesy of bad play from me (played a poor tee shot on hole 8 and my second putt pulled up a cm short). My aim was achieved and surprisingly it was good enough for victory by one shot despite six players out acing me.

The day before on being asked who would win I had said to Will Donnelly ”I am definitely going to win” just to wind him up and I stuck with that line despite him saying ”no who do you actually think will win?”. It was a nice surprise to have him apologise to me after the tournament about it which I found quite funny.

Also going into the third and final round leading a BMGA tournament for the first time ever I was naturally quite nervous, not helped by some silly sledging. My personal favourite of which was AK47 saying to me of ambulance sirens going past. ”oh they’re coming to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre”.

I definitely learnt a lot from this tournament not least that when I am putting well, I do well unsurprisingly. The quality of my tee shots do not usually change much from day to day but my putting certainly does and how important it is to maintain a high standard of putting was definitely crystallised for me. The only player on the BMGA tour who has as big a variability on the quality of their putting is possibly Nick Sandqvist but even then I am not sure it goes from as large extremes as mine. Once I sort out this problem, I definitely think I could win one or two more tournaments. It is probably linked with the mental side of the game as well, so hopefully I can kill two birds with one stone and have a greater rate of success transferring practice form into tournament success especially now I have a tournament win.

A good place to start this would be Dorridge, where I will do everything possible to ensure success for the Green club championship team bar knobbling other players.

VTG

Take a look at Michael Smith’s excellent report for more details: http://www.kentminigolfclub.co.uk/2011ko.htm

Commiserations to The Rocket who probably should have won this tournament. Having looked into my crystal minigolf ball,

The old men of minigolf.

Star City will be where you break your tournament duck outside of The Green!

 

Mini but Crazy

Five long years ago now, the Gods of minigolf blogging or the Peaceful Gods as they like to be known set off on their Crazy World of Minigolf Tour as detailed in the fantastic blog ‘The Ham and Egger Files’. To mark this brilliant achievement and in recognition of what they have done to help publicise the game of minigolf and other interesting activities. They are to be awarded with the Clockwork Orange stamp of achievement, said by many to be as respected as an honorary degree from the Welsh College of Horticulture in Equestrian psychology. Personally I would place it alongside a E in GCSE Theater Studies in the Pantheon of excellence.

Are you taking the Pith?

I am also honouring this marvellous achievement, by somewhat following in their footsteps. Shortly I will be embarking on my ‘Mini World of Crazy Golf Tour’. In this tour I plan to visit five courses (one to mark each year) and review them, if possible in a mildly humorous fashion. These reviews will of course be posted to this blog.

 

http://hamandeggerfiles.blogspot.com/

If Carlsberg did minigolf blogs…