There were complaints that there was too much golf in this bit of the blog last week, which just goes to show that you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I have to confess that ever since I realised that I couldn’t even guarantee pleasing myself, I gave up trying to please anybody let alone everybody, an impossible task.
There’s a bit of a pause here because I can’t type for laughing at a memory that flashed into my mind. Now, it’s my memory and my mind, so I can’t promise that it’s remotely accurate but I’ll share it anyway, not least because, looking back, it’s breathtaking in its arrogance – even though, looking back, it was, in its way, excellent advice…
Peter Dawson had just become head honcho at the R and A, insofar as anybody who’s just the secretary/chief executive or whatever the current title is, can be head of such a disparate body of members. (And yes, I know, they’ve rejigged themselves to separate the club and all those weird and wonderful members, women now included, at last, shock, from the body that does all the easy stuff like running the Open and other events and being one of the world’s governing bodies.)
I think we were chatting about how to deal with the press, those pesky people who persist in asking awkward questions, given half a chance. Sometimes it’s with malice aforethought but mostly it’s because we’re nosy and want to know what’s going on and why. The worst thing you can do is lie to us – that never ends well – and getting irritated isn’t a good idea either; that gets us really interested and all being well, makes you even more irritated…
My memory is that I, no Alastair Campbell, breezily suggested that there was no point in trying to be too careful because somebody somewhere would extract whatever it was they wanted from whatever you said, whether it was what you meant or not. I favoured the Laura Davies slog-sweep-for-six approach, much more fun than the Tiger Woods dead bat, you’re-a-piece-of-work sneer.
I think Peter, who played a big part in getting golf back into the Olympics, and is still operating in choppy international waters as chairman of the OWGR (official world golf ranking), opted for a more nuanced approach. Whatever, it seems to have served him well enough, though it was always fun to see how annoyed he started to get at all those persistent questions about the R and A’s lack of female members and insistence on taking the Open to places where women were second-class at best. Then, I had no sympathy. It was all their own fault. Years ago, they had a solution jumping up and down in front of them – and they ignored it. And consigned themselves to more years of ridicule. Ah well, happy days!
By now, you’ll be understanding why I never pursued a career in PR.
And, no, though I’m old and inept enough to be a highly-paid consultant, I had nothing whatsoever to do with the Liz Truss debacle. Even she had more sense. Much good that it did her.You’ll undoubtedly be glad to know that I’m still singing, after a fashion and I remain in awe of people who are musical, can sing and play an instrument or two. One of my old friends – admittedly almost all my friends are old – is an accordion player of some distinction. He long ago gave up golf for fishing (bass and all sorts of fascinating and lurid lures) but he is still a mean performer on the old squeeze box. Funnily enough, the last episode of The Repair Shop I saw featured an accordion and the workings were beyond complicated. Though not beyond the genius who did the repair.
Anyway, I digress as usual and my accordion-playing friend, a genius in his own right, not least when it comes to organisation (a word that sends me into paroxysms of awe – you get the drift), moved heaven and earth to assemble a band beyond compare. Of course, he’s an American who now lives in Texas, where everything is on a scale beyond the comprehension of mere mortals on this side of the pond.
Last month, he assembled a 17-person ensemble of musicians, singers and actors, some professional, others gifted amateurs for an evening that was a 1960s country western music setting featuring guitars, piano, drums, bongos, violin, banjo and accordion, interspersed with a variety of fun, frivolity and fanfare. I quote, mostly, and it sounds like a heck of a night, never to be repeated. There will, fortunately, be a DVD, to be released just before Christmas. So, that’s any time now.I was in TK Maxx a couple of weeks ago after giving blood that ended up at St Thomas’ Hospital in London (the blood doning people send you a text) and, horror of horrors, there was Christmas music playing. Even my dodgy ear recognised that it was a bit early (barely mid-October) for carols and assorted Noels and I felt sorry for the staff who couldn’t escape. Goodness knows how they’re feeling now – and there are still weeks to go. Hope they’re getting paid extra for the auditory assault.
Talking of assaults, I’ve just been watching some of the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup – England v Australia, so there’d be no holds barred whatever the sport. It was full on, all in and captivating.
I am now staggering to bed exhausted and, as so often, in awe.