Gambling is illegal at Bushwood sir, and I never slice: five yarns

 

Noonan! D’Annunzio! Mitchell! You’re on the tee!

It was a sparkling, jaunty morning. The kind only had during university holidays. Thirty chaps in whispering knots, around the first tee of North Adelaide’s south course.

As casual golfers we’d no experience with a gallery. Rocket, Puggy and I watched Crackshot have a few swings. He’d get us underway.

Exhibiting an opening batsman’s concentration, his backswing was neat. A purposeful downswing. Sixty eyes followed it as it flew up and through the autumnal sky. Remaining patiently on the tee, however, was his Hot Dot.

Now like a crashing Black Hawk’s rotor, minus the Jesus nut, Crackshot’s driver was in whirling flight. Sounding like Rolf’s wobble board it propelled up the fairway, then skimmed across the Kikuyu before finally, as in a Samuel Beckett tableau, it lay motionless and forsaken.

“My palms were sweaty,” claimed Crackshot.

 

I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber.

Sadly demolished, Kapunda’s Railway Hotel experienced a fleeting infamy, among the ridiculous, by opening at 8am on Sundays, when, in situ, we’d get raspberry cordial splashed in our West End Draught butchers.

Angelin was the publicans’ son. In the hotel ballroom he played me Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Once. I recuperated. Everything about the Railway Hotel was ridiculous.

But Angelin could play footy. He was a thumping kick, and when he connected, he sometimes achieved the mythological quality known in country sport as “good purchase.”

In the Junior Colts one Saturday at Dutton Park our ruckman, Rocket, got the tap from the centre bounce. Angelin seized the footy in that clean, untouchable way he had. Suddenly frozen as if in a sci-fi telemovie, the Tanunda boys were incapable of tackling him.

He surged towards the half forward line. Fifty-metre arcs were un-invented, but he was beyond that when he bombed it. Perhaps prog-rock had already pinched his conceptual clarity. It was a behind. To the Tanunda Magpies.

He’d kicked it the wrong way.

But, gee, it was impressive.

 

Hey Moose! Rocko! Help my buddy here find his wallet! 

The history of Spoof suggests English public schoolboys, darkened cupboards and loosened trousers. But for me it’s afternoons in Kapunda’s Prince of Wales, or Puffa’s, as it’s widely known.

Called ‘the ancient art of mathematical calculation as played by gentlemen,’ Spoof is a drinking game fabricated upon failure. It is a drinking game of cheerful cruelty, for it identifies no winners, only the loser.

Whitey loved Spoofy, and grabbing three coins, he’d jangle them at you with the same cacoëthes as the cat that was bitten by The Gambling Bug in the cartoon, Early to Bet. Whitey always found takers. Laughing, drinking, spoofing. In concert.

One afternoon Whitey lost. Many, many times. It remains a pub highlight even among the punters who weren’t there.

How can it have been so long since I played Spoofy?

 

Now I know why tigers eat their young.

It was a noble idea. Improve standards by running an evening clinic with Test umpire Tony Crafter. So we congregated in the Marlboro Red fug of the Kapunda clubrooms. Our guest officiated across the planet, but tonight, would field some exotic questions.

 Angaston Muppet: Tony? May I call you Tony?

Tony Crafter: You may.

AM: Saturday in the A3’s I bowled a bouncer. And the batsman stuck up his hand and caught it. What do you think?

TC: If he had time to let go of the bat, raise a hand above his head and then catch it, it must have been a bloody slow bouncer.

AM: Well, yeah. But what should happen?

TC: You should give up bowling.

AM took charge massively. He changed the topic.

AM: Once in the A3’s I appealed for a LBW.

TC: How did you go?

AM: Robbed! The umpire said he couldn’t make a decision. He reckoned I’d run down the pitch and blocked his view.

TC: Fair enough. That’s a reasonable response.

AM: OK, the umpire can’t make a LBW decision! Could I then appeal to the square leg umpire?

The Angaston Muppet, I’m assured, is currently a senior advisor within the federal government.

 

Be the ball, Danny.

Milan Faletic was a good average footballer. Turning out for West Torrens and Port Adelaide in over two hundred games, his nickname had pubescent, but lasting appeal. They called him Spoof.

At Port with Spoof was Rod Burton who became senior coach of the Kapunda Bombers when I was a boy. He was menacing. He had mad eyes. Replace shark with Burton and Quint’s still right

Sometimes that shark, he looks right into you. Right into your eyes. You know the thing about a shark, he’s got… lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eye. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be livin’

Crackshot, Rocket and I were on the wing by the timekeepers’ box when Burton had a boundary kick in. The box also housed the PA, and during the B Grade, club stalwart Bruce Dermody pontificated

Ladies and gentleman. The canteen is selling pies, pasties and sausage rolls. Lollies for the kids. And the liquor bar will open at 2.30 for all your refreshment needs.

We were behind Burton. Deliberately, he pushed off the fence, and launched a mountainous screw punt. Spiralling instantly above the gum trees, the Ross Faulkner footy bisected the posts, and below the mound, down near the weedy trotting track, on the service road, it landed.

Blighty’s goal was but a stab pass.

As the Holden VC Commodores honked in praise, and duffel-coated kids hollered, Burton smiled. Just briefly.

 

About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello

Comments

  1. Liked the Tony Crafter lines MR. I reckon he’d swapped banter with Big Bird so he was equipped to handle the Muppet.
    Can you just explain what the title means???
    I’m a bit worried about the amount of spoof in the article. Have you been reading Peter Goldsworthy’s onanist memoir?

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    A Ross Faulkner ‘Native’ I presume

  3. mickey randall says

    PB- the title and sub titles are all from Caddyshack, the best country club film of all time. Goldsworthy memoir is on the list.
    Swish- is there another kind?

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Of course, Ross Faulkner Native Brand is a tautology, similar to “amiable Barossa resident”

  5. PB, Caddyshack may well be the highpoint of art, if not the highpoint of human endeavour.

    Mickey – loved it.

  6. Swish- What sense do we make of both you and I, quite independently of each other, discussing Milan “Spoof” Faletic in our posts, within days of each other?
    And then, there was the unsolicited discussion of Rick Wakeman. I think the fine work of Spoof has aged considerably better than the turgid output of Rick and his keyboard.

  7. I guess it just shows that I’m old and old-fashioned. I just decided many years ago that nearly all American comedies were crass and stupid. So I just don’t bother.
    Never seen Caddyshack. Never watched more than 10 minutes of a couple of episodes of the Simpsons.
    Honourable exceptions – Seinfeld, Cheers, Frasier, Mad About You. So it has to be observational comedy.
    I may have missed a bit of good stuff, but its avoided several life years of fart and dick jokes.
    Yours curmudgeonly.

  8. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Enjoyable Mickey while not a caddy shack fan , bought a smile re remembering
    Milan ( spoof , pathetic ) Faletic . I can remember Rod Burton from the telecast of the seconds games . My favorite part was Tony Crafter , TC has a dry sense of humor so I was picturing him comfortably playing the MC . Thanks Mickey I can see you and Swish hosting a sport , music show I reckon the two of you would be v quick and entertaining with 1 liners !

  9. PB, your prejudice has not served you well in the case of Caddyshack. It is lampooning the very things you despise.

    Like you, I have never been a Simpson’s watcher, but that has been an issue of time, and not being much of a TV watcher (other than sport and F Troop). However, every time I actually catch The Simpsons I make a note to watch more. Apart from the observations and sub-textual comment, the attention to detail is remarkable (down to the inclusion of a few bars of a piece of music to make a point). I find myself smiling and nodding a lot. Even something like Homer tossing the radioactive waste away is a simple comment on the moment.

  10. Great read Mickey, like others, loved Tony Crafter’s response but anything that relives the brilliance that is Caddyshack is well worth the trip. Funny, funny film, great piece, thanks

    Sean

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    If only Rick Wakeman had joined the Spiders From Mars instead of Yes

    http://gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/rick-wakeman-vs-david-bowie-story.html

  12. Steve Baker says

    One of the best days I can recall was emptying the bookies bags at the Gold Coast Turf Club one Satdee with Milan Faletic former hoop Jason Patton and K Plant on a Melbourne Superules Footy Club Footy Trip. KP – also a former hoop – has the Ribena squeeze pack filled with Southern Comfort in his sky rocket because KP and JP “don’t trust these thieving gypsy bastard raceclub’s measures” and Milan is loaded with more tips than a tin of asparagus. We land the quaddie (after a moderate outlay) but it’s the one-out plunges in the non-quaddie legs on Mil’s advice that have us bending the bookies over and brandishing the rough end of the pineapples.

    Milan “Spoof” Faletic; Port Adelaide team of the century member, over 55s coach at Melbourne Superules FC and genuine Leviathan Punter

  13. I reckon Caddyshack is aging pretty well- it came out in about 1980. Its satirical targets of prejudice, entitlement, racism and class divisions are still relevant. The writing is sharp and comedically engaging, while the ensemble cast is wonderful. The late Harold Ramis directed and co-wrote the script, and it sits well within his impressive body of work.

    I doubt I’ve played social golf without someone quoting Caddyshack- “Miss, Noonan, miss”, “right in the lumberyard’ or “naked lady tee, among others.’

    Thanks for your comments.

  14. Steve

    Sounds like a perfect Almanac lunch guest. Does MF like telling yarns, or just making them.

  15. Steve Baker says

    Mil’s 50/50 telling/making yarns. He’d be a great guest!

  16. Steve- “Milan is loaded with more tips than a tin of asparagus” is a fantastic line. I love hearing stories of what footballers, in this case childhood heroes, are doing after their public careers conclude.

    Such is the power of football celebrity that when we lived in Glenelg, a few houses down from an Adelaide Crow, I was always just a bit surprised to see him washing his car or mowing the lawn. And I know I shouldn’t be…

    Thanks Malcolm- your encyclopedic knowledge of SANFL (and SA cricket) continues to amaze!

  17. Thanks Mickey, what a great piece. I’d almost forgotten, but we used to play spoof for the bill at the local Chinese after footy, and the multitude of shouts subsequently. The game was passed on to us from Sydney grade-cricketers I believe.

    And the Caddyshack refrences are sublime – and perfectly timed. It was on Gem or Go just last night as I discovered while trying to avoid BT’s horrendous stylings. Couldn’t work out for a while which was more amusing – Carl/Smails/Webb or the Tiges/Blues bad-a-thon? Laughed a lot at both.

    Well, the world needs ditch diggers too.

  18. Paul Young says

    As soon as I saw the heading – I had to read this article. Great read.

    Caddyshack is the benchmark for Comedy movies. Never before or since has a movie produced so many memorable & oft quoted lines. I reckon I’ve seen the movie about 50 plus times and can just about lip synch every Al Czervick (Rodney Dangerfield) line. AND I have little time for golf. I think it’s boring.

    A few years ago as part of the Adelaide Fringe, the very talented Matt Byrne wrote and starred in a one man show about the great American comedian Jacob Cohen, better known as Rodney Dangerfield. The first half of the show was Byrne impersonating Dangerfield and discussing his life’s journey as a struggling comedian until Caddyshack came along. It was cleverly interpersed with Dangerfield one liners. The second half of the show was Byrne impersonating Al Czervick complete with the checked jacket from the movie. He rattled line after line from Caddyshack. It was brilliant & hilarious.

    Thanks for the article – That’s all she wrote.
    PY
    PS: For many years during the 60’s & early 70’s, Rodney Dangerfield wanted to be on the Dean Martin show. Martin refused to have him on the show. Post Caddyshack and Dangerfield was a regular on all the Tonight shows. In his movie Back to School, Dangerfield named the goofball dean of the school ‘Dean Martin’ as a reminder to Dean Martin that he knocked him back.

  19. Magnets- Spoof, I’ve been told, had its origins in English public schools where the boys’d say things like, “We have Latin homework due tomorrow for Old Wiggins. Let’s spoof to see who’ll do it!” It’s only been a drinking game in my experience though.

    Agree with you about BT. As a commentator, he’d make an excellent ditch-digger in one of Al Czervik’s companies.

    Paul- Agree that Caddyshack has no equal in comedy. Thanks for the info about Dangerfield and Dean Martin; Back to School has some good moments too, the Triple Lindy among them!

    I read about the Matt Byrne tribute, sounds brilliant. Would love to see it. Byrne’s a talented chap,.

    Thanks again.

  20. Luke Reynolds says

    Highly entertaining as usual Mickey.

    Caddyshack is a wonderful film.

  21. Bob Bowden says

    Spoofy…. Good call…… And a nod to indicate a job well done Micky! A game of strategy….a call of 0 and holding 3 will test the nerve of any good spoofy player.

  22. Luke and Bob- thanks for that. Much appreciated.

    PS- just discovered the Caddyshack soundtrack on spotify. Easily the best work of K. Loggins. The opening track I’m Alright sets infectious, energetic mood of the film very well. Mr Night goes well too.

  23. When your enjoying the company of your best swimming mates , with the taste of ale and raspberry keeping the previous nights dog from biting you on the frog eyes. There’s nothing better than the inn keeper making you aware that the hour has come when the blinds can be opened as he has now met the required legal time for opening. If only he had some bush biscuits and zooper doopers to feed the dog. I can’t remember who was there but I’m sure the cracker brothers were and maybe the famous sandwich artists M & G Semich. But I do know we spun the odd Caddyshack quote as waited for the next pineapple to cross the bar. I also remember that whilst I couldn’t afford the odd game of spoofy ,I couldn’t afford not to. All these memories and I still can’t remember to take the rubbish out on a Thursday night or was that Friday night. Many a good time Thanks for the memories. Now if someone could give me total Conciousness on my death bed I’ll have that to look forward to.

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