Friday, 15 April 2011
When I was eighteen I very nearly became a journalist. I called up the features editor of a big newspaper in my city and said I was going to interview John McEnroe. McEnroe at the time was a swearing, racquet-throwing idol for me, but the closest I ever came to him was grazing his arm as he passed through an annoying, off-the-court crowd.
However, needing to maintain the attention of the doubtful features editor, I claimed I had an interview with Ivan Lendl instead. Ivan, cold-blooded Czech champion, stared me down in a tiny elevator I managed to squeeze into in his semi-posh hotel (Kings Cross Sydney in the 80s, pre-terrorism, general snazziness). In my shaky suburban voice I asked the tall unearthly-looking man for an interview.
Ivan Lendl said No and when the door opened he walked away.
What was I thinking?
However. Still determined to maintain the attention of my adopted and now smirking editor, I hunted down someone else. I went down to the tennis courts, found a big sweating American player on a bed being massaged. Third rate, Steve Something. He was happy to be interviewed. They actually ran the piece. No picture of the player. No picture of his moustache. I was thrilled. I was a journalist. My parents were utterly relieved my pretensions to become a writer would disperse.
And it lasted. The next guy I hunted down was the fastest water skier in the country. He was local. I was so frigging charming he asked me out. And there was a photograph too, sure the copy was small, a big photo of the a guy holding on for dear life in a helluva spray. Wayne Something, it was miles before the internet.
This from the dreamy girl who grew up on Simone de Beauvoir and D.H. Lawrence and was determined to flee to Europe.