Tinker, Tailor

Last night we watched the 2011 film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, adapted from John Le Carre’s 1974novel. In the film there is a very short scene (scene #126 for those keeping score at home) of a squash match. The players—Oliver Lacon and a government minister—are using wooden racquets and flaying at the ball without moving from their side of the court. Very low level of play. Lacon accidentally hits a reverse corner to win the point. The play was not terribly authentic, but the early-seventies atmosphere was: besides the wooden bats, the guys smoked in the locker room afterwards. 

In the book, there is just one reference to squash. It is when Peter Guillam, while searching for files, remembers finding Jim Prideaux’s treasured old squash racquet jammed behind a safe. It had, as Le Carre wrote, “‘J.P.’ hand-done in poker-work on the handle.” Did people really engrave their racquets that way, in the days before you had your name stamped on little ribbons of plastic?



One thought on “Tinker, Tailor”

  1. James, I have some vintage tennis racquets with engraving, so answer to your question would seem to be yes. As for the movie scene, I remember it and would put it in same category as Woody Allen’s squash scene in one of his old movies (Annie Hall? Manhattan?) Best squash-in-art is the novel "Saturday."John

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