Racquet Racket Duel Dual. Tina Havelock Stevens (drums) & Liberty Kerr (guitar). Performed as part of Cementa15 in Kandos, NSW. Photo: Alex Wisser
Tina Havelock-Stevens and Liberty Kerr: two contemporary gladiators battle it out. The venue? Kandos’ greatest sporting arena: the tennis courts outside the Henley Golf Club. As these two titans of the rock game face off they wield not tennis racquets nor balls. No, their weapons of choice are a drum kit and a guitar, respectively.
Havelock-Stevens steps up to the service line and delivers a sharply punctuated rhythm; it is a significant challenge so early in the game. But Kerr doesn’t take the bait; she has seen and heard it all before. Instead, she stares her opponent down from across the net a look of contempt; a look that says, is that all you got?
Havelock-Stevens raises the tempo. The strength and variation of this champion should not be underestimated. But Kerr holds firm. She lowers her guitar and lets the headstock fall to the ground. It rattles Havelock-Stevens, she has come here to play and Kerr’s gesture is nothing short of a mockery. A mockery of Havelock-Stevens – a mockery of her prowess – indeed, a mockery of the entire game. In a gesture of pure frustration Havelock-Stevens throws a drumstick at her opponent. Oh dear, she needs to be careful here now. Kerr may be closing down the play but such aggression could cost Havelock-Stevens the match. Kerr puts down her guitar and starts to peel a banana.
This is unbelievable! I don’t think I have ever seen this before. Kerr is eating the banana in the middle of the court! Havelock-Stevens stops playing. The crowd are getting rather restless now, and so they should. They came to see a game of tennis and make no mistake they are not getting one. But nothing seems to faze Kerr. She finishes her banana, takes a swig from her water bottle and then raises her guitar. This is the moment we have all been waiting for. She presses down the effects pedal and strums her guitar. The note drones effortlessly across the clay. It is not what the crowd were expecting. However, they are far from disappointed. They cheer Kerr on. It is what they have come here to see. I think we finally have a match on our hands, folks.
Mark Shorter is Runway’s Guest Blogger for Issue#27 OUTSIDE.