It’s official: ping pong is having a moment. Not only are Barack Obama and Susan Sarandon well publicised fans of the humble game but across the world, people are taking up bats and joining their local table tennis league. In East London alone, The Book Club plays host to King Pong, a weekly ping pong party for enthusiasts of all abilities.
However, the ping pong craze is not limited to fashionable twenty somethings. Just as Advanced Style celebrates fashionistas of a certain age, upcoming British documentary Ping Pong focuses on those who refuse to slow down as they get older. It follows the lives of eight pensioners from five different countries as they head for the over 80s Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia. This is a sporting event that is as much about the tenacity of the human spirit as it is about taking home the title.
In preparation for the Olympic summer, we headed down to The Book Club to meet 90 year old Les D’Arcy and 85 year old Terry Donlon, two of the film’s stars. Whilst Les gave an exclusive interview to The Guardian, dapper Terry modelled our Ping Pong Cufflinks for photographer Laura Palmer. Laura is an up and coming young photographer (with an amazing Twin Peaks-esque name!) whose work has appeared in the NME and as part of a collaboration with ASOS.
Between showing off his moves for the camera, Terry gave us his best advice for beating your friends at ping pong:
“Don’t be afraid to move around behind the board. People forget that! I wear bowling shoes to give me extra grip when I’m darting about as I play.”
As he filled us in on his penchant for ping pong, Terry revealed his career has been blighted by ill health (he almost died in a tournament in 2009): ”I’ve only got two years left to live. You could say that ping pong keeps me going. Definitely. It gives me something to work towards and focus on.”
Batting away further telephone interviews, Les (star of the film’s poster!) gave us his tips for becoming a champion:
“Watch your opponent play someone else first – make a note of their weakness, whether it’s backhand shots or timing. When it’s your turn to play, use your knowledge and exploit that weakness…or you could always bribe them!” With this parting shot, Les bursts into laughter and is ushered away to speak to another journalist – it’s clear these men are not your typical senior citizens.
To celebrate the release of Ping Pong, we are giving away a set of Ping Pong Cufflinks. Made from beautiful French glass-filled enamel, they’re sure to net you style points even if your technique lets you down!
Thanks to the team behind Ping Pong, the lucky winner will also receive a pair of tickets to the film’s London premiere! Held at the East End Film Festival on the 7th July, not only will the winner and friend attend the screening, they will also have access to a Q&A with the film’s director, Hugh Hartford.
Simply answer this question:
Terry and Les are champion table tennis players. If you could pick one thing to be crowned champion of, what would it be?
Whether it’s hula hooping, moustache growing or ghost hunting, we want to know! Simply leave your answer as a comment and our favourite will win the Ping Pong Cufflinks and Ping Pong premiere tickets. The competition closes on Wednesday 20th June at 11am. Good luck!
Explore the world of Ping Pong and find your nearest screening of Ping Pong now: www.pingpongfilm.co.uk