Monday, 9 January 2012

Let's darts!

Did I write a blog post last year about the BDO World Darts Championship? And the year before that? I probably did*. Am I going to do another one anyway? Of course! It's one of the great traditions of my year so I may as well make reading this old rubbish one of yours.

I love it. I love the whole thing. The visuals, the excitement, the noise, the characters and the futility. I love the reigning World Champion Martin Adams, a man of such good humour, honesty and moral scruples that he is by far and away the professional sportsman for whom I have the most respect. But most of all, I love the TV coverage and the magnificence of the commentary.

The simple fact is, there's no way to make darts any more than it is - two fat-bellied men throwing darts at a board. Even the legendary Sid Waddell, who has a double first class degree in English Literature from Cambridge University can't elevate it. When he compares Eric Bristow to Alexander the Great, the brilliance comes from the humour of the juxtaposition. No matter how much anyone loves darts, it's always only darts.

Which brings us to Tony Green, a man who loves darts so much it can often leave him completely tongue-tied. This is his burden, particularly as he is a commentator on the game of darts. Every year Tony Green commits crimes against the English language, twisting it into a Möbius strip of a Möbius strip and back again. Last year he was waylaid by illness (I think maybe he sat on his darts) and unable to commentate on the final. The loss was palpable. I would like to BBC to release Tony's entire commentary output from each year's Championship as a podcast. It would be so starkly beautiful I think it could win the Turner Prize. If you listen to enough Tony Green as a stream of consciousness, I think you may well be able to achieve a higher state.

BEST OF ORDER PLEASE

I don't like the PDC. Great brassy whore of a thing. It's pretty easy to avoid it, I don't have Sky. But even if I did, I think I would give it a wide berth. There's an unpleasantness to it. The whole thing was built out of players wanting more money, nothing more or less noble than that. Where the BDO has history, honesty and the growth of the game at its heart, I see nothing but an aggressive air of proletarian menace and the celebration of spending new money in the PDC, the sporting equivalent of a man just out of prison winning the EuroMillions. Whenever I've seen the PDC on television, it's terrified me. OK, there's little doubt that it attracts many (well all right, most) of the game's top talents, but the crowds are like a baying mob. As if Unicorn had plonked an oche in the middle of the Tottenham riots. Game on!

So another January and another heap of praise for the British Darts Organisation and all they do. Christmas is never really over for me until I've spent a little time in the company of Martin "Wolfie" Adams, Ted "The Count" Hankey, John "Boy" Walton and Garry "The Cougar" Thompson (no man has ever looked or moved less like a cougar, but then again a cougar isn't as proficient at darts). Every year is the same, every year is slightly different, just like a colourful, eight-day long microcosm of life itself only with higher consumption of lager and more gold. There's some old faces, there's some new faces (I'm particularly excited about a new referee this year who looks about 14 and speaks.... very.... slowly.... and.... deliberately.... one.... hundred.... and.... eighty) and there's many more words of wisdom to be had from Tony Green and Bobby George.

This year, I'm hoping to learn fundamental truths about space and time from them. Also you get an Elizabeth Duke voucher by watching.

* turns out I didn't, but I did do one in 2009. Time flies when you're watching darts.

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