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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2009
Before reading this I always had a negative opinion of Eric Bristow, mainly due to his almost arrogant on screen persona. Although his arrogance has not diminished in my eyes, I now have nothing but admiration for the guy; mainly due to his colossal ability on the oche, and to a lesser extent his ability in the bar, though compared to some of the players in this book he's a lightweight!!

Put simply, if you're anyway into darts and remember the heady days of the 80's when the players drank & smoked their way through some of the greatest games that the game has witnessed; and if you'd like a bit of background on the debauchery & superb anecdotes that went on behind the scenes, then buy this book.

Eric, you're a legend!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 January 2009
From the very first line, "You play like a poof" to the conclusion that "the way I've lived my life I should have been gone long ago" it's clear that Eric Bristow's autobiography is not aimed at the politically correct market. In between Bristow seems to have adopted the simple philosophy of the Schuyler and Knobloch song, "Life's a Bitch And Then You Die".

Autobiographies are supposed to be about the person and this one is. Bristow comes across as self centred but easy going, unless roused, with an untapped intelligence which prevents him from looking beneath the veneer of life. He had enough nous to find a girl friend with less interest in drinking than himself but not enough wisdom to consider reducing the drinking itself.

Bristow's commitment and dedication to darts cost him relationships and his marriage, on each occasion the women in his life wanting more from life than darts. Although he admits his divorce is his biggest regret he hasn't let such an inconvenience interfere with the lifestyle he has chosen for himself.

Bristow's talent for darts probably saved him from a life of crime. The buzz he got from doing things wrong and getting in trouble with the law was replaced by the rush he got from playing darts. It helped that he was naturally good with the arrows - and the maths - but it never completely took the irresponsible edge off his lifestyle. It wasn't only the darts Bristow landed in the beds.

The smoky boozing atmosphere of darts in the 1970's and 1980's, both on and off the stage, suited Bristow and he admits to preferring those days to the sanitised twentyfirst century version. According to Bristow's account he burned the candle at both ends and in the middle as well. The lessons of Leighton Rees's early death and Jocky Wilson's decline into alcoholic obscurity went over his head. His mother's death from cancer made no impact on his smoking habits although he admits smoking and drinking is not a healthy mix.

Bristow knows what it takes to be successful in any sphere of life correctly identifying professionalism in terms of commitment and dedication. Beaten unexpectedly by the slow playing style of American Conrad Daniels in the 1978 World Championship he promptly went round the leagues taking on all the slow players he could find. Unfortunately the desire for perfection may have given him the yips that finally finished his career.

What he clearly doesn't understand is that life is best lived in balance rather than in focus. The reason he inadvertently causes trouble is because of the disrespect he has for other people. Of course this had its funny moments. When he turned around in breach of protocol having received his MBE he quickly corrected himself with the words, "Sorry Darling'" to the Queen. Similarly when he said to a good looking women, "Excuse me, darling, will you ask Mohammad Ali for his autograph for me? Cheers love" he put her curt response down to attitude until he discovered she was Princess Caroline of Monaco.

When Bristow began in darts it was a working class pastime in an environment of suppressed working class violence. The alcohol fueled settings may have changed but the atmosphere hasn't. Bristow is inordinately proud of his achievements but gives too little thought to how things appear to those who do not share his love of darts or its people. He knows the torch has moved on to the next generation but he's satisfied with knowing that he's done it his way and he doesn't give a toss about anyone who doesn't approve.

The book was an interesting read and gives an insight into a strand of British culture which is too often overlooked. It does capture Bristow's personality and I'm sure there are many who will identify with his background and attitude, which is why it's received five stars.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2008
This is a fantastic read and a great behind the scenes insight into the crazy world of darts.
Bristow is a genius story-teller whose anecdotes are peppered with wit and hilarity.
The stories involving legends of darts such as Jocky Wilson, Cliff Lazarenko and Keith Deller have to be read to be believed.
From the moment I picked it up I couldn't put it down. It was a thrilling read and Bristow really has had a rollercoaster ride of a life.
I can thoroughly recommend this to every fan of darts and even those not familiar with the sport will find the stories and tales quite absorbing.
What a great book.
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on 21 February 2011
As a person new to Darts, I was interested in this book about one of the early pioneers of the sport.The book is written with a gritty, open, brutally honest and irreverent style that I found very refreshing. The book was full of anecdotes and hilarious stories that had me in stitches and made me wish that I had been there to experience them all. It pulled no punches and gave great insight into the world of darts and its many trials and tribulations especially in regards to the formation of the Professional Darts Corporationand and its split from the British Darts Organization. All the Darting greats of these halcyon days are mentioned - Leighton Rees, John Lowe, Cliff Lazarenko, and Bobby George. The Crafty Cockney is not only about a history of darts as Eric Bristow lived it and his wonderful and successful career.
It is also the story of a larger than life character who loved life and lived it like there was no tomorrow - and still does!! Highly reccomended!
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Not only the best darts book I've ever read but it's also the most entertaining book I've ever read. Loved it!! I met Eric again the other night at Armageddon 2012 and there is just something about him that makes him extra special. Not one to stand on show, he is a legend and speaks his mind. His comments about Rod Hull in his book made me laugh out loud (a bit harsh but very funny!!). Buy this book, it's better than Taylor's (full of boring Sid Waddell quotes) and better than Bobby George's too (although his was quite good). And don't waste your money on Sid's Bellies & Bullseyes - a very dull book.
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on 1 August 2009
Without doubt still the biggest name in world darts and a true legend of the oche this book captures Bristow's life and times with great reading. He has gone through life at 100mph and not bothered what anyone has ever thought of him. His love of darts though shines through and one can't help feel that maybe he should have semi-retired and enjoyed the fruits of his labour - he never and it cost him his biggest regret with the ultimate end of his marriage. The story i find is a little sad and the darts took over his life too much. The book though is compelling reading and a must read for all darts fans.
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on 15 March 2015
Reading an autobiography you always run the risk of the author glossing over certain aspects of his life or telling outright lies but I never got this impression reading this one. I felt it came straight from the heart, warts and all, the story of one of the games greatest. From his humble beginnings to the top of the world and his struggles with Dartitis. Wonderfully told with very witty insights and passages and having met the man you can really hear him come off the page.
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on 5 January 2011
Eric was the reason I started playing darts I loved his arrogance and cocky attitude and his drive to be the best darts payer of his era. This book describes his life before darts and the up's and downs during his darts career. I didn't know he was such a bad lad as a youngster. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and if you are a fan of The Crafty Cockney then you will enjoy it too as he tells it as it was.
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on 12 September 2013
Liked Eric for a long time as he was always such a character with in the Darts fraternity and its subsequent rise to TV prominence. He really does just tell it as it is, its funny, sometimes a bit shocking and draws you in. If you saw him on TV in "Celebrity Jungle" the book shows that he was not acting, he really is a nice bloke, straight talking, working class, likeable and funny.
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on 1 January 2013
This book was delivered extremely quickly and the overall quality of the service was outstanding, the book itself was bought a xmas present but I believe what they have read of it so far is they have said it is brilliant and once you start he said it is hard to put it down he said it is so good I have asked to read it after him so would recommend this book to anyone who likes darts.
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