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Bellies and Bullseyes: The Outrageous True Story of Darts Hardcover – 15 Aug 2007
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Sid Waddell's commentaries are the black puddings of sports reporting - savoury, hot and bursting with blood and guts. -- Nancy Banks-Smith, Guardian
This book covers everything from the early days of hustling in pubs and the 1960s money race pub competitions that spawned the likes of John Lowe and Eric Bristow, to the glory days of ITV's brilliantly daft Indoor League; from the bling of Bobby George and the belly of Jocky Wilson to Sid's part in the schism between the BDO and newly formed PDC. It mixes Sid's own 'I was there' story with the entire story of darts - a kind of comic Darts Babylon that features every event and every character to walk the oche from Eric 'The Crafty Cockney' Bristow to Phil 'The Power' Taylor. The whole thing has a distinct whiff of cigarettes, alcohol, hot tungsten and moist polyester. Sid knows all the stars as intimate friends and has been instrumental in the game's progress himself and his writing is as colorful as his commentary. Sid is something of a legend and since he started in the 70s has had more column inches than Richie Benaud and John Motson combined. Bellies and Bullseyes is simply the best book you could have about the sport.See all Product description
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Sid Waddell was a naturally funny man, gifted with a wonderful turn of phrase coupled with his irrepressible Geordie personality and accent to match. When I've heard his commentaries he's reduced me to fits of giggles on a regular basis, and I hoped that this book would have the same effect on me.
It's a bit of a disappointment all in all. Yes there are funny bits, but it falls between two stools, seemingly unsure as to whether it wants to be the autobiography of Sid Waddell or the story of darts, and as a result it doesn't really succeed at being either. It's more the story of Sid's life in darts, and there are lots of stories about going out for a curry and numerous pints with the players, alongside other chapters that feel almost like essays about some of the players Waddell has previously written about, such as Jocky Wilson or Phil Taylor. It's an entertaining enough read, but considering it was written by such a funny man it's strangely flat, not that amusing, and actually just a little bit dull.
It's OK, but it could have been a lot better unfortunately.
There are fascinating stories about many of the legends of the game. Jocky, Brissy and Taylor in particular. Sid was in the fortunate position of getting to know the characters and was a good friend to many of them.
A few reviews have suggested that Sid was guilty of blowing his own trumpet. This maybe so, however no one can deny that his true passion for the game of darts, dart players and theatre that this created shone through with every commentary. For me, although he references many of the unique and often bizarre lines that he used in commentary, he will be best remembered for his undeniable love of the game. This is what set him apart from all other sporting commentators.
Sid, May you rest in darting heaven.
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