I enjoyed this book a lot. As well as learning a lot about darts trivia and about both the pub & the pro darts scene, but there is also a lot of fond recognition in glimpsing an England that many remember from their childhood, that most think is gone now, but that does still exists in not-very-well-publicised places. Great to hear the stories of hard core language, unapologetic consumption of alcohol on a grand scale, and quaint mini-traditions of darts that are adhered to and adored. Some moments of true humour as well; Justin's descriptions of his middle classness and consequent feeling out of place in the world of darts yet then realising that this only bothers one person - himself - made me laugh out loud. The incident of a fellow player cracking open a lager can at 8.45am on the way to a tournament only to be followed by Justin opening his bottle of Benylin to cries of disgust from his fellow travellers was also funny, as was the story of his drunken hug (barely reciprocated, it seemed) with Keith Deller. I think that most 30something middle class men in England would relate to a lot on this book and I recommend it. A mate of mine who finished it before he did, rediscovered his darts and then threw a 160 checkout the next day playing a mate at work, so maybe the book will help your darts as well!
Directed to this book by a UK friend due to my recreational interest in darts and my attraction to the stories of those striking out in new directions. Although I'm sure I had a blank stare during some of the cultural references that I don't have the background to understand, Justin's narrative is an interesting, leisurely read expounding on darts (and a bit of its professional history), class, instant celebrity (and its fallout), the media, and the traditional pub scene in Britain that I wish I'd experienced. Justin has an easy style and a fine wit that brought me along for a fun ride. I look forward to his next project, maybe something with granite.
This is a funny book. From one drunken conversation to playing Bobby George at Lakeside a year later, this covers it all. What I liked though was Irwin's real appreciation for the playes - both professional and pub standard. He has a genuine interest and appreciation of the skill and dedication involved in getting good at this game and tells a good story. Good insight on some of the characters of the game and the reality of life on the circuit. Good read.
This book is head scratchingly frustrating. The majority of the book talks about Justin Irwin, childline and how kooky his decision was. The problem with the limited segments on darts is that Justin Irwin is rubbish at darts. Seriously - he makes a claim that he'll win a tournament by the end of the year but he's not even the best player in his pub league and never seems to make past the first round of any tournament he enters. If you want to read about a liberal hand wringing former head of a charity who is rubbish at darts then this is the book for you.