Copyright Dark Horse Publications 1999
This is another extract, not necessarily following on chronologically from Part 1 (i.e. some text may have been omitted). You learn all sorts of things in this series, not necessarily about snooker... Or do you?
Oh, before we start, let's make sure which is your master eye, so we can line you up on the cue. What's a master eye? Well, in the case of most masters, his girl pupils normally (or boys sometimes...) Oh, I see what you mean. Well, you see, Joe Davis, no, not Steve, Joe. What do you mean, never heard of him? All you people care about these days is Hendry, Higgins and Williams. There were other players, you know. You kids are all the same, I don't suppose you like the Beatles either... What do you mean, who were they? Bloody philistines! Anyway, Joe was practically blind in his right eye, so he had to put his cue under his left eye. Must have been damned awkward... No, he was quite good, really. Trouble was there was nobody around to beat him at the time. But perhaps he never played anybody he didn't want to play - he invited people to challenge him, apparently. Seems like a good system to me... "Now, I'll just challenge old Squinteye down the road there, I know he can't pot a ball over the pocket...Should be good for a quid or two.."
Anyway, take this piece of chalk and put it in your mouth... Oh, no, sorry, I thought I was going to do that old trick-shot for a minute. Why do they do that trick over and over? Last time Willie (no, not me!) tried it he broke my mate Clifford's cheekbone. He fooled old Clifford, too. Thought he was going to play him a frame! And all he wanted to do was to make him get his leg over ... the table, that is. Must have felt a right prat lying on the end of the table. But normally they use some girl with a nice smile and a short dress. No, I'll rephrase that, a short dress and a nice smile. Well, the smile is quite important as well. Can't they think of anything different? Now that Mike Massey, he's original. Did you see that trick where he landed the white ball on the right card? It was the Ace of spades, no, I'm wrong, it was the two of clubs, no, it was the seven of diamonds, oh, I can't remember. What do you mean, there aren't any cards on a snooker table? Well, this was a pool table I think, and perhaps they got bored or something. Oh, how the hell do I know what card game? Probably poker or three card brag... No, but the amazing thing was that the balls made about twenty cannons before the white stopped on the right card. Bloody clever! Yes, I know a cannon was one of those things on Drake's ship, (what was it, the 'Golden Toucan' or something?) but these were billiards cannons, you know, where the white ball hits one ball and then another ball... oh, I give up! Do I have to explain everything, you ignorant sod? Where was I? I wish you'd stop interrupting, I can't get more than two hundred words in edgeways. Now take that chalk and put it on the top cushion. Ah, you've done something right at last! Now, come back here. Look at the chalk and point your finger at it. How do I care, what finger? Point your dick at it as far as I'm concerned. No, it won't be long enough... What do you mean, how do I know? I felt... Right, are you pointing at it? No, the chalk, you fool! Right, now close your right eye. Why can't you close it with the other hand? Oh, I see, you'd better put your cue down, then. How was I to know you're still holding your cue? And why can't you close your eye without using your hand, anyway? Are you physically deformed? Right, is it closed? (I'll close it for you in a minute, you cheeky bugger!) You'll probably find that you're looking straight at the chalk. You are? Well, which eye is still open? What do you mean, you can't tell which eye? Are you some sort of retard or something? Sorry, I didn't mean that. Oh, look, don't cry, here's my handkerchief, but don't get snot on it, I've got to clean my glasses with that.. Okay, so you reckon your right eye is open. All right, I know it's watering - I probably said something I shouldn't have. Are you looking straight at the chalk? You are? Now let me see, if he's looking straight at the chalk and his right eye is open, that means that his left eye... no, his right eye ... no, his left eye is the master... Just talk amongst yourselves, the rest of you. You don't think I'm going to coach you lot after this, do you? I haven't got all day.
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You see, as you've probably noticed, there are cushions all around a snooker table. Or should it be a billiard table? Some bloke got quite uppity the other day when I mentioned a snooker table, but how many people do you see playing billiards on one? Not around here, anyway. Well, you see at the risk of giving you a history lesson (Stop groaning, you lot, are you still there?) the cushions stop the ball falling off the table, a bit like Columbus falling off the edge of the world. No, that's Columbo with the raincoat, you prat! ('Excuse me sir, I'd just like to ask you one more question. You see, it interests me. I was wondering whether you could tell me why the cat was out in the garden?') - probably went out for some food, if it's anything like the bloody ravenous animal next door! Columbus, I said - 'In 1492 Columbus sailed the Ocean blue'. Haven't you heard that? Well, if ignorance was bliss, you lot would have a whale of a time. Hey, that was clever - whale, ocean... get it? Well, I thought it was funny. Oh, one of you kids on the seat has heard of Columbus! Bloody Einstein! I suppose you're the history teacher's pet, aren't you? No, I know he didn't fall off, that's the point isn't it? Oh, how the hell do I know why he didn't know the world was round? He couldn't look it up on his Britannica CD Rom, could he? Nobody knew, did they? Why not? Well, they didn't have satellites and such in those days, did they?. Well, for a start if they'd had satellites America would already have been discovered, because they launched them from that Cape Cod place and they wouldn't have had to worry about Columbus discovering it, would they? Oh, allright clever clogs, so it was Amerigo Vespucci, or Erik the Red, or was it Leif Ericsson? Anyway, all I know is it was something to do with that Copper Knickers chap, I think. Must have been bloody uncomfortable! Or was it Galway Leo? He was most probably Irish. If Dennis Taylor's Irish jokes are anything to go by, they must have been a pretty ignorant lot, a bit like you... Sorry, but you do go on yapping while I'm trying to coach snooker.
Now, where was I before I rudely interrupted myself? Oh, yes, with the cueball on the brown spot, or directly below it, aim up the spots and make it come back in the same place. No, below it means down that end of the table. Just because we see it from the black end on T,V. doesn't mean that that's the top end of the table. When I learnt snooker the top end meant the black end, now even I'm confused. Must be bloody difficult for that commentator Willie Thorne to learn the table the other way around! Still, I suppose he gets enough money so he doesn't mind doing a bit of homework, learning the table the right way around and that. And talking of homework, what are you other kids still doing there? When I was your age I had to be in at eight o'clock. Now you lot are wandering the streets till midnight. God knows what you get up to! It's no wonder you're falling asleep in class! Suppose you'll get Mummy to write you a sick note tomorrow. "Dear Mr Jones, Little Tommy was feeling so tired this morning. We had to visit his gran in hospital last night. The poor dear had a stroke." Bloody crap! Your gran's been dead for years. Kids can wrap their mothers around their little fingers these days! Poor teachers need a hand-writing expert when the sick notes come in, too. 'Now let me see... Fred wrote Jim's note, and Bill wrote Fred's note...so, who wrote Bill's note? Let me see your exercise books... Oh, I dunno!'
So you reckon that sounds easy, hitting it up and down the spots? Well, it ain't! I bet you'll hit at least one red coming back, that is if you've put the reds in the right place. Oh God, must I do everything for you? This coaching lark isn't as easy as I thought! Practise this till the next lesson and by next week you should be ready for some more! Well, how should I care if it's a waste of money in the meter? It's all good for the club, isn't it? See how much you've learnt in this hour. Why, it's practically a university degree course! Where else do you learn about Joe Davis and the Beatles and Christopher Columbus? Didn't come here to learn about them? You cheeky git! And get your cue mended before you come back! What did you say, it's not broken? Well, there you are, it is now! It'll fit in your poncy case more easily. And I don't care about your big brother (Gulp)... When's he coming?