Saturday 8th October 2016.
Eddie Charlton defeats Kirk Stevens with a majestically dispatched black in The Common Room pool comp final on Saturday night… But, let’s face it, this wasn’t about a long afternoon of breaking balls. Just a joyous reunion of famous has-beens. Wonderful, for instance, to witness Fred Davis and Tony Knowles comparing stiff retro flicks and impeccable trouser creases. For a man of 110, Fred did well not to call upon the defibrillator once, just an extended rest and a medium dry sherry. The rest, it’s true, seemed more like a siesta, but then Terry Griffiths can have that effect. They used to call him ‘Ding Dong’ you know – in a gentler age of bus conductors and Pot Black.
Following a familiar diversion via The Bath Hotel’s back parlour room, snooker’s pre-Matchroom Mob dodderers finally hobbled up to Shapla, magic markers primed for the flash-flood of an impromptu t-shirt signing frenzy that never happened. Regrettably, Tony ‘Meltdown’ Meo, was later asked to remove daubings discovered on the lavatory mirror: “Doubles Snooker World Number 1 (1981 – 1983)! For God’s sake, Davis, pick up the phone!”
Shapla’s pickle tray’s as big and brash as a Bill Werbeniuk anecdote. The usual noises, plus a chilli jamish one to honk on. Starters tuned up with numerous variations on a shami kebab theme. Mine came coated in omelette. The options weren’t exactly equal to Kirk Stevens white patent leather spats. Nevertheless, comfortable and adequate as Cliff Thorburn’s Wellingtons. Fished out a very decent onion bhaji, in fact, before plunging my foot into Thorburn’s left boot. Later on, the lamb shatkora missed some lemony zing, it’s true. Though hardly diminished my rapturous romp in its rich, quaggy, curry puddle; recklessly bespattering Willie Thorne’s bald pate.
With an almost charmingly Chaotic flourish courses arrived both haphazardly and error strewn. The feast of surplus plain naan breads at least provided a welcome brow mop for intrepid toilet venturers. The challenging climb to the Katmandu of curry house conveniences is though a rewarding one. The sculpted artificial box hedges really aren’t a hallucinatory figment (the result of brain-bending altitude sickness). It’s actually a sort of rooftop garden oasis with urinals up there.
Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles
Fred ‘Skippy’ Pickles