On nicknames and darts.

I’m Robert Garnham, Professor of whimsy. Professor of whimsy. That’s not my nickname, that’s just what I call myself. For marketing purposes. If you’ve made it up yourself, it’s not a nickname. That’s the rule. A nickname isn’t a nickname if it’s something you’ve decided without anyone else’s input.

A friend of mine is a semi professional darts player, and he’s decided to call himself The Intimidator. Just like that. He has decided. Keith The Intimidator Hepplethwaite.

The only thing intimidating about Keith is his liberal use of Lynx Africa body spray and his ability to belch the theme tune to Frasier. It’s pretty disgusting.

So he calls himself The Intimidator, and at great expense he has had it printed on his shirt across his shoulders, The Intimidator, and on his darts, The Intimidator, and on his personalised beer mug, The Intimidator, and he insists that everyone call him The Intimidator. Look at me, I’m The Intimidator. The Intimidator!

And then one day, as a joke, I called him Doris. And you know what? Now EVERYONE calls him Doris!

But there’s something weird going on with the names of the people in his darts team. The members of his darts team are Matt, Pete, Trev, Jim, Kev, Deano, Craigie and Paulie.

So apparently, this is the rule. If you’ve got a name of two syllables or more, your name is shortened to the first syllable. So Matthew becomes Matt, Trevor becomes Trev, Kevin becomes Kev. Fair enough.

If you’ve got a one syllable name to start with, then an extra syllable is added on the end, as they’ve done with Deano and Craigie. Ok, then.

But the team was recently rocked by an crisis when a new member joined them. And this crisis was because his name was Milo.

What the hell can they do with the name Milo? It’s already got an O on the end, and you can’t shorten it to Mile, that’s too much of a mouthful in the fast paced world of pub darts.

So what they’ve done is really quite ingenious. Cos they’re quite sneaky really, are darts players. Sneaky little darts players! They’ve stopped calling him Milo, and they’ve started calling him Fido, which kind of sounds like Milo, and once they’d got used to calling him Fido instead of Milo, they shortened it to Fide.

Much better. Much better.

Poem

Darts.
Nightly pub-sport spectacle.
Like rhinos line astern gripping tungsten spears.
Darts.
Chunky-reaching cheek-wobbling darts.
Beer belly a-quiver overhanging too wide tee shirt unsolicited stomach glimpse darts.
Spherical hysterical measures out in trebles.
Darts.

Thud. Thud. Thud.

Cocky oche-jockeys crafty cockneys dressing sloppy.
Sports-upholding team mate-scolding beer glass-holding.
Carpet shuffling fart-muffling comes away with nothing.

Thud. Thud. Thud.

Double-chaser bullseye-maker opponent-hater third-rather.
Forefinger fling-flourish free-form darts throw panache.
Board-seeker tip bounce wire hitting kerplink.
Unlucky, Trev.

Thud. Thud. Kerplink.

Great big belly-man darts-land Leviathan takes a stand.
Meaty meaty clap-hand (nurses darts like baby chicks),
Arrow-flinging darts board-singing double-trimming
Guess who’s winning?

Thud. Thud. Thud.

Trophy-doting low-score-gloating show-boating local scrote
Boozy-wobbling woozy-toppling lazy darts-fling treble twenty
Bar staff aghast, darts stars laugh, fast darts dance, last chance,
Bust.

Thud. Thud. Thud.

Last game, the same again, self-same blame game.
In the team lean, seeming so keen, trophy a gleam, he’s a darts machine!
No pain no gain, no gain, no fame, oh, the shame!
Sudden-death shoot out, league-topping bullseye-aiming,
Thud, pretty nifty, scores a fifty, mores the pity,
Geddin my son quivering tentative there the dart itself hanging like a
Swan so graceful in its beauteous flight betwixt chubby
Sweating fingers slow-mo revealing the under belly wobble
Suspended in mid air aerodynamic like the philosophic truth
Writ large straight into the exact centre of the board!

Unlucky, Trev.
Unlucky, Trev.
Unlucky, Trev.

See you all next week?

Author: Robert Garnham

Performance and spoken word artist.

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