Written by the King of Bling, Bobby George and Dr Darts, Patrick Chaplin. Foreword by Ray Stubbs.

2011 Apex Publishing Limited, Essex | 149 Pages Hardback | RRP £9.99 | Available 25th June 2011

Darts has come a long way. From the early 1900s when brass was chucked at the old Fives board on a ‘hockey’ in East End boozers darts progressed from casual pastime to a worldwide phenomenon before graduating to the professional sport we have today, throwing from an ‘oche’.

It is an inexpensive game that anybody can play and as such has always attracted the working class, spawning a sub-culture with its own language. It is this darting lexicon that ‘Scoring for Show, Doubles for Dough’ explores, providing the first dedicated darts glossary.

Watch televised darts these days and you will hear the commentator talking about “peppering the lipstick” and being “in the madhouse”, wind back 100 years and the call of “cat’s on the counter” will have gone up following a winning dart. If these expressions mean nothing to you look no further.

And who better to present this ‘dartictionary’ than a Cockney legend with the gift of the gab and a bona fide professor of the game? Bobby George is fully qualified to be the author of SfSDfD given his unique place at the sharp end of professional darts for over 35 years.

In that period Patrick Chaplin has dedicated his life to studying the sport and is arguably the foremost authority on darts. This academic approach to darts is something that Bobby, a builder by trade, finds rather peculiar, and doesn’t he let “The Professor” know it..!

Cue what turns out to be a comic double act with straight man Patrick providing the necessary bedrock of information and giving plenty ammunition for the wise-cracking Bobby to wax lyrical on his opinions of the origin and etymology of the words and phrases included in SfSDfD. Be warned, the language is often infused with innuendo and gets a bit industrial at times; and it has been toned down apparently!

Much darting idiom is based around Cockney rhyming slang which is covered in detail by a well qualified Bobby. And if you’ve ever wondered what a ‘log end’ or ‘goon box’ is, it’s all here. The puzzling affliction of ‘Dartitis’ is covered, there’s a great little section on exhibitions (good to see Bobby’s right hand man, Little Richard Ashdown getting some column inches), and Welsh left-hander, Mark Webster, might be interested to learn that his nickname of ‘Webby’ means illegally toeing over the oche line.

I played a friend the other day and when I lost the first leg I asked “mugs away?” and he stared blankly at me. Happily the phrase is included here and I can now prove I didn’t invent it on the spot.

There are some tenuous and rather dubious terms included, and there are some that still remain unexplained (even after painstaking research) but are included nonetheless. An addendum at the back includes a number of terms that arrived too late for initial inclusion, and there is an invite for readers to send in any that have been missed for inclusion in future revisions. I did think of a few and have elaborated below on those that I will be forwarding to Messrs George & Chaplin.

If you’re wondering where SfSDfD would sit on your bookshelf (is it sport? is it comedy? is it reference?), might I suggest it is something to leave next to the lav to delve into when you’re having a ‘Dinky Doo’. It’s the perfect toilet book and I mean that in a good way.

The scope of the compendium is impressive and the information attached to each term is substantial, although one or two could do with better explanation (‘shanghai’ and ‘bogey number’ for example). The phrases are sensibly listed in alphabetical order so you can easily navigate your way around.

All in all I’d say this is a good read for darts fans but probably not for people new to, or ignorant of, the game. If you don’t know Bobby I can imagine you might not get, nor appreciate, much of the banter. But it is obvious the tome is aimed fairly and squarely at those people for whom a ‘beanz feast’ is something they not only understand but would be very proud of achieving.

DartsMad Lee’s Additional Darting Lingo

I would be delighted to see any of these phrases make it into Bobby’s Lingo List. I have picked them up over my years of playing around Lancashire and Cheshire pubs and they have entered into my own darts language.

One in the Ax

Statement made when a dart falls from the board onto the floor. Axminster is a renowned manufacturer of quality carpets and to be honest you are hardly likely to find yourself walking up and down an oche made of finest Axminster, which gives this phrase its comedy element. Distant cousin to ‘Sloppy sailor’.

Shit. Cack. Redeemer!

These are the words that follow each score in a three dart combination such as the following:

Your first dart hits the single one. Shit. Your next throw is a dart in single five. Cack. You follow this up with an arrow in the treble twenty. Redeemer!

All the gear, no idea

Can be used in any sport where you have to purchase equipment to compete (golf in particular).

You know the kind of person – they turn up with the latest Unicorn signature darts that have cost them a small fortune. They’re housed in a nice shiny case chock full of spare flights and assorted equipment.

This person then proceeds to throw a bag o’ nails at the board and can’t get onto the reserve list of their local pub team.

They are the darting equivalent of the occasional snooker player who has a magnetic chalk holder attached to their belt. In other words, a prat.

Couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo

Attributed to somebody who is not very good at darts.

Arrers

Bobby includes ‘Arrows’ in his lingo but not the northern (mis)spelling and pronunciation of ‘arrers’; usually exclaimed by an opponent or spectator following a good visit to the board.

Byoooworr!

A conjoining of two statements that needs a scenario to explain.

You have 100 left. You hit single 20 and decide to go for two double tops, a risky (and cocky) outshot. You hit the first double top and the second looks like it has gone it but is slightly obscured. It isn’t in, it’s bent the wire.

From behind you hear a spectator begin to shout “beautiful darts” before they realise the third darts hasn’t found its’ target. “Beautiful darts” turns into “awww unlucky” half way through and ends up as “byoooworrr”.

Therefore a ‘byoooworr’ is a nearly-but-not-quite-great shot.

Top Bollocks

Double top. From the northern saying of “she’s got a great pair of top bollocks” which means a well endowed female.

Flukey Treb / Flukey Dub

When playing tactics up north you have to knock off three doubles and three trebles as well as the numbers and the bull.

Landing a fortunate dart in a double or treble that you were not aiming for will draw a groan from your opponent and is known as a ‘flukey treb’ or ‘flukey dub’. Once you have hit three it’s ‘trebs off’ or ‘dubs off’.

These flukes can often be the difference between winning and losing in tactics.

Flechette

The French name for darts, translated as ‘little arrow’.

Whilst holiday in Crete a couple of years ago the French animation team wandered around the pool one day shouting “flechette!” I had no idea what they were saying until I noticed the dartboard being erected by the pool. Needless to say I promptly entered the competition and beat a rag tag collection of European men and women in swimsuits to the title and first prize of a bottle of rum!

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