Saturday, 18 April 2015

On the World Championship's Eve ...

Is that time of the year again and I'm buzzing with excitement as the 2015 World Championship edition is about to kick off in a few hours’ time.

Everything is put in its place, the tables are set, the draw has been published (with the additional drama), the tickets are sold out (or few remain), the BBC setting in the Winter Gardens is ready, the players are enjoying their last hours of liberty and ... here we go with the Crucible madness!

It feels like Christmas time and I dare day it is, at least in the world of snooker, so excuse me while I check that everyone's cue cases are clean and neat in order to receive a well-deserved present from Barry "Father Christmas" Hearn.

Jokes aside, this is the most thrilling event of the entire calendar and as much as we like to fool around the point our fingers and this and that, criticize certain people or laugh at certain decisions, I think I speak for the main majority when I say our snooker-devoured hearts skip a beat when the Worlds Championship "are coming to town".

For 17 days we shall witness LIVE, or in the comfort of our homes or pubs the "history in the making". 32 players will cross their cues and give their best in order to pave their path to grab the Holy Grail.

The path is difficult and no many have prevailed the test of the Crucible, but those who did have lived to tell the story.

Of course that this year, the plot thickens by the evergreen "Crucible curse" so not only does Mark Selby have to put out with the pressure of defending his title, but he also has to do with the fact that none first-time Crucible champion defended his title.

To be quite honest, I like the fact that not many people fancy the fact that he's going to break the curse. That way, when it happens all will be in awe of him. 

Just joking, I don’t have any super powers to see into the future and I also don't care about any curse. I do however, care about snooker and that's all I'm going to say and ... write about during the following days.

So, here's how it's going to be:

Mark Selby v. Kurt Maflin
Marco Fu v. Jimmy Robertson

Stephen Maguire v. Anthony McGill
John Higgins v. Robert Milkins

Mark Selby v. Kurt Maflin
Ricky Walden v. Graeme Dott

 *all hours are UK time

Cue the action! 

P.S. This year returns as the main sponsor, so a big hurrah! is in order here. 

Friday, 17 April 2015

Interesting: My Autobiography by Steve Davis - a book review (sort of)

Finally, the glorious moment of holding Steve Davis' autobiographic book in my hands, has arrived! I have been waiting for this day since I started the blog almost five years ago. 

I know, not a long time comparing with other snooker fans or bloggers, but what can I do? The snooker virus took its time into revealing its true intentions in what concerns me.

So, April 9th 2015 and Steve Davis' autobiography "Interesting: My Autobiography" is released. Needless to say that I bought the Kindle edition because basically I'm broke. 

Still, I think it's nice that I probably saved a tree (yay me!) and also, let's face it: the amount of time for this book to come all the way from the UK into this God-forgotten country of mine would have seen the 2015 World Championship end. That's totally unacceptable!

But back to this much-awaited and much-devoured book. I loved it! There's your book review. Now go buy yourself a copy and get inspired.

OK, so maybe I will write just a few more lines. 

First of all you should know that if you intend to squeeze and obtain any juicy details about Steve Davis' personal life from this book, then you are in for a big disappointment because the book is all about snooker.

I believe there are only three occasions in the book where he mentions that he had a girlfriend, then a few pages pass until you find out that all of the sudden that he's married, then his children are born and ta-taaaaaa! That's it.

In all seriousness the man has an amazing collection of trophies, practised for 6 or 8 hours a day and dominated the 80s snooker scene, so what private life? Or to quote the Dowager Countess of Grantham from Downton Abbey "What's a weekend?"

So snooker related, this book is not just a genuine and honest story of a man/player that made the entire world kneel down at his feet, but also a kind of manual for those who want to have a taste of what was like to play snooker in the golden days of the 80s, struggle through the 90s and re-calibrate your energy, hopes and dreams in the 2000s. Also, it's quite funny!

Steve invites you for a walk down memory lane and exposes his feeling of vulnerability as well as those of superiority that made him have one of the most illustrious snooker careers in the history of this crazy and colourful cue sport.

How am I suppose to get an autograph on this?
From the moment that his father put Joe Davis' book in his hands, to the minute he met "The Governor" Barry Hearn, or from starring in the Pot Black series, to recording his first 147 in front of his father (who was also his coach), at Plumstead Common just a few days before his 20th birthday, Steve tells you the story in a way that you swear he's kidnap you in Dr Who's Tardis and you are back in time witnessing his every memory.

You are invited to find out that the greatest friendship (and also management relationship) of all times got official when Barry offered Davis (as he calls him) to sign a professional contract with him by leaning on a lamp post in NW of England, or that the miss rule wasn't what it is today.

The book also reveals Davis' greatest moments of glory, but also those of excruciating defeats, the turmoil of emotions, feelings and nerves, the mistakes, the fame, the titles, the fall, the crowns, the boos, the tags, the nicknames, the superstitions and so on, in a manner that catches your attention without any effort.

To hell with it, you don't even have to be a fan of the Nugget (me being one) to enjoy this book! It's a classic case of sports person autobiography combined with advices and views that can make you think twice about the way to see this sport.

It's the story of a lucky person, as he himself admitted, that felt in love with snooker and made it his career, but also the untold story of what playing snooker is all about, about coping with not being into the limelight, of having new priorities, of losing your touch, regaining it and setting new goals.

I'm a huge fan of autobiographies and biographies and I must say, putting aside the fact that I do have a soft spot for this six-time world champion, that this book is a must-read. Not just for a snooker fan, but also for those interested in sports, or just a good book. 

From my point of view is something like general knowledge. The man is a walking snooker encyclopaedia and a real gifted story-teller/writer (I don't know if he had a ghost-writer or not) which makes the book a real page-turner ... or a real-swipe-action-or-whatever-you-call-the-process-of-reading-a-book-on-a-kindle in my case!

OK, so a "few more lines" turned out to be quite a lot, so I will stop now by just adding this: the book totally lives up to its title.

Enjoy reading it and don't be shy in sharing your personal impressions in the comment section below.

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