Snookerbacker

November 27, 2011

Answers on a Postcard: Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:28 pm

Regular readers will be aware of the irregular interview feature ‘Answers on a Postcard’ where I get to grill top stars of the green baize on the issues that really matter to the fans. None of this ‘how are you playing’ or ‘what are your hopes for the season’ rubbish. On here, we cut to the chase. 

Victims, I mean, interviewees of AOAP so far have included Matthew Stevens, Neal Foulds, Marcus Campbell, Mark King and Stuart Bingham. This time it’s the turn of the legend and A real ermm, OAP, Steve Davis who has one or two things he’d like to bring out into the open.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed it.

So Sir Steve the Legend or shall I call you Nugget? I think I need to start this interview by getting some things off my chest, well two things really which have been bugging me since 1984. Firstly, when you beat Jimmy in the World Final you made me run up to my bedroom crying and secondly, when I partnered you as a junior on the telly just after this, you missed an easy black which would probably have won us the match against Dominic/Christopher Dale and Dennis/Spekky Taylor, what have you got to say for yourself?

Firstly, let’s keep it relaxed, but in perspective SB. I think “Sir Steve” is best for both of us.

On the subject of crying when someone else loses, I’ve never quite understood this. Personally, what I like to see is more people losing. It makes me feel good and also increases the chances that I might be winning. OK, I suppose I can understand that during your formative snookerbacker junior years, you may have not understood the maths involved in this concept, but it would appear that you have taken this ‘soft streak’ into your adult life with you. It sounds to me like you are now one of life’s losers due to this baggage and it can all be traced down to an emotional tie to the Whirlwind. Perhaps at birth there was a picture of him on the wall in the maternity ward? He was pretty prolific during the 80’s.

As far as the claim that I missed an easy black in that doubles match … I think you’ll find that during my heyday I never missed anything.

Ok Nugget, I’m glad that’s out of the way so now let’s play one of my favourite games, Dragons Den. Now Steviebaby, I know that you are loaded and I am very creative so I think in the words of the Pet Shop Boys we should ‘make lots of money’. I have an idea that has been 18-20.5 months in the making and I am looking for £25,000 for a 10% share of the business. It’s called the ‘Steve Davis Doughnut©’ and I have a provisional order from a Mr Lee from Trowbridge, are you in or out?

Sounds.… Interesting. But I’ll need more info please?

OK, I’ve got your interest. Part, well all, of my marketing plan is to get you to product place a ‘Steve Davis Doughnut©’ when you are on telly, we’d sell stacks I reckon, so what d’ya say?

Obviously this is something I can do in my position. Perhaps in the studio I can see this being a winner although it may be best to have plastic ones when JP is there. It may be good at the table during matches too as I spend a fair bit of time in my chair these days so I could also product place them into my mouth, however I can see a potential problem with sticky balls arising.

That’s a good point, I’ll give it some thought. While I do though I’m going to press you for the investment. Now I know some people think it’s wrong to market directly to kids but I reckon this ‘Join the Steve Davis Doughnut© Dots’ puzzle (see left and click on it to make it bigger) will get them eating Steve Davis Doughnuts© from a very early age, which will make us a fortune as they have an additive in them that is addictive. This has to be a winner? Are you in?

Provisionally count me in! I think we should also get a few more “hero’s to the young” onboard. Especially in the suburbs of England i.e. Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Names that are coming into my head are Eugene Hughes, Doug Mountjoy and Graeme Dott. The Scottish version could be a runner with the “Join the Graeme Dott’s Puzzle?”

Now you’re talking Steve, I think we’re in business.

Talking of ‘bizznizz’ you and Bazza are good pals aren’t you? You’ve made him a packet so I’m not surprised he’s mates with you. If I managed someone that made me loads of dosh I’d pretend to like them too. So come on, now you know he doesn’t really like you give us some dirt on Bazza as an exclusive.

I’ve never really looked at it this way. Although I must admit that I was slightly puzzled to find someone in Romford who said they liked Gingers. The main reason I became so good at snooker was because I wasn’t allowed into Hollywood’s in Romford. Apparently women under the age of 60 don’t like people with Ginger hair. Then they buy bottles of it.

Anyway, I think you may have a point here as I have noticed that he has openly started criticising me in public without my permission, mainly by saying that I am actually boring and not as interesting as most people had previously thought.

At first I thought this was an attempt to get me more noticed and to kick start my career again with a potentially lucrative deal on In the Jungle or Strictly. But the more I thought about it I started to realise that actually he should be saying that I am more interesting than people actually thought and not mention anything about the boring bit. I think sometimes he does open his big fucking mouth before he’s put his brain into gear.

Don’t get me wrong. He gets me work and also now that he runs snooker I get a few perks, like next year’s Premier League spot (for runner-up in the Seniors) and a wildcard to the German Masters (due to the passing of my Great Great Grandmother Helga from Frankfurt bless her!)

He thinks he’s The Dog’s just because his hobby is his fishing pond (he calls it a lake) and he has electronically chipped/tagged all the fish in it and given them names, so that when he catches one he can jot it down in a book and see how much weight it has put on.

He’s dropped me like a hot potato now that I’ve temporarily slipped outside the top 44 but I’ll have the last laugh because Mark King’s dad Bill knows a man who sells Pike cheap in Romford Market.

Knowles: Stud.

OK, I suppose I’d better ask you a snooker question as sometimes some of the anoraks that read this blog want that kind of stuff. So what are the three things that you would do to make snooker as big as it was in the 80’s? And you can’t say bring back Tony Knowles.

It’s no secret that snooker had its heyday in the 80’s when I was easily the best player. You’ve only got to look at your own question to see that. If you have noticed this then there are probably tens of other people who have also noticed that snooker has hit rock bottom. It’s also no secret that all tournaments back in the 80’s had an abundance of daffodils around the table. I think you can see where I’m going with this. I can’t remember the last time I played a match with any type of foliage around the table. I can’t believe Barry Hearn hasn’t cottoned on to this! Well fuck him! See if I care!!

I also think that the BBC are missing a trick by not bringing Ted Lowe back into the commentary box. His dulcet tones were the reason so many young girls used to tune in on a Tuesday night to Pot Black back in the Late 70’s. Sadly though, the powers that be now in the BBC are increasingly being criticised for ageism and I think that this is another glaring example of that at work.

Thirdly SB if I may, a new idea from me. I really think that certain players should not have to play so many rounds in order to win, or at least be in the Final of events. Perhaps Hearn could look at the ranking list and pick a couple of random players out randomly, maybe using a tombola or something like that, the players picked could then be seeded through to the latter stages. Obviously this would have to be trialed at an event before it was brought in permanently. So I was thinking that perhaps for next season’s UK Championships for instance that Jimmy and I could be seeded through to…say the Final…and see how it goes? It would have to be a big money event so as we could see how popular it is with the viewers. Also, another bonus for viewers is that the event wouldn’t drag on so long so the BBC could show some better programmes like Daily Strictly, Cash in the Attic and an extended Eastenders omnibus.

I know that there may be some resistance to this from some of the other players as it would impact on their ranking points but if the loser only got half points (which would reflect only getting half the total prize money of the winner) then I think that we might squeeze it through. Some of the players need to be a little less selfish and stop thinking about themselves so much, like me.

Now I heard a rumour that you fancy yourself as a bit of a DJ. My mum will be having a birthday party soon at our local social club, there will be a free buffet and she really likes you. So will you come and spin the discs for us? But I don’t think she’ll like that electronic funeral music you play so can you stick to Status Quo and Abba and things like that?

I’m contracted by Phoenixfm.com to play Avant Prog music every Monday evening from 10-12 midnight. This is mainly due to the fact that we go off air at midnight and the station controller decided that if we had rubbish music on in the 2 hour slot people would naturally turn off instead of being presented with the shock of nothing at 12 and then clogging up the phone lines complaining about the signal. I personally hate the music that I’m paid to play and it would be a pleasure to once again trawl through my Shawaddywaddy 12” collection.

When I was young I bought your book ‘How to be Really Interesting’ I followed it to the letter and was bullied at school as a result. So how come you get away with it?

I think you missed the point of my book “How to be Really Interesting”. It wasn’t really a tuitional book, it was more a “lifestyle” approach. Just blindly trying to copy what I did (and still do to this day) wasn’t really going to help very much. You had to live the life! You had to REALLY be interesting. The book wasn’t really about How to be Really Interesting but rather about the concept of how to be really interesting. It really is a subtle difference that I’m sure in reality was missed by many a school bully and their prey. Sorry about that.

Mrs Snookerbacker is a bit confused Steve, I said that you were tall but she says she doesn’t think you are. Are you tall? If you are we need to adjust our TV set.

I think Mrs SB might be right but in truth I’m not sure either. Recently I have been noticing that I have been shorter than I used to be. I mentioned this to my Doctor who mumbled something about less fluid in joints and a crumbling back bone but then I went round Hearn’s house and he still has Cathode Ray Tube TV’s and I noticed when I was watching a re-run (in full) of my 2nd round match in the 2010 World Championship that I appeared a lot taller than I was in my recent demolition of Dene O’Kane in the World Seniors.

On a related note and while you have got me on the subject, I have also noticed that many players have been getting wider in recent events. At first I mistakenly put this down to gluttony but I think the real culprit is the 16:9 format. It’s not doing anyone any favours. At worst it’s making more of the top 32 fall into the obesity bracket and at best it’s making me and Zhang Anda a lot shorter and beginning to look the same height, which I think I know for a fact we’re not.

I think we’ll adjust the TV then. Hey, have you seen my tournament? The Snookerbacker Classic? What do you think of it? Great isn’t it? You’d better say something nice Steve as I’ll be putting it on next year’s poster next to Bazza’s quote.

I think it’s a great idea, to have a snooker tournament at grass roots level. Holding it in snooker clubs is another great idea. Most of our events on TV are not full time snooker clubs. The Crucible is actually a place where they have pantomimes during the Xmas period and Ally Pally is really a darts pub. Because of this we actually have to physically put the tables into these places as there aren’t any tables in there as they would basically get in the way of the actors and bar stewards. So the idea of actually having the event where there are actual tables already there is actually a great idea. Hearn could learn a lot from you SB with this idea and then plough the money saved right back to the grass roots level of the top pro’s.

Steve, we all want to know what did you do with the Lada car you won for making that 147 back in the 1950’s?

When things started to go wrong for me in the 90’s because Hearn had moved into Boxing, Golf, Darts, Fishing, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Poker, Porn Films, Ten Pin Bowling, Football, Pool etc. I fell on hard times. I had to sell up most of my Bus Ticket collection and most of my Baulkline and Snooker Scene collection was snapped up by those vultures, Dale and Roger Lees for a fraction of their worth. But one thing I wouldn’t part with was my Lada. No way. It had stopped working years ago but luckily I knew a jeweller in Romford Market. A friend of Bill King’s who said he could make things into rings and stuff. So I got the Lada made into a nice pendant which I wear during matches. It’s a bit on the chunky side but it guarantees that I don’t move my head on the shot.

You’ve won loads in your time but what do you do with your old trophies? Are there any you don’t want as I am after one with a bit of history for the Snookerbacker Classic winner? Come on Steve you must have stacks of them.

I’ll have a look in the attic and see if any are suitable although a lot of the early ones were just food hampers, which have probably gone off by now or Pontinental Holiday Vouchers which I gave to my dear Great Aunt Twice-Removed Helga from Dusseldorf. I’ll take a look, maybe I could go on Cash in the ‘Celebrity’ Attic with this? I’ll give Hearn a call.

Now that Alex Higgins is dead and can’t come round to your house and hit you, can you tell us what you really thought of him?

Well I think Alex Higgins was such an amazing character on and off the table that someone should write a book about it. Personally, I’d rather keep my thoughts to myself suffice to say that I was very jealous of the fact that he had a nickname and that I didn’t have one. I’d tried the ‘Plumstead Potter’ and the ‘Romford Robot’ but the commentators and MC’s didn’t come on board with them despite my best efforts and midnight, sometimes hour long phone calls, they said something about making them up themselves which I thought was a bit selfish of them. It was just a pure stroke of luck when Spitting Image gave me the ‘Interesting’ tag. From that moment on I felt I could stand up to Alex and not let him bully me on the table. I had a nickname too and it had more letters in it than his did.

Time for another serious question. You said last year in Sheffield that John Higgins was the best player of all time. I think that’s a load of old cobblers as Hendry, Ronnie and you (I suppose) are better than him, had you been drinking at the time?

Yes, a lot of people have commented on that statement last year at the Crucible after John had won the 2011 World Championship. The truth is that I hadn’t been drinking much. The real reason (SB can you leave this bit out as it will look a bit self indulgent to my many fans but I will tell you in confidence) is that as I had beaten him the previous year, I am the only person to have beaten him during the last two World Championships, which means that while I said that it was him that was the best of all time, what I actually cleverly inferred was that I am actually the best of all time and that he is the second best. Had I said that on air, it may have come over wrong and sounded like I was too full of myself etc.

Ahh, shrewd. I won’t let that one through. Steve, I feel we have bonded now but it’s nearly time to say goodbye. So will you wear something mustard coloured on the TV soon and give a plug to ‘Steve Davis Doughnuts©’?

All my logo deals (currently) go through Hearn (normal 25% me /75% him split) I’ll try and get him to give you a call about this SB although I’ve been told he’s moved recently and the Matchroom Offices told me that they can’t give out confidential information to just anybody. However, I’m following his mate Phil Taylor on Twitter so I’ve DM’d him in the hope he may have a mobile number or PO Box address, he hasn’t got back to me yet though but it’s only been a fortnight and I know he’s busy.

There would have to be one stipulation written in to the contract though. I’m not changing my nickname from “Interesting” to “Doughnut”.

Thank you Steve for this interview and for all the promises you have made to work with me on the Steve Davis Doughnut© and find a trophy for me. Now I think I will make another promise on your behalf seeing as you are feeling so generous.

So, if anyone wants to click onto the Steve Davis Doughnut© Join The Dots image above and join the dots, colour it in, do whatever you like to it and submit it to me at [email protected] before the end of the UK Championship I will ask the great man himself to judge your efforts, the more creative the better. You never know, if it’s really good it might even get on the telly. I will also try and steal some prizes for the best entries when I’m backstage in York, I am a Scouser after all.

Oh and Steve, tell Hearn to note the doughnut copyright, this one is going places.  

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