Just in case you haven’t noticed it’s the Glorious Twelfth this month. Not so glorious if you are a real Grouse (the only one I’ve seen lately is on a whiskey bottle label – Famous Grouse!) because August 12th is the day that the landed gentry (the posh folk) start shooting them (the Grouse that is!) for a bit of ‘sport’!
I’ve met some grouses – as in miserable moaning gits) in my time but shooting birds (feathered ones) is not for me.......but show me a rabbit and you can hand me a rifle!
Talking about posh folk, me and Marie met a few at the wedding of Ray Stubbs and his lovely new wife Kay.
It was a really posh affair and very, very enjoyable with lots of booze (free) and the opportunity to meet loads of people – especially from the BBC TV sports department and satellite giants ESPN, who Ray now works for.
I was at the bar drinking and chatting with loads of famous faces, including Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson from ‘Match Of The Day’, Garth Crooks from ‘Final Score’ and one of the old guv’nors of BBC Sport, Brian Barwick. What a career that man has! As well as head of BBC Sport, he was Controller of ITV Sport and before that chief executive of the FA. The stories he could tell (but didn’t!).
I don’t mind telling you that we had a great crack!
Ray and Kay got married in Chiswick House, a beautiful 17th Century mansion once owned by the Earl Burlington (see photo of the happy couple). Talk about posh! The gardens have just been done up for a cool £12 million quid! It’s in a very busy part of Chiswick in West London, virtually next door to the ESPN studios from where Ray presents football and the headquarters of IMG Sports Media who produce BDO darts on BBC.
They are a wonderful couple who even have rhyming names and they couldn’t have ordered better weather for their big day. Me and Marie, who don’t have rhyming names, were delighted to be invited to share their big day.
Two of the highlights for me were when Ray’s mom came over and said: ‘I like you Bobby, because only you and me call Ray by his ‘proper’ name Raymond. And then later in Ray’s speech when he was getting all lovey-dovey about Kay, he looked at me and said: ‘I bet Bobby’s standing there thinking ‘Shut up you Big Tart!’
Do you know, he must be a mind reader, because he was right!
Now I have to disappoint all those who might have thought me and Raymond were about to renew our partnership as darts presenters at this year’s Winmau World Masters. It just isn’t going to happen!
Ray is an ESPN man nowadays. He will present the World Masters in September and I wish him every success. It will be great for him to be back with BDO darts and I know he’s looking forward to it.
Me? I will wait for the Lakeside World Pro next January, when once again I will be teaming up with Colin Murray on the most famous stage in darts. Can’t wait!
Going back to the subject of poshness, I have just done a TV pilot for a new BBC-2 series on the subject of ‘Class’ (that’s what it’s called) and the title of my programme is ‘Arts & Darts’ (thinking back to what Ray said, it could have been ‘Tarts & Darts’.
Anyway, it’s one for the luvvies really. Let’s face it, class went out with the Victorians (at least the well-off ones) and their big houses, servants and values.
They showed off their class with fancy clothes and chandeliers. In those days money went a long way if you had any. What a difference to today when footballers have all the money in the world, but no class to go with it!
To me, class is all about personality and character in today’s society. There isn’t such a great divide as there used to be, but let’s not over-analyse or I’ll have to change my name to Freud!
The TV series will be shown in September and hosted by Dara O’Briain, the new Irish darling of TV. He’s the host of ‘Mock Of The Week’ and does a great job in ‘You’re Fired’ the show that follows BBC’s hit series ‘The Apprentice’.
He’s a funny man, and so is Micky Flanagan (see photo) a young London comic who tries to compare the arts with darts in the programme! First of all he visited a London art gallery and then later in the evening he came to the Porter’s Lodge Pub in the City of London to meet me and play some darts.....and he couldn’t have got any lower, because this wonderful pub is actually underground with a bar in the basement!
It’s near The Monument and anyone who fancies playing darts in the heart of the City of London should go there. It is an amazing place and has alcoves in which each has a dartboard. It’s like playing in a vault and very atmospheric......I expected The Count to shoot up any minute and bite me on the neck!
Micky played with a member of the pub’s darts team, a very talented and up-and-coming player named Gina Casey and I was lumbered with the landlady! Story of my life really!! Seriously, she was also a smasher, but I don’t want to give too much away. You will have to watch the show on BBC-2 in September.
So what else has been happening in my life during the last month.......
Well, I’ve finished painting the outside of George Hall at last! Trouble is, it’s a bit like the Forth Bridge – once you’ve finished then you have to start all over again (ask Marie, she’ll tell you!).
I did my first book signing with The Professor, Patrick Chaplin (see photo) and it was so successful that I have since done six up and down the country.
I’ve also done over 25 regional radio interviews doing what I enjoy most of all – talking about myself! Marie disagrees with that. She says I talk to myself! I counter that by saying that I’m the only one I can have a sensible conversation with!
Now I’ve put away the paintbrush and am getting ready for a series of after-dinner speaking, which I call ‘After Dinner Spewing With Bobby’.