I grew up around pubs and the like, and so I grew up playing pool. Now that doesn't mean I'm any good at it, just that I enjoy it. It takes me about three games to get my eye in and start playing like someone who has seen a pool table before.
I remember watching my dad as he slowly got more and more pissed, and his pool playing slowly improved. He was good, not great, but good. The fact that he got better as he got more drunk wasn't that unusual. Plenty of other blokes did the same thing. Though now I think about it, it was mainly something I noticed with the older guys.
I love the art and challenge to the game. The delicate interplay of angles, cause and effect, the way holding your cue can make or break a shot. There's nothing like pulling off a difficult shot. And sometimes it's the simplest shots that are the easiest to muck up. You send the ball towards a pocket, it's simple, straight forward, and yet somehow you've buggered the shot!
But the background I grew up in, the main point of pool is social. You rib and tease each other when you mess-up a shot, you acknowledge or cheer a good shot. You talk while doing all this, make plans, discuss things, slag people off. Occasionally you goose someone as they go to take their shot, or visually distract them. But not too much, of course.
I don't mind people who want to concentrate and play well, but when they let that get in the way of the fun, I just lose interest and want the game to be over as soon as possible. There's a difference between big-noting or complaining about how you're playing, and doing it seriously. If that's what matters, they've missed the point, and I don't want to play with them.
Of course in Aussie pool, if you don't pot a ball you're meant to run around the table with your strides down. I've come close, but always managed to get at least one ball in the pocket. And that's about as serious as I like my games, when all that's on the line is, will you have to drop your dacks? The crowds I grew up around, if you didn't, you got ribbed about it and took the teasing. If you dropped your dacks and ran around the table, you still got ribbed amd teased, but you were a legend and a good sport.
Mitch has the best attitude to playing pool I know of. It's not about how many balls you do or don't pot, or how many games you win or lose, it's about who gets in the best line of the night.
All games should be played that way.
This year, it is highly unlikely that I will get to be Father Christmas.
This sucks serious bum-hole.
I'm not going to dwell on it for too long, but it does annoy me. My physical condition is too unreliable. I can't simply rest before a gig, because that doesn't appear to make any difference. Either I'll be ok-ish, or I won't. But if a gig wipes me out, like last year when I was sat in full sun at Melbourne Zoo for several hours, it's unlikely I'd even be able to get home, let alone do another gig for several days.
And if I am struggling, I don't want the kids seeing Santa, barely able to walk, getting along on his walking stick. Or worse, actually falling over.
That said, I may make a trip down to Melbourne near Christmas, so I can Santa for Skyler and Damon again. Depends on how I'm going, and whether I can colour my beard effectively. I'm not shaving it for one gig.
But in all liklihood, no Santa-Dan this year.