They ruined darts. I used to love watching the World Championship in the 1980s. Jockey Wilson drinking a million pints, Keith Dellar’s 138 checkout to win in 1983 after Eric Bristow played safe, Bullseye, and Sid Waddall’s single greatest bit of commentary ever: “When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer. Bristow’s only 27!”
But then in the 1990s, a fat bloke fell out with another fat bloke over a packet of pork scratchings, and we ended up with more than one world champ. A bit like boxing, which is – let’s face it – complete rubbish these days as well.
So it doesn’t exactly fill me with joy to discover there are two beer festivals this weekend: the traditional one, now in its 12th year, and a new one run by upstarts who thought they could hijack the former’s media space.
And they succeeded! I had a wedding over the weekend and came back to discover the wrong festival’s been written about!
Still, there’s some decent mileage in this rivalry and hopefully we’ll be able to do it some justice over the summer, but in the meantime here’s a taster. The upstarts, Mikkeller bar in Vesterbro who sniffily declined to give me a photo for some free advertising for an event that has admittedly already sold out, on Wednesday posted the following message on their Facebook page: “Not among the ten to travel for on Danske Ølentusiaster’s new list, but Top 50 bars in the World according to the Sunday Times. Hell yeah!”
So their enemy is the country’s beer enthusiasts: Denmark’s CAMRA. How times change as it was only recently that the Danske Ølentusiaster were the upstarts.
“There’s more to Danish beer than Carlsberg,” Steffen Kay Ejlertsen, the deputy chairman of their Østerbro branch, told me in 2007. “We got fed up with the monolopy of Carlsberg who for too long had been deciding what we needed to drink. This is a beer revolution.” Echoes of Russia 1917 anyone?
Failing that, you probably have the physique to take up darts – just be warned, being world champ ain’t what it used to be.