At last – I have found a tiny corner of Stockholm where they play proper pool. None of your rubbish rules where you can pick up the white ball and put it anywhere on the table that you want (shiver…) or where you can touch another colour ball before your own, or even that blasphemous European rule where you can…I can barely bring myself to say it…where you can move the white ball an inch out from the cushion if it ends up there!
No, all this nonsense is now just a faded memory, because O’ Connells Irish bar in Gamla Stan (the Old Town) has a proper, full-sized, small-pocket English table. It is also located in a moody stone dungeon, which is a plus for the aesthetes among us. And they have a list of rules on the wall displaying – thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster – the proper rules of pool (“proper” meaning, of course, the ones I grew up with).
However I think I am justified in calling them the “proper” rules as they treat the position of the balls as absolute. Wherever the balls stop, that’s how you play them, and all other rules respect this point. As it bloody well should be.
As well as this, O’ Connells must be the only Irish bar in Stockholm where, instead of Guinness, they serve Beamish. Beamish, for the squeamish Swedes among my readership, is basically the same thick, frothy, engine-oil substance as Guinness. And, of course, they even have Salt and Vinegar chips, a prerequisite for any Irish bar.
I played twice, and lost both times, but that didn’t matter as the game was conducted with the usual politeness and ceremony integral to games in pubs. Lots of nods and grunts and strange phrases uttered at the correct time with a brisk handshake at the end. And other pool traditions were also recognised, such as the one where, if playing against attractive women, you try to give them long shots so they lean over the table a lot. Hey, I didn’t invent it, I’m just reporting on it, that’s all.
Wow – I got through the whole article without a single pun about “balls” – I must be losing it…
And speaking of losing it: I am slated to host the Four Stone Hearth blog carnival here at Swedish Extravaganza on September 24.
This carnival concerns itself with archaeology and anthropology, be it socio-cultural, bio-physical or linguistic. If anybody has any articles in this area they would like to include (even other people’s articles or from online press), please comment here or send me a mail without a second’s hesitation! Because I really have no idea what I am doing…
The mail you will be needing is: mrPaddyK[a.t]gmail[d.o.t]com