Column #278 My Friend the Doctor
December 15, 2006
My Friend the Doctor
For several years now, pretty much since the day I learned he existed, I have been corresponding with the so-called “Doctor of Darts” – Patrick Chaplin. Despite a handful of failed attempts to get together, Patrick and I have not met, or even spoken. Yet thanks to a shared love for the sport and the convenience and power of e-mail we have become good friends.
We regularly pass questions back and forth. For instance, it was from Patrick that I learned the origin of Tommy Cox’s last name. Once, Patrick e-mailed me a technical question about cricket. I told him they chirped. So we help each other a lot.
Over the years Patrick has literally built my darts library. It is said that one can’t write if one doesn’t read. So, well, obviously I haven’t read the many books Patrick has sent me. Forgive me Patrick. Next time send me something with some Double Out shots!
In turn, I have helped Patrick build his collection of 1960’s psychedelic CDs. If you can’t chill you can’t possibly dream up ideas like the one for which Patrick has become famous. Without a doubt, he has been listening to a whole lot of the Electric Prunes, Iron Butterfly and Cream.
Seriously, how else might someone conjure the “inspiration” to write a doctoral dissertation on the social history of darts in England?
This is just plain, like, far out, man.
But Patrick did! After a decade of research and more than a fair bit of ribbing, he has just been awarded his PhD by the Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. And despite the rumours, the university did not immediately have its accreditation withdrawn.
The Doctor of Darts is now really a Doctor of Darts! And soon his efforts will appear between the pages of a couple of books that are certain to be great reading for anyone involved, at any level, in the sport of darts.
So, if you are not already familiar with Patrick Chaplin and his fascinating website take a moment and click to http://www.patrickchaplin.com and also read the press release below.
Then join me in congratulating the Doctor on becoming a Doctor.
From the Field,
PRESS RELEASE – “DOCTOR OF DARTS”
There can be no happier man this side of the oche today than Patrick Chaplin, of Maldon, Essex.
After ten years of self-funded, intensive, part-time postgraduate research, Patrick has been awarded a PhD by the Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge – the title of his dissertation being ‘DARTS IN ENGLAND 1900-1939 – A SOCIAL HISTORY’.
Patrick’s unique thesis focuses mainly on the period 1918 to 1939 and reveals the forces that transformed the humble traditional English pub game of darts into a social phenomenon during the interwar years, forces that laid the foundations for the international sport that we all recognise today.
Patrick said, “After ten years intensive research, I am thrilled to have gained my doctorate and made a significant contribution to the study of interwar popular culture.” Patrick’s work has been described as ‘among the eminent works of pioneering scholarship in the academic history of twentieth-century leisure and sport.’ Patrick added, “I also chuffed to bits that I have begun to establish the true heritage of the sport of darts.”
Patrick added, “My study of darts began as a hobby but developed into an obsession. Eventually I knew that I could make a positive contribution to the study of English popular culture by researching the social history of darts. I approached the Anglia Ruskin University with my outline plan. This, thankfully, was accepted, and I then embarked on my journey towards a PhD.”
In the past, Patrick has been described as ‘eccentric’ by one national newspaper, ‘an arrers nut’ by another and ‘Doctor Darts’ by others. Indeed, when he began his studies, he was featured on local and national TV and radio and in local and national newspapers, most of who felt that his subject was, to say the least, a little ‘quirky’. Patrick even made Page 3 of a certain national tabloid!
All such publicity spurred Patrick on and though the going has been extremely tough over the past few years, his journey is now at an end – at least as far as the social history of darts is concerned up to 1939.
“There’s still much more to be done,” said Patrick. “My examiners recommended that my thesis be published, so I’ve approached a few academic publishers. I have also been asked to write a guide to darts by a publishing company in New York and am planning to write a ‘People’s History of Darts’, the first full history of the sport.”
Patrick – now the real ‘Doctor Darts’ – works as a freelance writer and lives in Maldon, Essex with his wife Maureen and their cat Angel. His TV appearances include being the ‘mysterious Doctor Darts’ on BBC TV coverage of the Lakeside World Darts Championships and his writing credits include being co-author of three-time world darts champion John Lowe’s autobiography, Old Stoneface published by John Blake in 2005.
MEDIA CONTACT: Patrick Chaplin
(H) 01621 856040
(M) 07801 130 528
Darts History Website: www.patrickchaplin.com
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