Column #629 The Old Dart Coach, perfect darts and a poodle named Pierre
Monday, September 11, 2023
The Old Dart Coach, perfect darts and a poodle named Pierre
Remarkably, amidst the usual gibberish posted at the Darts Discussion Group no one yet has related the story of the man who threw perfect darts.
Nigel Brown hailed from Hawkshead in the UK’s beautiful Lake District. He wasn’t a tournament competitor but was well known countrywide in the 1940s (around the same time as Jim Pike). Brown made frequent appearances at exhibitions and was renowned for his uncanny, almost savant-like, ability to hit the bullseye (this was long before machine darts manufacturers invented a bull as big as a bus).
Never did he miss.
One day he was recognized in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. A man named Mateo Garcia asked him to do an exhibition. Brown respectfully declined. “I’m on holiday with friends,” he explained. But Garcia persisted, offered a tidy sum and Brown acquiesced. They agreed to meet that evening at a pub called Pub-Tenerife (today quite famous in part due to Brown’s once having visited).
As the story goes, the evening was extraordinario. For an hour or more Brown pounded the bullseye at will, mostly red. 20 bulls. 50. 200! Never a miss. Perfección!
One of Brown’s darts with their red, white and blue Union Jack flights deflected and landed just a smidgen outside the green bit, landing slightly left in the 12 (hugging the wire). For a moment, the large crowd was uncertain if it was a miss, but it was. A hush, then murmurs and then chaos ensued as Brown yanked the errant dart from the board and erupted in anger.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” Brown screamed as he slammed through the crowd and exited the pub.
“Fuck this! Fuck Spain! Fuck darts!” he exclaimed over and over from the pavement outside.
Then, as dozens of stunned patrons watched, with all his might he threw the dart that missed into the sky and stormed off.
While it may be said that “what goes up must come down” this red, white and blue flighted dart never did. Maybe it stuck in a tree. Weird, but apparently true. From that day forward Nigel Brown was never seen in public again. Only his reputation lives on. Check dart historian Patrick Chaplin’s website.
One of the people who observed this event (and who related it to me) was the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed. “The Brits can be a bit nuts sometimes,” he said. “So can the French.”
He then told me about his flight back to the States. Remember, this was in the late 1940s and smoking was still allowed on planes. Dogs too if they were small. And behaved.
“I was in a two-seat row by the window. Seated next to me was this French lady holding a little dog named Pierre. We were cruising the clouds somewhere over the Atlantic and I lit up.”
The dog began to cough.
“S’il vous plait, Monsieur. Could you put out your cigar? It’s choking ma petite Pierre.”
The lady was quite attractive so those of you who know Howie will not be surprised at his response. “Are you married? Have you heard of the Mile-High Club?”
The pretty lady responded, “How should I say? If you don’t extinguish your cigar, I must throw it out zee window.”
And of course, Howie shot back, “Mademoiselle, be forewarned, should you touch my cigar – and I’m not talking that cigar, although I do encourage you – I will grab your mutt by the throat and toss him into the clouds.” For emphasis, “I blew a puff straight into the dog’s face.”
What ensued is exactly what you might imagine!
The lady (it turned out her name was Monique Dubois) grabbed Howie’s stogie (“a fucking Montecristo!”) and threw it out the window. In a flash, Howie kept his promise and sent Pierre right behind it.
“It was crazy,” Howie said. “Air was rushing in, or maybe it was out, the window. Papers were flying about. Momentarily, the plane became unsteady. Drinks spilled. Stewardesses appeared from nowhere. Passengers were yelling.”
“Monique was screaming. She cried. She was inconsolable, weeping non-stop for the remainder of the flight.” As Howie remembers it, “Well, I did get to hug her a lot and but that’s all I got.”
As they deplaned at McCarran airport in Las Vegas, Howie’s hometown, Howie graciously helped steady Monique as they walked together down the steps of the plane, continuing to apologize and console her.
And that’s when it caught their eye!
Suddenly, Monique began to leap for joy, smothering Howie with kisses. “Je te pardonne! Je te pardonne! I forgive you! I forgive you!”
On the tail of the plane, hanging on for dear life, was Pierre!
And can you believe it? In his mouth he was holding Nigel Brown’s dart!
From the Field,
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