Mordecai Richler’s “On Snooker” – Who’s the “Real Life Rocky” of the Green Baize?


Mordecai Richler’s Witty & Sarcastic Take on the World of Snooker…

Sarcasm personified: Mordecai Richler’s On Snooker


There aren’t too many snooker books that are written in the style of Mordecai Richler. His style is witty, sarcastic, and at times – patronizing. It’s one long rambling rant – organized into what seem like chapters.

If you didn’t know the man Mordecai, you would think he was taking the Michael out of the game’s “characters” when reading this book. Some say there are no characters in the game now. Well, that may or may not be the case, but, back then, there were a heap of characters to marvel at!

From the likes of the flamboyant Alex Hurricane Higgins to the copious pint-drinking Bill Werbeniuk, to the flashy Canadian in the white suit Kirk Stevens.

There were plenty of them to entertain the masses and cause a stir on and off the table.

The Snooker Scene, led by Clive Everton, is described by Richler as “Sanhedrin” – in other words, a clique. There are great anecdotes darted around the book, and even Sheffield, the home city of snooker, is given life to its own sarcastic wit.

In fact, the first two words of the book are indeed taken up by the Editor of snooker’s only magazine. Snooker Scene’s Everton was also a writer of the book Black Farce and Cue Ball Wizards and is a fine commentator.

Remember, Richler was Canadian, and back in Canada, snooker and pool were for hustlers, (he tried to be one himself) and he has a great short interview with Cliff Thorburn in the book. A must read if you are a true snooker fan!

Watch this Interview on Youtube with Richler, below…

In the new era of snooker, it’s a shame there aren’t many Canadians coming through the professional ranks. Cliff Thorburn is most remembered for making the first 147 at the Crucible, all coming from a fluked first red!

For me, Richler’s “On Snooker” is an outsider’s sarcastic take on the world of snooker as he knew and understood it. He takes no prisoners and doesn’t mince his words – He looks at the game in its boom era with its highs and lows. He’s a fan, but he knows how to pull a punch when he wants to!

Mordecai Richler on Dennis Taylor: A “Real Life Rocky” in Specs…

Dennis Taylor’s famous final frame with Steve Davis which lasted roughly one hour can be viewed on Youtube…and still gets over 220,000 views – today…

He calls the 1985 World Champion Dennis Taylor, who beat Steve Davis in that thrilling still talked about final 18 – 17, the “real life Rocky” and always seeks to make the ordinary seem extraordinary. Over 18 million watched that final, and that is likely never to happen again. But, the game has had some thrilling finals since then!

When Richler was to travel back down to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, for another final, where the World Snooker Championships have been held since 1977, all people wanted to know is: “Are you going to talk to that guy with the funny glasses?” Taylor’s eyewear for the game has become synonymous with fans all over and he even now sells them as a brand!

I’d definitely love to have had a one to one with this guy and would even have been fascinated to have found out what he thinks of the game now, now that the professional circuit has been revived in the Barry Hearn era since 2010.

New Challenges for Amateurs…

What would he have made of the new amateur Challenge Tour introduced this season? What would he have made of the now increasing number of clubs closing down? No doubt his On Snooker Part Two would have been even more sarcastic than the first!

What would he have made of the new age online snooker bloggers and “keyboard warriors”?

Richler died in 2001 aged 70 – way before the revived Hearn era when snooker was in a state of decline.

Go and read some of Richler’s rants in On Snooker, by clicking here…


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