In snooker today…
There are two modern players who can both win AND entertain AND are box office.
They are, of course, the Ace in the Pack Judd Trump, and the Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Judd Trump, when he first burst onto the scene more than 15 years ago, was primarily an entertainer who loved the showmanship of potting balls and playing the Naughty Snooker. Now, in his maturity as a World Champion in 2019, has developed an all-around game that is both entertaining, but deadly on tour. His rival, O’Sullivan, on the other hand, is just a born winning machine since 1993. Trump too has learned the art of being a constant winner.
The winning machines of yesteryear…
Rewind to snooker of yesterday, and the story is not so different from that of today.
Joe Davis was the dominator who reigned supreme as the King of the Snooker Table in more or less every era from the 30’s onwards.
He was the player who made the first TV century in 1962 in black and white.
However, although we all love and pay homage to the great Joe Davis, who was the Ronnie O’Sullivan of the green felt within a 50-year period, there was an upcoming Australian player who, in the early years took on the somewhat familiar understudy of the now talked about and highly regarded O’Sullivan.
Horace Lindrum was that man – the Judd Trump of that era as Joe was the O’Sullivan.
He was nicknamed the Showman because he loved to entertain. But he could play a mean game of snooker and had the piston-like cue action that players now can only dream of.
In a new book called Lindrum: The Uncrowned King, Jan Lindrum, a member of the esteemed family of Lindrum’s gives a gripping and first-hand account of life in the Lindrum dynasty. Based on years of research and first-hand material, it makes for an entertaining and fascinating insight into a player, (and family) background that is more than just a selection of facts and figures.
As quoted in the book by the author: “Family stories are important because it is through the experience of family that we learn about ourselves.”
And in the book, you learn a lot about the incredible highs and devastating lows of the Lindrum dynasty.
Action is character…
As with any family history, you have to go back to the dawn of time and how they became the Lindrum dynasty. Like in the Godfather Part Two film where we charter the rise of Don Vito Corleone, and the fall of his son, Michael, two generations apart, Jan Lindrum has delicately crafted a historical timeline that shifts from the past to the present and gives you a flavor of what life was like. For screenwriters, there are already plenty of stunning visuals that could be used if there was ever to be a film about the Lindrum dynasty. Who would be brave enough to type FADE IN?
One such moment is when Horace Lindrum is playing Joe Davis in a match that is the BOX OFFICE clash of the era. A bit like the Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump duels we’ve come to see and love watching over the past five years.
To summarise the scene. They are at Thurston’s (a venue) and on arrival found the entrance completely blocked to streams of fans desperate to pack in to watch the two mighty cueists do battle.
Both players tried to explain who they were as the chief attractions of the night, but no-one was having any of it.
Horace Lindrum, in his showman-like manner, RACES to a ledge and speaks.
“Folks, if you want to see Lindrum play tonight, you had better let him through because he’s a little fellow about my size.”
In film, action is character. And there are plenty of moments like that where readers gain an insight into Horace’s character as a showman.
In that scene, his broad grin gave the game away that he was THE HORACE LINDRUM and not just a chancer hoping to get in free. He was hoisted up by the crowd and let in. The more serious Joe Davis followed.
What does that show? Horace was becoming more popular and noticed than the great Joe Davis himself.
It’s moments like that that are beautifully crafted in the book. There are of course very serious moments that are best left read in private, though.
As one journalist commented in The Black Poker:
They were the greatest snooker partnership the game has ever seen. Joe Davis, with his grim, determined play. Horace with his smiling face.
Now, when it comes to entertaining, Horace and co would inspire a future generation of players who enjoyed the EXHIBITION culture of the game, with the trick shots and the trickery. Of course, the famous egg along the cushion trick shot is one of Horace Lindrum’s trademarks.
Showman and entertainers like JOHN VIRGO are the modern equivalents of Horace, who created his own trick shot videos, books, and DVDs. Even players like the great Alex Higgins had the talent to play tricks on the baize.
But like any movie, the book takes you on a journey through the dramatic moments from a young Lindrum kid wet behind the ears, to a snooker and billiard superstar of his time – coached by his elders, the great uncle, Walter Lindrum and co.