A new guide claims that Britain's national sport Pub Darts could soon become extinct.
The Cockney Alcoholic's Handbook reckons that dartboards are vanishing from London pubs faster than the boozed-up brain cells of their "knees up Mother Brown" Market Stall Rip-Off-Merchant regulars.
Guide author Arthur Bitter found just 350 pubs in Fleet Street that still had a darts board. "The other 500 had either shut down or got rid of their boards in the last 15 months", he said yesterday.
"Reg Paunch, landlord at The Festering Gusset, told me that darts had been banned from many city pubs due to health and safety", continued Bitter, a darts enthusiast, amateur East End Wide Boy and Pearly King.
"This is a tragedy. Darts began in the cockney slums. David Copperfield and Mr Pickwick enjoyed a game, as did Reg Varney. There was nothing the Kray Twins liked better than to relax with a set of arrows in their local hostelry The Concrete Overcoat. The board that is used in the Olympics is called The Cockney Gobshite Board. But the heritage of our Irrepressible Charladies, Psychopathic Hoodlums and Pick-Pocketing Street Urchins is under threat."
To drive the point home, Bitter pointed out that 30 years ago there were 5000 East End pubs serving Whelks and Jellied Eels and Horsemeat. "Now there is just one, the Geezer and Lock-Up, and Vinnie Jones had that one moved Lock, Stock and Barrel to California last year.
"Darts is going the way of Smoking, Wife-Beating and Protection Racketeering", lamented Bitter. "It's the health and safety thought police gone mad."
And he scored a bull's-eye with his parting shot, urging us to look across the Atlantic and take heed.
"Look what happened in the States when they banned Slavery and Red-Indian Genocide and Sarsparilla. Everything went underground. They got the Speakeasies and the Lone Ranger, and Dick Van Dyke.
Darts Legend and gangster Len 'Knuckledusters' Thug said "These fahckin slags can fark orf. I'll cripple the bleeders. Cants."