Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Further Fashions Of The Indoor League

Now then - the Queen's Hotel in Leeds has most recently been in the news as the place where Sir Jimmy Savile lay in state, but back in 1973, it was the venue for the awful, brilliant 'Indoor League'.

First of all, we're taking a look at a specific character, Stan Denton from Dartnell near Barnsley. Stan is a table skittles fanatic, and it must run in the family, as he's up against his cousin, Dennis Jones. Host Freddie Trueman describes them as artists, and he has a point: I mean, anyone can swing a wooden ball on a chain and knock down something in its path, but these lads knock down everything. I can't say I understand the scoring system, or what a 'flopper' is, but they know, and that's the main thing.

Please note the beermat propping up the table.

Stan is the reigning Yorkshire champ and, you will notice, a Leeds fan. All piss-taking aside, I think it's wonderful that someone loved Stan enough to knit him his outrageously complicated cardigan, and that Stan loved them enough in turn to wear it on national television. In case you weren't clear on his sporting allegiance, he is also wearing a Leeds United tee shirt in the classic seventies style, i.e. plain white with writing on it. Below the midriff, he's sporting a pair of deep fawn / dog shit coloured slacks and brown shiny shoes. His hair is great, too, just got combed at the front; just got up at the back.

His chip shop owning cousin Dennis is conservatively dressed in comparison, with his green jacket, black trousers, blue shirt and plum coloured knitted tie. There's no knowing what football team he supports. It would be remiss of me not to point out just how far up the female adjudicator's trousers have been pulled, perhaps in a hurry.

Unbelievably, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the 'sheer, naked drama' of Table Skittles, and the fashions of the men who excel at it, so here are a few more of its most skilful exponents.

This is James Porter from Doncaster. James was 75 on the day of filming, and looks great. Not many septugenarians would be so on trend, but Dennis' pale orange shirt, contrasting tie with pin, gold watch, patterned handkerchief and, in particular, his button hole, mark him out as a man who, although perhaps not a dandy or a fop, understands the importance of looking good and hasn't yet lost a keen eye for what's in and what's out.

His opponent, Grimsby fisherman Terry Lodge, cuts a dash with his caramel coloured ensemble (including a bizarre drawstring collar polo shirt) and Ian Brady haircut. He must be doing something right, however, as he soon defeats Mr. Porter and powers forward to the semi final.

Phillip Senior of Barnsley (left) is only 21, but 'he moves that little ball like a magic wand'. His look, eye catching at the time, is a jaw dropper these days, and can perhaps be best be described as 'member of Fairport Convention at a wedding'. Pleated checked pants with unusual external pockets, stone coloured bri-nylon shirt, brown pinstriped hunters style jacket and ginger Jesus 'pop style' hair and beard - all accessorised with an ever burning Embassy Number One.

Phillip walks away with the Indoor League Indoor Skittles title in the end, earning a career best £100 for the victory. When asked how he feels, he simply says "'appy". I know what he means.


  1. I will forward to you my doctor's bill for treatment of the hernia I received after reading 'member of Fairport Convention at a wedding'.

    More Indoor League fashions please. Lots more.

  2. I love these features. You could base a whole website on the sartorial styles of British TV contestants of the seventies. Hmmm...

  3. Bloody good idea, I'd be up for a slice of that. You could call it 'Flared to Death'.