I love snooker; it requires tremendous concentration. When I'm in London, I sometimes play at a club with my son, but mostly I play with a chap in the village who runs the post office.
He and I are pretty much the same standard, and we play for a pound stake for three games. The loser puts a pound in the kitty and, after a few months, we've got about pounds 75. Then we have a countdown to the championship, and he'll say: "It may not be much to you, but it's life and death to me!" Good fun. It gives an edge to the game, and we look forward to it very much - I'm sure he does, and I certainly do.
I've played snooker for years. It all began in America. When you make records, you travel all over the world, and almost all American residential studios have a pool table. It's quite a different sport, but you're still potting a ball with a stick, although I prefer snooker because it's a more accurate and demanding game.
When you play, you've got to think about putting the white ball where you want it, and what will happen when you miss your shot: where the ball will be and what your opponent will do. You've also got to work out what you'll do if you hit it, and where your next red's coming from, which I find fascinating.
Because of television, snooker has become quite an international sport. In Thailand you will find the most sophisticated tables under thatched roofs, open to the four winds; they have them everywhere.
I'm off to Texas now. I have seen billiard tables in America, but they're a rarity, so I shan't be playing. I won't have time anyway. I'll be producing the last record before I retire.
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