Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ben's a Dream So Why Can't I Sleep?

Ben is not a cynic. To him, pants are just trousers and the world is kind and fair. He’s handsome and nice and from 1994 when even I thought the world wasn’t such a bad place. The problem for me is that Ben is occupying my head – it’s his job and he’s mine. Ben was brought up poor after his father died from work-related asbestosis, but he’s not complaining. He got a job. He got married. He got divorced. Not his fault – obviously. Why would it be? Ben knew that Thatcher couldn’t last for ever and is grateful that his father was spared her altogether. He was right – she didn’t. It’s a blow when John Smith dies but Ben doesn’t know that welfare socialism, real socialism will die with him. Tony ‘Blah Blah’ Blair is as fresh-faced and eager as the Andrex puppy. Gordon ‘Scrooge McDuck’ Brown is still Gordon who? But Ben is already living in Spain.

I usually tell people that Ben looks like Daniel Craig. He doesn’t really, otherwise he’d be a movie star and not a divorcee with a small bar on the Costa del Sol. Daniel Craig smoulders, Ben doesn’t. I will admit to thinking about Daniel Craig in Layer Cake when writing a couple of gangster scenes but, actually, Ben looks much more like Brian Smith, Director of Rugby at London Irish Rugby Club (pictured). Smithy and I go way back – only in my head, I hasten to add. My six month stint in Sydney in 1991 doing nothing much but playing the piano in a bar in Newtown coincided with Smithy’s brief spiriting away from rugby union to league – its cloth-capped brother.

I say ‘spirited away’ because Smithy was lured to my childhood idols the Balmain Tigers by controversial radio personality and sometime rugby coach Alan Jones. There was talk because Smithy’s installation at half-back (as they say in rugby league), unceremoniously displaced crowd favourite and New Zealand captain, Gary Freeman. Smithy’s career in rugby union had been uneventful save one notable indiscretion in Tonga in which offence was caused to the royal family. They say he never got that drunk again. Failure to achieve selection for the Wallabies led to him being chosen to represent Ireland and he seemed to be doing okay at Lansdowne Road until the Tigers roared.

Ireland’s loss was Balmain’s gain, initially and then only very occasionally. I was a Balmain Tigers fan from childhood until the club ceased to be. There were very few fanciable players at Balmain. Keith Barnes was a hero but looked like my maths teacher. Artie Beetson was a hero but looked like a Christmas pudding. Wayne Pearce - I adore you. I still have your Christmas card but I always saw Ben as fair-headed. Be grateful that I didn’t model Ben on my first rugby league blonde god love, Dennis Tutty who, although breathtakingly handsome,

  • Bore a daft name.
  • Had a disconcerting habit of bursting into prayer at inappropriate moments.
  • Jeopardised our chances of winning the 1969 grand final in a pay dispute – and so didn’t succeed.

Dennis is pants. I was a child when I was in love with him.

Sometimes people just aren’t in the right place. I want Ben to have some of the spark I saw in Brian Smith when he first turned out for the Tigers. And I want it to end well too. Brian Smith seems to have found his spiritual home with London Irish.

Please light candles in the cause of Ben managing on the Costa del Sol. He does have the enormous disadvantage of me being in control of his destiny.

Be oh so very afraid for him.

But consider that at least he doesn't have Alan Jones in charge of his fate.

Picture of the actual real Brian Smith from


Ms Melancholy said...

Ms Pants, you constantly surprise me. Who would've guessed you knew so much about rugby? I am praying for Ben...

That's so pants said...

Hi Ms M

Immediate correction required. I know absolutely nothing about rugby in general although there was a particular moment in the 90s when I could have named the entire England squad AND reproduced England captain Mrs Underwood's five nations winning HAKA, grunt by grunt. I believe I could perform it effectively now if I was charged by a rhino or, indeed, Brian Moore. Is there a zoologist alive who can tell the difference?

Ben will appreciate your prayers but will they necessarily save him from me?

Please consult Richard Dawkins for further guidance.

Fringe Poet said...

Hi Ms Pants

I'm glad the book is going well. I like the idea of Ben looking like Daniel Craig.

I'm taking a break from poetry and have started a book too. Wish me luck.

That's so pants said...

Fringey! Good to hear from you. Daniel Craig is far too smooth to be Ben. His face is too mature and experienced. Ben is not a complex personality. He's quite straightforward, narrowly experienced and a little naive (no offence Smithy). I think of him as having a very open and innocent face.

Great news about the book. Email me. We can encourage each other. Better still, start a blog. You know you want to.

Political Umpire said...

Good Lord, Alan Jones. Now that's a name I haven't heard for a very long time, as Sir Alec Guinness once said in a different context ... Still as a Kiwi rugby league, well it's never been quite the same, much as I enjoy watching it.

That's so pants said...

Well, what goes around comes around. Sorry, that might have been in bad taste.