Monday, 6 June 2011

Minichello: Don't be Shy, ya Mum Wasn't

Anthony Minichello's unexpected Origin selection made me remember how last year my mother brought it to my attention that my penchant for men of Mediterranean descent goes way back. Further back than one cares to remember when pressed by one's mother, at least.

Minichello Bruthas in Arms: Anthony & Mark

She heard Minichello's name mentioned on the TV or something when she was staying at my house and told me that I used to like him. "What the shit? When?": "Oh, back in the day..." This perplexed me for a minute because I haven't lived at home or watched any games with her for ten years, nor am I in the habit of telling her who I 'like', with the exception of Adrian Brody and Will Self. Still, she insisted it was true, she remembered his Roman nose*, she said, and his musical surname, and then she said "Yeh, and wasn't he ivolved in some kind of phone sex shenanigans as well - I'm sure I remember hearing something about him and that Gasnier getting up to something...", and I said "NO, SURELY NOT, NOT MINI" and told her that he was a fine and upstanding statesman and icon of the game and that she didn't know what the fuck she was talking about and that she was probably just thinking of John Hopoate. Well, if you're gonna lay on some retrospective blame, why not heap it onto Hoppa?

Then came the words that offspring the world over long to hear their mothers say, something to the effect of "squirting the sauce"; as in, "didn't they say something about squirting the sauce?".

This triggered a faint spark of recognition in the burnt out fuses of my brainbox, and, as is the modern way, Google filled in the blanks for me. I miss the pre-Google days of mystery and wonder, I really do, but I also can't deny the ways in which it has so obviously enriched my life. Without it, I would be denied the pleasure of finding treasures such as an actual transcript of the very voicemail my mother was referring to, and thus of finding my mother to not be quite as far along in early-onset dementia as I thought she was. VIVA LA GOOGLE.

Here's what happened.

Back in the heady days of 2004, already notable for being the year Julian O'Neill set fire to a foam costume worn by a boy during a river cruise, (see also Julian O'Neill circa 1999 shitting in a teammate's shoe and vomiting over the walls of his motel room in Dubbo) the Blues' Origin camp was thrown into disarray when two players (Minichello and Mark Gasnier) were sacked and five others fined following a spree of what was politely referred to as "unprofessional behaviour".

Gaz struggling to recall the msg the morning after

Although he claimed to have no recollection of leaving any message, it transpired that Gasnier used Minichello's phone, which was supposed to have been confiscated, to call a random girl's number from Mini's contact list and left this message, which the girl was greeted with upon waking:

"Where the fuck are ya? There's four toey humans in the cab, ready to spurt sauce, it's twenty to four and you're in bed. Fuck me, fire up, ya sad cunt".

The additional unprofessional behaviour involved players leaving the team hotel after the side had returned from a night out, with Gasnier, Willie Mason and Trent Waterhouse believed to have visited a brothel. Mason and Waterhouse got extra fines for other unnacceptable behaviour including signing another players name at an autograph session; however Mason was not fined for drawing lewd pictures on a table cloth during a signing session at a Harvey Norman store in Liverpool.

marshmallow man mastermind, mwahhaahaa
 It was reported that NSWRL board member John Chalke presented the table cloth to officials, which featured several doodles, including one Mason intriguingly described as a "marshmallow man". My efforts to locate said doodles failed, sadly. This is one of those times where it pays to have a vivid imagination.

Anyway, doesn't it sound like that Origin camp was an absolute hoot and that a good time was had by all? Does it ever!

The final piece of the puzzle posed by my mother fell into place only weeks ago when I saw some vintage, sepia-toned footage of a young adonis *ahem* I mean Mini playing back in 2000 which led to me retrospectively congratulating my 17 year old self on my fuck-off-incredible good taste. I'm not one to get too Danielle Steele but the HEAVENS OPENED and ANGELS WEPT. Or something. It was quite the revelation, anyway. I'm all accustomed to Mini in his current short-haired, ripped-as-shit incarnation, and, let's face it, he is getting a little long in the tooth, so to see him young and hairy and very very easy on the eye was truly something to write - or in my case, ring - home about. Yes. I rang my mother and told her that I'd seen the Mini of days gone by and that I concured with all her claims.

*To be honest, as soon as she mentioned his nose I knew she was was on the money. My family is made up of prominent-nosed people. Because of this, noses are talked about frequently, and with an intensity that can be disconcerting to outsiders. Sensitive types could even consider it rude, but they have no business being among my family in the first place and are moved along immediately.

You know how a good portion of 'light' family chit-chat inevitably centres on the mundane, and maybe even the pleasant, if you're lucky? Well, not on my family's watch. In my family you will never hear words to the effect of  "Did you see that next door's roses are blooming, aren't they divine?", but, rather, hundreds of variations on "Jesus, did you see the nose on THAT??" One time we were asking each other if we were animals which ones we would be, and basing our answers on personality traits and personal habits, and my stepdad, when asked what my mum (i.e. his wife) would be said, in all seriousness and without a moment's hesitation, "a concord".

The concord has a tendency to gaze at me, particularly in profile and especially when I'm driving, and, when questioned, to tell me "I'm just admiring your nose", which reminds me every time of Raoul Duke telling his on-edge hitch hiker passenger "don't worry - I'm just admiring the shape of your skull" in Fear and Loathing. If she's feeling expansive she'll go so far as to tell me that it's an aristocratic nose, and if I'm feeling expansive I'll go so far as to tell her to fuck off.

Behold: a selection of examples of the Roman Nose.

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