What a week-end for deaths. Started with Saturday’s paper announcing the passing of David Brockhoff, was followed by the news during the league broadcast of Rex Mossop’s passing and ended most sadly with the news via twitter of Clarence Clemon’s death. Three men with enormous legacies and about whom many tales, some tall, but all legendary, can be told. BotF has a couple that are sort of related, plus an obligatory beer review.
Your correspondent had the most modest of Rugby careers, but I was bizarrely on the receiving end of a “Brock” half-time rev-up. His obituaries have focussed on their intensity and whilst a half-time oratory to the Sydney Uni 6ths in 1994ish was never going to hit those heights – I was privileged to get an insight. We were playing Randwick aka the Slime and we weren’t going well. He started gently by ribbing us forwards to get more amongst it, moved up a gear by inciting hatred I didn’t know I had for the Slime, before exhorting us with eye popping passion that we were only 8 steps away from playing in a Wallaby jumper – and the first step started at Latham Park in 1 minute. For 3 or so paces, I charged onto Latham Park – before I remembered that I was a fairly poor tight-head prop and no amount of encouragement would get me beyond the first step. When I sat next to Brock at a Rugby dinner years later I mentioned this half-time address and he simply smiled sheepishly.
The Moose played a number of rugby tests with Brock, but converted to League at an early age. He went on to be a League superstar and then a pioneer of commentating on and hosting shows about League in the 70’s. BotF would see Rex, a hero around Manly – the spiritual home of BotF – around the traps, but never met him. It doesn’t matter because anyone around 40 will remember Rexisms. Two classics. 1) He made a citizens arrest of a nude bather at an insular peninsula beach and declared for the cameras that he wouldn’t have male genitalia stuffed down his throat and 2) Verbal tonguelashing, Sorensens are a pair of twins – Tautology was Rex’s speciality.
I also never met the Big Man, but got to see him live on two occasions. As a sax player, I can state that no-one blew harder or longer than Clarence and for examples listen to Rosalita, Drive All Night and Jungleland to name a few. In 2002, Hutto, Bi-eh and I saw Bruce and the E-Street Band in LA when the Aussie Dollar was about 50 US cents. The queue for beers was huge so we drew straws and Hutto went first with instructions to get 6 beers and 3 pringles so we wouldn’t have to go for a while. After half an hour, Hutto staggered back with 6 of the wateriest, worst beers ever and a face as white as snow. He stammered hundred and ten, hundred and ten over and over. After we’d relieved him of his burdened we worked out that his shout of 6 beers and 3 pringles cost $110 aussie dollars after conversion – and this was almost 10 years ago. This took the gloss of Hutto’s evening, but when the E-Street Band hammered out Born to Run – almost all was forgiven. At 69, the Big Man is gone too early.
Sometimes, BotF drinks a beer so that you don’t have to. That has never been truer when it comes to Bolt, brewed by Sail and Anchor. Unadulterated rubbish.
(Photos used come from Wallaby Gold, a marvellous book any rugby fan should buy. Clarence could’ve been a useful rugby player as he was built like a line-backer – but his photo isn’t from Wallaby Gold.)