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Whoring Around with Whorator

It seems appropriate, as InterHash 2010 kicks off in Borneo, to post an interview with Frank “Whorator” Benfield, a hasher long identified with InterHash.

When I first met Whorator, down in New Zealand for the 1994 InterHash, he was one of the small circle of hashers who had so far attended every InterHash, from the original event held in Hong Kong in 1978 right up to Rotorua. After Rotorua he continued attending InterHashes until Goa in 2002 — which he helped organize — then turned against what he describes as an event that has strayed too far from its roots. He has not attended one since.

(Correction from from Whorator, posted 7/2/10: I missed InterHash 2002 and 2004 but returned for InterHash 2006 and 2008)

If you’d like to read Whorator’s thinking on the subject, you can find his famous Wither InterHash article at the Half-Mind Catalog (click here). His latest editorial on the subject, Is InterHash Finished?, is in the current issue of Harrier International Magazine (click here).

whoreator on right

Whorator (right) & friends

But I’m also interested in Whorator the hasher, and that’s the subject of this interview, so let’s get to it. First, some biographical information:

Whorator was born — and still lives and hashes — in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He started hashing in 1973, and since then has held every mismanagement position known to hashdom. He’s currently active with the Brisbane (Mens’) and Breakfast Creek Hotel Hash House Harriers. When I asked if he’d founded any hashes, he said he couldn’t remember them all, but will happily take credit for the Toowoomba H3 (1981) and Nigel & Nolene’s Noggy H3 (1998), both in Queensland, Australia, and assisting The Pimp and Derelick in starting the Pattaya Dirt Road H3 in Thailand (1985).

I asked Whorator what set of hashing traditions he embraced. Here’s his answer:

Serious hashing began in Jakarta on the Monday Men’s H3 where the hares were mostly alive but the standard of the runs set was not always supportive of hares who were alive. For example, laying paper from a helicopter is not indicative of a hare who wants anything but hashit. Jakarta in the 1970s to 1980s was hashdom’s pre-eminent singing hash, without exception. Circles of three hours while working through the Jakarta hash songbook were the norm rather than the exception and it was not unusual to continue the hash songs at a nearby (rat-infested) makan stall, 99.

On-on to the rest of the questions:

————————————————————

When & where was your first hash?

1973 in Lae, on the north coast of the then pre-Independent Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

How did you find the hash, or did the hash find you?

While I wasn’t lost, I was certainly found by some Army and civvy blokes who were hashing around Buttibum Village near Lae town and the Lae Hash formally began a year later. When told there was cold beer (South Pacific) at the end of the run I went there for the beer and was hooked on hash then and remain hooked now.

How did you get your hash name?

I was christened Whorator by the “gentlemen” of the Pattaya H3 after demonstrating some oratorical skills on the InterHash stage at InterHash Pattaya 1986 as the MC and deputy IH chair to the one and only Tim “Magic” Hughes. At that time I commonly referred to Pattaya as being the “world’s biggest brothel.” I mean there were thousands of whores in the town, especially during InterHash and being an orator in the world’s biggest brothel gave John Earl and Eddy Heneffer the license to christen me Whorator, a name I’ve kept with pride. It superseded, with no disrespect, previous names given to me by Jakarta H3, Sarong (for wearing one at the Hash), and FAB by Toowoomba H3 which was a play on my initials of FHB and expanded to provide “F*ck About Benfield.”

Did you have a hashing mentor?

I’ve never considered any of the great good friends I’ve met at the hash to be mentors. Mind you, I’m constantly learning things from hashers that enhance my hashing pleasure.

When & where was your first away hash?

They were all away hashes from 1973 to 1978 because the nature of my Army service kept me from having a home hash. Perhaps InterHash 1978, which although an InterHash required a journey from Australia. In Australia, the Army has some remote bases, I guess with a view to keeping your mind on the job and off the Hashing distractions.

Where have you hashed?

On just about every continent, but there are far too many individual hash clubs to name here. I’ve done more than 100 runs with Jakarta H3, Toowoomba H3, Pattaya H3, Halfway H3 and Brisbane Men’s H3.

Are there places you haven’t hashed but would like to?

Yep! Colombo and Seoul H3.

Are there places where you wouldn’t consider hashing?

Only those without beer.

If you could pick the location of a future Interhash, where would it be, and why?

Although I’ve been to most InterHashes, I’m no longer a fan of InterHash and if forced to, I would prefer InterHash to be anyplace where I had no involvement.

Do you have any favorite haring techniques?

A short run is always a good run.

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you at a hash?

The enduring friendships of so many people with fine, enjoyable hashing instincts, like The Penguin, Opera, Garfield and the late Magic and Browneye.

What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you at a hash?

Once at Hua Hin, Thailand, Magic broke his ribs while we setting the H10 trail for a Bangkok outstation hash. I had to do all the work then while poor old Magic was struggling to get back. Usually, only good things happen at the hash, although the Thai Army once shot a bloke on the Phitsanuloke H3 for being in the wrong place. And the victim was an Army Major! RIP.

What is the most dangerous trail you’ve done?

The trail away from the beer.

What is the most memorable trail you’ve done?

The trail back to the beer.

What is your favorite hashing event?

The beer.

What has been your most remarkable hashing experience?

Surviving my farewell runs from Jakarta H3 and Pattaya H3.

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever used, or seen used, to mark trail?

Elephant turds from the local kraal (the size of a bowling ball) on the Pattaya H3 which I collected in plastic supermarket bags (Thai brief cases) with a gob-smacked visiting hasher (whose name escapes my tiny mind). The Thai girls on the hash loved it!

Do you have an anthrax/mysterious white powder story?

No thanks.

Have you ever been busted by law enforcement while laying or running trail?

Yes thanks.

What do you most love about hashing? What keeps you coming back?

The enduring friendships previously mentioned and the cold beer.

What part of hashing could you do without (if anything)?

I’m not real fussed about this disease of running feet, which is prevalent on the hash.

Have your attitudes toward hashing or hashers changed over the years?

For sure. Some for the best and others for the worst. I’ve developed a dislike for running. I still love hashing but my attitude to InterHashing is just about as negative as can be and in saying that perhaps I’m taking myself too seriously. My wife, the long suffering St Clare, thinks I can be a grumpy old hasher.

Has hashing affected your personal or professional life (for good or ill)?

Hashing is good for both. Mostly.

Do you tell everyone you meet about the hash, or only people you think might become good hashers?

This is a trick question isn’t it? I don’t want everyone to know about hashing from Whorator. There has to be a better source of hashtories. Besides, the fewer the number of hashers the more beer there is for Whorator.

Is there anything you think all hashers should believe in?

Enjoy the Hash. A Jakarta hasher who knew what he was talking about, Ross “Opera” Singer told me that the hash is all things to all people, it’s where you can relax from the stresses of work and home. I like especially the notion that hashing is just a pissup for a bunch of drunks and that ought to be the guiding principle for InterHash mismanagement teams. Oh and don’t take yourself too seriously.

What do you think you’ve contributed to hashing?

Others can make that judgement but I reckon f*ck all!

What’s in your hashing future?

Shortcutting in short, it’s an art. So, another shortcut to the pub every week on a Monday night for as many beers as possible so long as I’m not the designated driver of course. And never forget, always remain

on on forever.

Frank “Whorator” Benfield

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