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An Interview with Higgins

The following interview was conducted in September 2008.

Higgins, aka The Master of Disaster (or Pierre-Mark Lefebvre as he is mortally named), is an old buddy from my Half-Mind Catalog days. He was European On-Sec and publisher of Euroflash, and we constantly swapped information about upcoming hash events. And naturally, every time I went to some far-flung interhash, there was Higgins, sharing a bottle of outlandish liquor with other hashers (perhaps inspiring MTM to do the same?).

Higgins

Higgins

Higgins lives in Brussels, Belgium, where he hashes with the Brussels Manneke Piss HHH and the GoNAD (Going Nowhere, Always Drunk) HHH. He’s been hashing since 1991.

Higgins is putting together a Belgian bid for Interhash 2014. I can’t think of a better hasher for the job, and if Belgium gets it, I’m going!

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Higgins, when & where was your first hash?

On a sunny(!) Sunday of November 1991 in Brussels, Belgium. Brussels Manneke Piss H3 was then 1.5 years old.

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

Via a work colleague who had been himself introduced to hashing in Brussels only a few months before.

Having surreptitiously “tested” me over a few after-hours drinks and office parties, Semi-Column asked me nonchalantly what I was doing the next Sunday and asked me to join him for a bit of running. “Ah,” I replied immediately, “you’re no runner, you’re a party animal!” I guess this was the right answer since Semi-Column smiled and arranged a meeting point.

How did you get the name “Higgins”?

Pierre-Marc Lefebvre is not easy to pronounce for English speakers (my turn, this time)!

When I joined BMPH3, I was sporting a little moustache and a receding hairline. It didn’t take long (two runs? blur…) before someone noticed I looked like a younger replica of the former British army sergeant major converted into a butler for the rich and famous in the American TV series “Magnum P.I.” Must have been true since two years before I was also given the nickname of “Higgins” during my military service in the Belgian army. Much later on Try A Fuck unofficially added the title of “Master of Disaster” for my repeated shenanigans after a few drinks.

Who taught you the most about hashing?

Several people are to blame but my early-day mentors were Hot Dick and Icebox (now Border H3, Australia) who taught me the basics and got me involved on mismanagement within less than a year. The Terd (retired) and P.EnNIS (now in DC) gave me a worldwide exposure.

Where was your first away hash?

May 1993 in Madrid, Spain. The Terd had given me a copy of Magic’s newsletter where I read about EuroHash II in sunny Spain. Mick Mac, another prominent member of our hash, had attended the first edition in Paris the year before and gave me rave comments on the weekend. A regular holiday trip being cancelled a week prior departure provided me with a good excuse to call one of the Madrid organizers to check availability. “Come over, the more the merrier” was his reply. With a student friend to visit in Madrid, I thought it was worth it to take the risk of joining that obscure hash weekend where I’d probably know nobody. To make a long story short, it was really fun and a great opportunity to expand my address book of European hashers. I even had the “privilege” to share a room with Rongjon from San Francisco (King of the Gypsies, man !). So many drunk people and still no trouble, a new concept! Too bad I was not aware of the fully-booked bus tour afterwards.

I was ever sober (!?) enough at Sunday GM’s meeting to volunteer for starting a European contact newsletter, which explain how I later became (self-appointed) European On-Sec.

Where have you hashed?

A bit all over really, including on a frozen sea. More specifically between 65° North and 44° South; between -17 and +37 Celsius. As of July 2008 I’ve visited 230 kennels across 57 countries. 1995 had been the busiest hashing year until 2008 where I completed a 90-day round-the-hashing-world tour plus a 17-day tour of the Balkans. Ever heard of http://half-mind.com/where/?

What do you most love about hashing?

  • Meeting friendly and interesting people
  • Meeting people from various professional and social backgrounds
  • Seeing the world through the eyes of locals
  • Associating two concepts at both ends of my fun spectrum in one activity: partying and running!

What don’t you love about hashing, if anything?

The minority going systematically over the top all the time, including with non-hash bystanders. I believe there is a (fine?) line between being irreverent and becoming obnoxious.

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

Being introduced to a rubber chicken. A friend for life!

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

Being introduced to a rubber chicken! Now totally addicted!

Where are some places you haven’t hashed, but would like to?

Must improve penetration rate in Central America, Southern America and Africa :-)

Are there any places you wouldn’t like to hash?

Not too found of very hot and humid places but it adds to the experience, as long as the beer is cold and the room aircon-ed! I suck above 27 Celsius and/or 6,000 feet.

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

Drinking less for my own good, besides the odd Captain Morgan session . . . aaargghh!

What are some of your favorite haring techniques?

Live haring while avoiding a recognizable trail pattern. Say true trail is the one with the flour blob nearest to the check mark for the first three checks, then it switches to the furthest. And — of course — the YBF checkback (use with moderation), my personal record being 23 for a distance of 1.5 km :-)

Do you tell everyone you meet about the hash?

Everyone has a vague idea of my running+partying activity but I only give full briefing to those likely to join the fun side of hashing. MY PRECIOUS . . .

Have you founded any hashes? Where? Which ones?

Back in November 1997, I co-founded the short-lived “Alicante Seldom Sober Hash ! OLE ¡” (work out the acronym yourself) with drinking buddy Sex Reject who had moved to fairer skies in Southern Spain.

The inaugural weekend was quite boozy. Sex Reject having a serious hangover and being not really fit enough for live haring, I was volunteered to lay the first trail in a scenic valley a short drive out of town. Not much choice since the rest of the pack were all virgins, a dozen or so people from 7 different countries.

It was a refreshing experience being my first time laying a hash trail live, moreover in an unknown territory. Because of the geography of the valley, I could see the beer stop at all time which was rather reassuring. The trail was predictable but nobody realized it and we didn’t lose any virgins. The hammering back at the hash pub resulted in one virgin being summoned by his wife on the night to give up hashing unless he wanted divorce. One must say he was so drunk he walked out of the pub and started peeing al fresco while walking back to his car. We were not fast enough to realize his state and take his car keys away. He really wanted to stay but had decided to go home an hour late for the visit of some family friends — baaaad move . . .

Alicante saw a second run but afterwards Sex Reject seemed to have trouble leading would-be hashers (and possibly himself too) out of the pub for running. Shortly after he moved to Belfast and the hash prematurely died.

What do you think you’ve contributed to hashing?

  • Promoting worldwide hashing in Europe through Euroflash magazine in the 90′s
  • Convincing World Interhash organizers to take over the production of the directory after Magic’s death (initially by Hobart)
  • Eurohash ’97 in Brussels — chairman
  • Bus Tour from HHHell! 1 & 2 — organizer
  • Rubber chicken conventions — initiator
  • If it’s hollow, you can drink from it!

Are there any core fundamentals you believe all hashers should embrace?

  • Sense of humour, not taking oneself too seriously (mandatory!)
  • Do the trail, regardless of the pace
  • On-after/après

Kegs or cans? Be honest.

Or even bottles! It doesn’t matter as long as it’s a good beer and it’s reasonably cold. On that front we’re spoiled rotten in Belgium — Trappist anyone?

What’s in your hashing future?

Brussels 2014 for World Interhash. Think about it!

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