I am reading Michael Slater’s autobiography which was published in 2005. It is creatively entitled: Slats. I am part way through and it is OK but I am not going to review it. However, I did come across a very interesting paragraph (p 63):
Also, although I’d been known as Slats for as long as I could remember, Geoff [Lawson] gave me my only other nickname – ‘Sybil’. He christened me one night in the bar of the University of New South Wales, after I got onto the stage and started singing with the band after a few beers. Geoff decided that I must have dozens of different personalities inside me and the more I drank the more personalities would emerge – just like the character possessed by 16 personalities in the Sally Field move, Sybil.
This is particularly interesting, funny even, because I have read Tim May’s riotous book, Mayhem. This is without doubt May’s most important contribution to cricket, followed by his 5/9 at Adelaide in January 1993. The book sends up modern cricket dairies as May writes his own diary. Some of it has basis in truth but it is full of embellishment, exaggeration and fabrication. The line between fact and fiction is at times blurry, especially for those who were not on tour.
May’s teammates are given false names and their characters are sometimes a blend of several real life characters. However, some are clearly identifiable. For example, opening batsman, Kenny Realts: ‘Very emotional young man. Particularly interesting when alcohol affected. Batsman.’
Later in the book, there is a story of the players trying to gently point out to the coach (Simmo) that May’s name is ‘Tim’, and not ‘Peter’ as the coach insists on calling him. The plan is for May to engage the coach in a conversation and let some of the boys interrupt and subtly address May as ‘Tim’. Here are a couple of paragraphs (pp 60-61):
Our first ‘visitor’ was Kenny Realts who had been told to be first cab of the rank. The necessity of this was that Kenny had a habit of changing characters during a period of alcohol intake. It was decided that Kenny’s most stable and reliable character was between beers one and four. I reckon we may well have got him during beer number five. All he could manage was “Tim, Tim, Tim, Tim”.
And a little later:
Speaking of wasted, Kenny Realts was trying to make amends for his previous attempts. It would appear Kenny was somewhere between beers ten and 13, singing and encouraging every other person in the bar to sing, “There’s only one Tim May”.
How about that? It’s tempting to think that Tim May could have read Slats but his book was published in 1998. Perhaps Slats read Mayhem? Anyway, Kenny Realts is obviously Michael Slater (as most would have known anyway) but I’m wondering if there is more truth in Mayhem than I had realised.