Dimensions Title Bar

Literary heavyweights make light of size

Date: 11/08/98

By RICHARD JINMAN, Entertainment Writer

Male and over 30? Got a veranda over the toolshed, so to speak?

Relax, say "Chunky", "Lardy" and "Genuinely Fat" [aka Steve Abbott, Tony Squires and Mikey Robins], the authors of a new book called Big Man's World. Some might sing the praises of low-fat lasagne and light beer, but it's more important to be happy with who and what you are.

Not that Big Man's World is yet another self-help book for hand-wringing SNAGs. Far from it.

And its authors are no strangers to gyms.

"I go to a personal trainer four times a week," insists 36-year old Triple J host Robins, patting his ample belly. "She's hopeless!"

Big Man's World is a collection of anecdotes, advice, short stories, puzzles and er, recipes for men who are "overweight, over 30 and overdone". With chapters on nudity for the chubby guy [avoid it], clothes shopping for the bigger man [avoid it], turning 40 and a guide to condiments, it's about being big and living large.

Squires, 37, Robins and Abbott [the 40-something comedian better known to Triple J listeners as The Sandman] also nominate kindred spirits. A list of "favourite fat guys on telly" includes Homer Simpson, Fred Flintstone, Mark "Tubby" Taylor and political pundit Laurie Oakes.

Squires: "I love the way Laurie tries to hide the gut behind the clipboard. That really works for me."

Robins: Yeah, the clipboard's got a paunch!"

Behind the humour, Big Man's World is a nostalgic book written by three mates. It returns the reader to a time when "eating six pies was a cause for celebration, not alarm, and when quantity was vastly preferable to quality".

Based on humour swapped and honed around the barbecue, it's also a classic example of the old adage "write what you know".

"If you spend 15 years on a whaling ship you write Moby Dick," said Robins. "If you're overweight, you write Big Man's World." "We all brought different things to the book," explained Squires. "I brought shallow journalism, Mikey brought gags and Steve brought everyone down."

Australian men seldom discuss the fears and anxieties laid bare in Big Man's World, something Robins readily accepts.

"You can talk about anything accept how you feel," he said. "Men have sport instead of intimacy."

Plans to turn the book into a stage show are already in hand.

"The Sydney Dance Company are playing us," said Squires. "Two of them are strapped together to play each of us."