I know it’s been a while since I’ve written any posts, and I promise more are on their way soon, but I wanted to take some time to say farewell and share my memories of my friend Toby Benham, better known as Lucky Chance, who passed away after an accident in his beloved Blue Mountains on Tuesday.
I had the SHEER DELIGHT of touring with Toby in 2008 in Lennon Bros Circus, and whilst everyone who knew him knows that he was never going to grow old, that this is the way he would have wanted to go, it still doesn’t make the news any easier to take.
His love of life, energy, enthusiasm and relentless positivity were infectious to those around him. He was always up for a challenge and always challenged those around him to better themselves. He made you feel as if you were invincible, like anything was possible. He had a unique world view and we spent many hours in deep philosophical discussions over spiked mugs of tea. Conversations with him were an enlightening experience and changed the way you perceived your surroundings.
Around the world, everyone he encountered has “Crazy Lucky Stories” to tell. I thought I’d share a few of mine.
My first ever adventure with him was on the Gold Coast in Queensland, we went for a picnic on the beach. After a morning of swimming, we stopped for lunch, but before I could sit down to eat, he has scampered up the cliff face. With my food. So I followed him, and that’s how I learned to rock climb-no instruction, no safety gear, “You just do it, everything will be ok!”
It became a tradition that in every new town that the circus arrived in that we would find the closest mountain and scale it. From Toowoomba to Eden we bush-bashed our way through national parks and reserves, because paths are boring and only present a narrow and confined view of the whole world picture. He had an impeccable sense of direction, if now for him I would have been hopelessly lost in the bush. When I told him as much, he replied with “Good motivation for you to keep up!!”
As well as the physical challenges, he liked to set weekly goals. Find the most obnoxiously coloured alcoholic beverage at the local bottle-o. When we go the grocery shopping, find as many items from as many different countries as you can. Go to the local op shop and try to find a complete outfit in as many different colours as you can, like a rubix cube.
I remember the day he changed his name by deed poll to Lucky Chance. We had got rancidly drunk when he proclaimed that “I don’t think the name Toby really reflects who I am as a person”, so we spent some time devising alternate names for him. The next morning, when I awoke the worse for wear, he came bounding up to me, fresh as a daisy.
“Well, I did it!”
“Changed my name to Lucky Chance!!”
“You….you WHAT now??!!”
But that was Toby. Ever spontaneous and living life with no regrets.
I must stop myself here. I could go on writing memories for pages and pages. RIP Buddy. I hope you’re looking down at us from your astral rocking chair. You will be remembered and missed.