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EATING & DRINKING

Life is beautiful

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted February 09, 2013
bb lifts a trophy
A gurgitator and a scribe: Beautiful Brian lifts a prize. © Brian Seiken

Love him or hate him, there are few names in the world of competitive eating that stir such emotions as 'Beautiful' Brian Seiken.


We've been called "assholes" for not writing about him, "sons of bitches" for writing about him and now we'll probably get shed loads of grief for running an interview with him, but why does 'Beautiful' Brian Seiken, or BB to those in the know, raise such passions?

"The devoted fans of my site [Beautifulbrian.com (BB.com)] know what I'm all about: basically an unpaid journalist that never got his just due with the media," the man himself tells us via the wonders of email, albeit with a bit of a delay in us getting around to writing his words up on account of us having been offline for a bit (sorry, Brian).

"The haters hate because I spoke the truth about them at one time or another in Bits and Pieces [the news and commentary section of his website] and because of that they just can't let it go."

Well, whatever you think of him, one thing is for certain: very few people if any have dedicated so much of their time to documenting the greatest sport on Earth over the past few years, with at least one well-known gurgitator describing BB as "the historian of competitive eating" (CE).

So how was BB.com born?

Caesarean or regular?

And was the father present or did he just pace up and down a corridor, chain smoking cigarettes like a proper man?

"BB.com made its debut in September 2003," BB explains, ignoring the silly questions about childbirth that we never actually asked him.

"I needed a vehicle to vent my frustrations and I felt a website would be the perfect niche."

"It was actually Badlands Booker who launched the first CE website and during a pelmeni contest in September of that year he suggested I start a website and he would give me some pointers on how to get it up and running."

"The intro before the front page is modelled after his site, which ran briefly in early 2003."

So that's the history behind BB.com, but what's its mission?

Simple.

"My mission," BB states, "is to be the most arrogant, obnoxious human being on the face of the Earth while at the same time providing the CE community with an offbase perspective on the sport and the characters involved."

So there.

Now you know.


SURVEILLANCE DRONES
If, like us, you tend to live at least 3,000 miles away from all the major masticatory matches and you don't have your own fleet of spy satellites or surveillance drones, you'll probably find yourself highly dependent on video footage posted on the interweb by other fans to get your fill of the alimentary action.

To us, this is where webites such as BB.com particularly come to the fore.

BB, you see, clearly has access to a video camera, which he uses not only to capture the belly-bursting battles themselves but also to interview the various gastronomic gladiators that wage blitzkrieg wars with their gullets, guts and jaws.

"I don't have one favourite video," he says, "although the BB stuttering interviews at Dorney Park three years ago were quite entertaining."

"I enjoy interviewing competitive eaters, asking offbase questions to throw them off."

"The fans find it quite entertaining to say the least."

"My 26 episodes of BB corner 2006-2008 is my pride and joy," he continues, noting that he may well repost the lot in the not-too-distant future.

"Of course, my favourite part of BB.com is Bits and Pieces, which fans refer to as Page Six of the sport."

Living on this side of the Atlantic, we're not exactly sure what that means.

However, from a root around the interweb, we reckon it's a reference to Page Six of the Noi Yoik Poist, which deals with showbiz gossip and the like.

Either that or BB's fans find themselves reminded of a now defunct UK magazine aimed at Atari computer users also called Page 6.

Hmm.

Tough one, that.

Answers on a postcard, please.


bb in action
Action man: BB takes on the dogs. © Brian Seiken


BEHOLD THE PICKLE KING
But unlike all the unwashed hacks at the Rake & Herald who, with the obvious exception of competitive eating editor Naader 'Freak8r' Reda, only write about competitive eating, BB is not only prepared to open his gob but also stuff it with vast quantities of food.

Currently holding the No 43 spot in the Major League Eating (MLE) Eater Rankings, BB, his MLE bib sheet states, "is a combination of jaw strength and experience", having "placed in watermelon and downed an impressive 47 chicken nuggets at a Madison Square Garden match against Tim Janus and Sonya Thomas".

And he's also pretty proficient with pickles, knocking back 2.7 lbs (1.2 kg) of kosher dills in six minutes to cement his crown as the world pickle eating king.

"I won the title in May 2002," BB explains.

"It was a NYC-based title which took place at the Carnegie Deli, hosted by Guardian Angel/radio personality Curtis Sliwa."

"However, it was non-sanctioned by the [International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE), viz MLE] but drew a Nathan's-like crowd."

"Hey, the Big Apple always draws a crowd."

"The reigning champ at the time, Krazy Kevin," he continues, "was set to defend his title but he wanted to defend it against the best and the best eaters at that time were Cookie Jarvis, Badlands Booker and Charles Hardy."

"I was considered like a 50-1 shot to win."

"Guess what, I shook up the world and took 'em all to the cleaners."

"Two years [later] IFOCE held their own pickle eating contest in which I would go up against Krazy Kev in a one-on-one title rally."

"I took care of him as well."

"I am proud of those two titles and I have both trophies on my bedroom dresser."


DESTROYER OF NOODLES
So what made BB enter the arena of alimentary athleticism in the first place?

Was it a calling?

A vocation?

Or just an overwhelming desire to eat a lot of pickles?

"I have been eating competitively since 1997," BB reports, revealing that he first threw his hat into the ring after noticing "a big sign at Nathan's restaurant in Oceanside, NY with a huge poster of Uncle Sam".

So there you go.

It was his patriotic duty!

Perhaps.

"George Shea [MLE chairman and boater-wearing MC par excellence] actually gave me motivation to continue by staying in contact with me during the early years in the hope he could start a competitive eating organisation."

"I was not a very good eater in the beginning and kind of inhibited and reserved but the rest is history."

"I did very well in pasta and watermelon, finishing third in both contests in 2004," he notes.

Moreover, "when it comes to noodles", BB is "destructive".

"Basically, I will eat anything but some foods just don't sit well with me in competition, like hot dogs and wings."

"I love both for pleasure but it seems that I just can't cut the mustard and do heavy damage in those food categories."

Fifteen, he says, is his "max in dogs"; 2.5 lbs when it comes to wings.

Which is still quite a lot when you think about it.

I'd chuck then choke on my own chyme if I did half that in twice the time.

Nasty.

But a pretty rock'n'roll way to go nonetheless.


TAKE THAT AND PARTY!
According to deeply philosophical boy band Take That, "everything changes but you", but what about the only sport that matters?

Has competitive eating changed much in the time BB has been competing and writing about it or was Robbie Williams just singing out of his 50s tea towel holder?

"Competitive eating has really come into its own over the past eight years," BB says.

"The Sheas had the financial backing and struck gold."

"I actually thought it wouldn't last two years but if you have the money to invest and a product that the people enjoy, it could last forever."

Too right, although when it comes to BB's favourite gurgitators, "they come and go", he says.

"I like A Train Ostoff, Brian Dudlight, Mayor Koch and of course the notorious one, Bob Shoudt."

"Ed 'Cookie' Jarvis was a big motivation for me when he competed."

"My goal was to kick his ass on a frequent basis but I was lucky enough to accomplished that once and I didn't win by much."

One constant name on BB's list of favourite food fighters, though, is the one-man buffet-busting machine that is 'Big' Brian Subich (whose son Nick has just signed a deal to play football (the American sort, not the one where you use you feet) with Lock Haven University, so well done, Nick (if we've read your dad's Twitter feed right).

"Brian Subich keeps me motivated because of his devotion to football and his desire to be the best and beat the best even though he has yet to win a title in his nine years in competition."

"If and when he wins a title, look out cause he ain't givin' it back."

During his career as a face-stuffing scribe BB must have amassed a fair old whack of experience, so has he got any advice for the Rake & Herald's nine-hundred billion four-hundred and sixty-two cherished and beloved readers out there?

Yes, as a matter of fact.

"Be the best at what you do and don't be afraid to tell it like it is."

"You will live a lot longer by not keeping things bottled up inside."

Wise words indeed.

Unless, of course, you're dealing with roided-up bouncers on a Manchester sink estate.

They'll just kick your head in.


If you haven't done so already, you can check out BB's website here; his Twitter feed here; and his YouTube channel here. Nice one, Brian. Thanks for your answers and sorry that it took us so long to write them up!


If you're a competitive eater and you fancy a profile/interview-thing, drop us an email. Just don't hold your breath. We were meant to run this one sodding months ago and there are still about 80 people we promised to send questions to but haven't. Not that it's our fault, of course. We blame society. Or the economy. Or something. Thatcher probably.




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