Following a spate of recent skintness, I instead directed my time to interviewing a character I think most are more than aware of by now, the unforgettable shoutcaster experience that is United Kingdom Mashed. We did it the old fashioned way: the proper way. Read on xfirefans.

image: mashedSo then sir, for the unfortunate people who have not been able to witness your sheer alcohol prowess as displayed in the drinking taverns of Poznan, perhaps you could give us xfirepeople an insight into to who the 'real' Mashed is? I imagine there are plenty of stories about rugby gangbangs and titilation using globles of honey...

Fond memories of Guinness and a Mexican afterburner! Ok well the basics: my name is Benjamin Carter, I'm 15 from Leicester, UK, but you will probably know me better as Mashed. My hobbies, not including casting include hanging out with friends, battling my way through education and of course being a avid rugby fan of the Leicester Tigers, also playing rugby for Leicester Forest as captain of the under-16s age. As you can somewhat see from the pic from back in November I have blond-ish hair and blue eyes, enjoy being sarcastic, like all types of music and so on.

As you and I both know, your rise predominantly as a shoutcaster in the ET community has been pretty meteoric to say the least. How did that all come about, especially as fast as it did?

Well really, it was down to a bunch of Estonians about six months ago, most notably Mistii and scyter who I was playing with at the time and just hanging around with. They just said to me, "Hey Mashed, why don't you start casting?". As luck would have it, my graphics card fried and I was becoming bored of playing, so I thought 'why not'. With that I then asked them to endure an ETTV game between I believe it was suc6 and cdap oddjob, where I did 1 or 2 pracs on vent with them. Sure it was just vent fun, but well they said I could pull it off. With that I firstly began for casting methods. Initially FlyingDJ tried to help me but I found his methods perhaps too complicated for my blondself. Luckily Mistii had already found me a shoutcasting group to apply to, it was known back then as #Pr3ds.Radio, alongside the likes of Conr4d, Sinuss and Wookash. I dropped a pm asking if they were looking for a English caster, received a short reply of 'yes' - which is then where Wookash with what English skill he had helped me set up with some help of Conr4d and Sinuss. So there I was, all ready to begin casting. Skip forward to the very next day and the game between cdap oddjob and sFx Evil. I would say I was nervous, but I reasoned more or less that I was just somebody trying something, and if it didn't work, then no problem. It seems luckily I did okay at it, I had some positive feedback from some nice people and so I continued. Then about a month later #Pr3ds.Radio merged with what is now where stuff for me really began to kick off. Before I knew it, it was November and I was in Poznan for my first LAN where the atmosphere I felt brought the best out of me, bar some of the interviews with Q4 players 2GD and Cooler, where my first question was something like, "hey, so who are you?". Essentially it could be said that the reason for me casting was down to those who've I spoken to and supported me, because to be honest I can't really accept much responsibility for it myself.

Plenty have tried the casting game, most have failed. How do you react to such messages of support such as being compared alongside TosspoT as a caster?

It's nice to know that I'm appreciated. Pretty much from the beginning I knew it would be hard to compete with someone who has been around for such a long time like Stuart, but in everything I do I always set high goals to make me work harder. I went out there casting for myself, to try something new; having such positive feedback is a bonus on-top, although it is much appreciated and makes me realise I am doing something worthwhile. Yet it's hard to compare shoutcasters for their unique styles and voice.

One of the strongest moments that will stay with me from the PGA LAN was the sheer passion and drama you infused into your coverage of the latter stages. I regret I was ordering pizza in earlier moments. Can you describe the emotions you experience during such a intense cast; it must be something of a whirlwind...

It's hard to describe, mostly I create myself simply to put into the cast. I have always been interested in war scenarios and areas like that: most people will know me for screaming at almost everything and speaking fast, simply to capture the pace and the emotions between the teams at the time. The players are rushing, so the spectators should also. Its a constant battle against the clock and I think being a caster should be no exception to that, as you will know when sitting with me and of course when I accidentally salivated over Conr4d...sorry once again mate!

Would you say it takes a certain person to become a commentator of action events, or is the task something that can be taken up with enough practice?

My look on things is that anybody can do almost anything if they have the passion and focus to do so. Practice is merely perfection, but what really starts you is that desire to get going, to try something new and continue it for yourself. Having people enjoy what you do is merely a added bonus to the joy of doing something you like.

And for you personally, has casting always been an ambition? Perhaps it could lead to a career at some point: one only has to look at examples such as your colleague FlyingDJ at GIGA...

No it hasn't really been a long ambition, very recent in fact. I'm unsure of it being a career, although it is an option. However I am after what my dad currently does at the moment. If I work hard at school now, I'd like to get the most out of it. One possibility for me is after my A-Levels I could take a gap year and maybe travel to Cologne to see the kinda stuff they do.

I hear you've had some pressure on the 'old home front to leave gaming on hold for a while. How's the studying going?

Ah, I'd say it's going irritably well. I whine about it, but I asked my parents to make me do it because I knew I wouldn't for myself; I'd rather be casting etcetera. Without trying to sound arrogant, I think I'm a smart kid who can achieve a lot, I have the focus but not the sort of concentration span to study my ass off. I would study by myself, but not enough, so to be honest I'm glad I'm taking a break to focus harder.

I'm interested in your stance on what tends to become known as 'RL'. Being a keen sportsman and gamer at the same time tends to suggest you are able to draw a sensible line in the sand at where to stop. Is this the case, and what do you think about those who arguably neglect their social interaction by playing videogames like ET in the majority of their spare time?

Well it's their choice. People can make their own choices, I only hope for them that it is the 'right' one and they feel they made the right choice, everybody has a different style and view upon life. Most people don't like rugby!

How about taboos. On one hand you see players being paid in the big games, globe trotting radio casters and no-expenses-spared LANs, but then again you would hardly impress that girl you fancy three doors down (yes, I know!). Is gaming really a subject which will ever gain mainstream approval?

Well actually some girls and friends at school actually listen to my casts and enjoy it for the music and to hear me do it! They have no idea what's going on but they still listen strangely enough. Even my dad will sit behind me to listen, which some would say is maybe 'sad' but really it shows that people are interested in this, especially people whom I thought wouldn't be such as rugby team mates. But in all honesty, gaming is around all the place mainly on the consoles that kids have, so why should it not go mainstream if theres public interest?

Now then, after your exams, what's the plan? Pick up where you left off in ET, or are there greater dreams?

Wow, I honestly haven't really thought about that. It's tough, it'll be around July when my exams end. It will be summer by then, and I intend to come back, I invested a lot of time to get where I am today and I feel I can get better. ET is dying, I hate to admit it but I will come back to cast it simply because its a unique game, constant flowing fast fragging action, yet also I believe I will branch out into CounterStrike and some other games out there. Its always a challenge which I am willing to accept.

For my next question, please describe in as graphic detail as you can manage, the expression that came over Hatred's face upon trying his first Guinness.

He was absolutely disgusted, I believe he really did regret accepting your offer for him to try some, he looked like he was going to be ill, but I'm sure he liked it really and within the next hour or so was happily sipping away at two or three pints of the stuff.

Let me show you a room. This is a room where anything goes, where whine is not whine, it is opinion, and we do not let any people shout any silly words that include the following or variants of the following: 1st, LOL, ask perfo, d2a, stfu nub, etc. Pretty nice huh? How would you deal with our culture: keep it the way it is, or throw the bastard into room 101?

Smooth! What makes the community great is the people, its a type of culture I've come to get used to like some sort of online family as it were. Maybe to actually get some new jokes to replace the 'HighBot' and 'Ask Perfo' stuff wouldn't go amiss.

Let's wrap this up. Does TosspoT really warrant all the praise levelled at him: "the saviour of the community", or does he overshadow those behind the scene, the lubrication - if you will accept my hopefully suggestive sexual pun - that keeps the whole great machine working? Remember I offer witness protection.

Well in all fairness TosspoT deserves a lot of the credit he receives, he does a hell of a lot for the community like so many others. There are those whom I feel are not applauded enough for their efforts such as the crew and numerous other people.

And as you sit in your designated 2 hours for GCSE English, what memories will you have taken away from your time in ET thus far?

A lot. Firstly kicking your arse in a guinness drinking contest my friend, next of course the PGA - my first LAN where I had such a good time. Meeting people such as the guys from zeropoint, cdap Pi, FearFactory and the Netrunners, getting to know all the people who keep this community going, the players, the admins, the moviemakers, absolutely everything. I shall always remember my first cast where cdap oddjob defeated sFx Evil 4:2 on Adlernest with 20 secs or so left only to then be defeated by the same opponent within the next few days, also my cast of The Last Resort vs Impact, fragstealing from coffin in a mix to get more kills than him (don't hurt me) and this interview. In general: everything!

You can have your obligatory shout outs, for I am a kind soul.

Where to begin. Firstly you of course Oliver sir for your time and humour. Those who have helped me through the months on the casting side of things: TosspoT, Stewie, Zolex, FlyingDJ. Everybody from teams Tlr (amenti), Polar, Pi, Zeropoint, NetRunners, FearFactory and lastly where they put up with my standing MG42.
I'll keep these short but for others: spho for your kind words and motivation and pretty much for being a nice guy, Darky for helping my dad understand the world of esports, Overdrive for helping me look at what people are doing in the community, Anaconda and NightRaver for being great guys, the Italian stallions xylos and danone for their surrport, Hatred for having the balls to try the guinness, the inventor of coke zero for providing drinks which keep my throat from falling apart, snd multigaming's seek, raged, vinyl, fuzz, officer, hazer, melkor and, yes, coffin, for being great guys along with 4I. Last but not least Mistii and Scyter for persuading me to give casting a try and a mention also to Conr4d, KonradM, Sinuss and my blond bro' Wookash for their help over the months, their support and for being great guys both online and at PGA, and the people who are the principal the reason I started and kept casting.

And now for a concluding conversation.

Minge or fringe


Hot sauce or sex, this is a toughie

Well, to be honest, im a virgin, so hot sauce. Humiliation!

Speaking clock or the churchill dog

Very tough, the phone from lombard direct

Velcro bras or winning the lottery

Velco bras - cheaper and quicker

Seeing an eldery woman getting blown over by the wind or doing it yourself

Doing it yourself - greater sense of accomplishment

Puking on a bouncer or the girl you're hitting on

Not puking at all

Wimp! Let it all out son

Nah im just polite and sanitary

Ahh you'll learn

I would much rather save it for a fight or something when they go to punch me I can puke in their eyes!

Hmm, a good strategy..

Sneaky yet effective, someone did it to me in rugby once.