Sunday, July 03, 2016

THINGS FROM THE PAST...

GAZING BACK OVER OLD PHOTOGRAPHS...


Hello beasties!

Yes... The baby is me! By my side is my best friend, at the time, Panda... What a wonderful first friend he was to have! I was a lucky kid... I think I'm the only person I know who actively used to insist on showing his school friends his baby photos whenever they came over for tea.

ANYWAY! Before we go anywhere I must just let you know about two new podcast episodes - one of mine, but more importantly there is that new episode of THE SMELLCAST that I feature in... I've mentioned it before and I'm terribly excited about it!

SC 414 There's A Shy Yeti On the Telephone

Toppie interviews Paul Chandler, the Shy Yeti  Plus Listener Interaction and Stick It Out Your Backdoor. The Shy Life Podcast can be found on iTunes, as well as a number of other podcasting locations eg: Acast!

Write to Toppie at Smellcast@aol.com. Leave a comment on Toppie’s blog. Follow him on Twitter (as @Smellcast) and on Google+. Look at kooky stuff on smellcast.tumblr.com.

https://smellcast.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/sc-414-theres-a-shy-yeti-on-the-telephone/

I even feature in Listener Interaction and Stick It Out Your Backdoor! It's a real yeti-filled episode!!

There is a second episode coming up in a week or so too! More on that when it happens. Anyway, until then episode 414 is a really fun episode to listen to - so do! Yes, I know, I would say that!




The other podcast that I want to mention is a new episode of THE SHY LIFE PODCAST... 
THE SHY LIFE PODCAST - 7:
I JUST CALLED - TO SAY... SHY YETI!!

Here we are for episode SEVEN!! This time Mr Yeti catches up with an old friend over the phone and shares a couple of dark stories from his blog. Yeti Uncle John finds himself lost and Dameus Twinklehorn has a challenging new role! Not only that but we're back in vinyl vault, hear what Mr Yeti carries around with him and also say a quick hello to an old guest-star! All that and we've a funky (and slightly awful) new tune to dance around the living room to! Thanks again to my special guests this episode - we'll be back again soon - hopefully in the next week to 10 days... Please email me at shyyeti@yahoo.co.uk if you have any comments. The music was by Shy Yeti. This episode and all contents are Copyright Paul Chandler, 2016. Episode 7 was recorded between the 21st and the 23rd June 2016.

You can access the show on iTunes and Acast - or also on Soundcloud...


During my Shy Yeti sketch set in Amsterdam last week I posted some clean-shaven photos of me from around 1998, give or take a year. They were behind the scenes shots taken in black and white by my friend Lee F., during the filming of a series of SUTTON PARK episodes from around that time. I don't actually have that many photos from this period, as I was always so busy behind the camera filming or in front of it showing off; but these pictures are an exception. Here is a link to that post to remind you of the photos that I mean - scroll down to the bottom, to where the script is:

http://thedaffypoet.blogspot.co.uk/2016_06_26_archive.html

Anyway, using these photos on the post gave me the idea to post a number of screen-grabs that I took whilst recording sound clips from old S.P. episodes for the podcast recently. I present them here and have also written a little piece to go with it... The photos are coming up, but firstly I'll try and explain the context of them and roughly when these episodes were filmed...

Most of them are from different episodes of Sutton Park - the ones where I have a goatee are from May 1996 - there are also a couple of me clean-shaved from even earlier (around 1994). Mixed up in all these there is also a photo of our cats Panda and Poppy which was taken in the late 80s or early 90s. Poppy is the grey one and she was my cat when I was growing up - she came to live with us as a kitty around the time of my 4th birthday in 1977. She was a lovely cat and used to "bump heads" to show her affection - she'd also come to see what was wrong if you were upset; I nicknamed her "my second mum". The last two photos here are of me from more recently - the one of me standing by the sea, was taken in San Francisco around the time of my 30th birthday in 2003 and the very bottom one is from September 2007, when I was in Dublin at the Guinness Museum.

For those of you who are interested I have also done a brief post over on my Sutton Park blog-site: www.suttonpark.blogspot.com It's the first one I've done there in six years and over there you'll find some of the photos from this post, alongside shots of some of the other stars of the episodes that I have recently been reviewing.

Anyway... Enjoy! Shy Yeti in the 1990s - before he had even earned that particular nick-name!!



















It's been fun to return to these old Sutton Park episodes as although I made a lot of videos between 1992 and 2000 when I was making the original series, I didn't have that many stills from these videos and so it's nice to take screen-grabs to be able to share with you now. It also led to me writing this week's prose piece which is all about looking back at old photos, although in this case the "story" is written from the point of view of somebody who is ageing backwards - from old to young. It's an idea that's been done by other people before, in different ways, but this is my chance to play around with the idea.


Next post it'll be time to start discussing July's Poetry Café show which is getting excitingly close now. July's going to end up quite a busy month, with more podcast episodes and further Shy Yeti scripts, amongst other things.

More soon!

Yeti hugs,

Paul xx


P.S. I came up with the idea for this prose piece around the 5th May 2016 and have been working on it on and off since then - with a lot of the work done on it the week before this post.

P.P.S. The illustration that follows was done by my friend Lee F back in 1996 - it's an illustration of the nick-name I gave him when I christened him my "creative gnu" rather than guru... I wrote a poem entitled that a few years back now - I really should dig it out to perform at my show!

WHEN TIME MAKES YOU YOUNGER...


There is life -
But for him it is almost over...

There he sits - alone...
A figure in the last years of a long life...
He had been born at the age of 87... 
Ever since he had been getting younger by the year...

Consider it...
A world where time makes you younger...
It is natural here...
It is the same for everyone...

There he sits - in silent contemplation...
It is rare that he gets any time to himself these days; 
For he has recently reached toddler-hood - 
Under constant observation by nannies and family members...
He will grow even more dependent as time moves on...
He will become a baby...
His memories finally fading...

Looking back across the years...
How strange it is to see himself so long ago...
So old and wrinkled...
So different to how he looks now...
Peering out of the photos with a kind of confused wisdom...
As if he, accurately as it happens,
Didn't know quite where he was...
Now, it seems that life had begun,
Just before he had lost his wife.
Beryl had kept him company through many a year...
They had begun distant -
Growing closer as the years receded.
He watched as she grew younger -
They both did, but she had been that much younger than him...
It had been fascinating to see the changes -
To witness the ravages of time slowly relaxing themselves...
She had made a good mother;
At first, independent they had grown into children...
But they are gone now - it has been years...
Soon it will be his turn...
The years that remain for him are turning to months...
He already knows the date of his departure -
For that is determined by the age he was when he arrived...
Back at his death - when everything began...

Beyond the house the world runs backwards - 
The planet grows younger...
Technology regresses and wars undo themselves...
It is just how things are...
Turning the pages one last time...
He closes the book...
It annoys him that he must rest...
His ability to read is rapidly slipping away...
Maybe somebody will come and read him a story -
And then it will be time for his afternoon nap...
He gets so tired these days;
Now that time is short...

Life -
Where the end is actually just the beginning...
And where the beginning now clearly signals the end...
Life... Now it is nearly over...

All contents of this post are Copyright, Paul Chandler 2016.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

AMSTER-DAMMIT!! ANOTHER SHY YETI SKETCH!!

ACTING THE SHY YETI WAY...

Hello beasties!

This week I'm going to share with you another Shy Yeti sketch - this one set in Amsterdam... This one being semi-inspired by my trip to that city back in late May, early June this year...

But first - I have details of another episode of THE SHY LIFE PODCAST. Episode 6 is now available - with the first half of Harry's interview and the Nice sketch amongst other things - details, as follows:

THE SHY LIFE PODCAST...
6: SHY YETI PROUDLY PRESENTS...

In which Mr Yeti presents a short play and we hear part 2 of his chat with School-Chum Harry!

Here we are for episode SIX!! This time we see what happens when Shy Yeti is asked to write a musical, both Dameus and Yeti Uncle John return to update us on their goings on... This time Harry is back to complete our chat and we discuss night's out on the town and holidays we have shared all over the world. I also enthuse about an old movie that I just discovered and plunge back into the vinyl vault to see what is lurking down there! Thanks again to Harry for speaking with me - we'll be back again soon - hopefully in the next week to 10 days... Please email me at shyyeti@yahoo.co.uk if you have any comments. The music was by Shy Yeti. This episode and all contents are Copyright Paul Chandler, 2016. Episode 6 was recorded between the 13th and the 19th June 2016.

Soundcloud link: https://soundcloud.com/shyyeti/the-shy-life-podcast-6-shy-yeti-proudly-presents

This episode can also be downloaded from iTunes, Acast and also directly from libsyn.

This post, I also have the last of my photos from the trip to share with you, by way of setting the scene...

A GALLERY OF AMSTERDAM...

I posted a fair few photos in my previous blog post on this trip - but there are still a few more that I have to share with you.

http://thedaffypoet.blogspot.co.uk/2016_06_05_archive.html

This week's photos are what remains from that trip and were taken over the course of the holiday - I took a fair few considering that I was laid up in bed sick for two days.



In further news I am excited to announce that the first episode of my two episode chat with Toppie Smellie on his show THE SMELLCAST is due to be posted any day now. Episode 414 should be up this week, with the next episode (and part two of our chat) going up sometime during July.

You can find THE SMELLCAST episodes at: 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-smellcast/id500846681?mt-2 

If I have any more detail then I'll share it with you next time.

In addition to this I also got a quite lengthy mention on episode 311 of GREETINGS FROM NOWHERE this week where my application to become a Minion was discussed. Was it accepted? You'll have to listen!! The episode, entitled Gustopher Jones, can be found at:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/greetings-from-nowhere/id359335092?mt=2

Next time we will be moving on to other matters - there will either be a prose piece, another yeti sketch or stuff about my Poetry Cafe show... There may even be two out of three of these things; you'll just have to wait and see!

More soon!

Yeti hugs,

Paul xx

P.S. I began work on SHY YETI THE FILM STAR on Tuesday 10th May 2016 and completed it after my return from Amsterdam - working on it for another week or so until the 10th June 2016. I continued proofing and tweaking it after that until posting it today.

P.P.S. I'd like to record some chatty pieces referring to the stories in THE SHY YETI SKETCHBOOK, so that I can include them in future THE SHY LIFE PODCAST episodes; after all - they're here on the blog for free and so there's no problem with anyone who wants getting access to read them.

SHY YETI THE FILM STAR...


SETTING: Shy Yeti is in his agent's office - his agent, Douglas Petite is a field mouse with a very quiet voice and Shy has to really persevere to hear what he is saying... It would really pay Shy to listen carefully today, however, because Petite has some good news for him...

DOUGLAS: (sternly)

Now listen Shy... I know you haven't done any acting in a while...

SHY: (sounding relaxed)

Sure... Sure... Well, you seem to forget - I was never really an actor - I just fell into that by accident...

DOUGLAS: (enthusiastically)

You do yourself a disservice - have you really forgotten how popular you were in that BEAST OF FRIENDS TV show... They're always asking if you'll come back to star in that again - although I think it's a spin-off of the original show that they're making these days...

SHY: (vague)

Yes... Yes... KENSINGTON GRRR or something, isn't it?

DOUGLAS: (lowering his voice needlessly)

Gore... Yes... There's also another one called HOT STUFF!! which I always imagine must be terribly rude - but it's actually just about a family of phoenixes who live in a library...

SHY: (rather cheesily)

It sounds kind of sweet - is it a cartoon?

DOUGLAS: (impatiently)

I don't think so, no... Anyway! As I say I know you're trying to focus on your writing - but you were very popular when you were acting... So, I just thought...

SHY: (interrupting) 

People liked to hate me, you mean... Remember - I was a villain... That's all very well when there's a script and you're playing a part - but the stuff I was doing was all ad-lib and I used my own name... People started to think that it was me - that I really was a a piece of work like I appeared to be on the show...

DOUGLAS: (trying to play down Shy's suspicions)

I'm sure they didn't - not really...

SHY: (grumpily)

You say that, but you're not me! An old lady hit me around the head with her hand-bag and then set her labradoodles on me...

DOUGLAS: (trying not to sound too impatient)

Unfortunate - but flattering in a way...

SHY: (confused)

In what way, exactly?

DOUGLAS: (beaming, trying to remaining positive)

Recognition!

SHY: (not best impressed)

Well, those labradoodles certainly recognised how tasty my ankles were...

DOUGLAS: (snapping)

I think we're rather getting off the point here, Shy... I have a film offer here that you simply can't ignore...

SHY: (showing proper interest for the first time)

Film you say? Not just TV...

DOUGLAS: (encouraging)

No... It's definitely a film... A horror movie, I think... It's a supporting role - but it's a good part...

SHY: (excitedly)

Oh! I enjoy a good horror film - a good part, you say? So, is there a script? Have you seen it?

DOUGLAS: (slightly awkwardly)

Well, to be honest, no... I actually think that a lot of it will be ad-lib - it's why they wanted you - they know you're up to it...

SHY: (suddenly unsure)

An ad-libbed horror film? Really? Sounds a bit artsy.. I'm a little wary now; I'm not sure I fancy that... Will there be doughnuts, do you know?

DOUGLAS: (growing frustrated once again)

I'm not sure - but I'm sure there will be; there's bound to be some kind of catering facilities... Come on, Shy... Consider it... There are some good names attached to it; Terrance Stampede is directing... He acts too!

SHY: (vaguely interested again)

Yes... Yes... I know that! He was in one of my BEAST episodes... Buffalo-guy... Loud... Opinionated!

DOUGLAS: (attempting to fan the sparks of enthusiasm)

That's him... He has an award, you know! Veronica Crisp is in it too - aren't you a bit of a fan of hers?

SHY: (sounding quite impressed)

Well, yes... Yes, I am... I actually have a framed poster of her in my living room - I loved her films in the 90s - I didn't know she was still in the business... She was quite a looker in her day - if you like lady yeti, I mean... She must be 100 if she's a day...

DOUGLAS: (distracted as he files through some papers)

Not quite, but not far off... Let me think; who else is in it... Ever heard of Dameus Twinkle-horn? He was in quite a lot of classic horror films in the 70s and 80s...

SHY: (chuckling)

He must be pretty ancient by now too...

DOUGLAS: (nodding, smiling)

I think he probably is... Still, he wears it well... He's probably the main person in your scene, so you should probably read up on him...

SHY: (mutters)

That's if I even say yes to appearing in it...

DOUGLAS: (frustrated, disappointed)

Oh, Shy! Don't say no, without thinking about it... Just take a look at how much they're willing to offer you? (he pushes a piece of paper across the desk at Shy which has the amount of his fee on it.)

SHY: (raising his eyebrows in surprise)

REALLY!? ...And is this in pounds, Euros, dollars or pies?

DOUGLAS: (vague, then more certain)

Pies, I think... No... It's definitely pies!

SHY: (mutters, almost to himself)

WOW!! I'm actually impressed!

DOUGLAS: (smiling, for he can see that Shy is now hooked on the idea)

Did I mention that your scenes are to be filmed in Amsterdam?

SHY: (almost bouncing up and down in his seat, with excitement)

What? Really? No... Oh! Fantastic!

DOUGLAS: (encouraging)

So, you'll do it? Come on... It's only a few days... You're not the star, I'm afraid - but it's a good cameo!

SHY: (wistfully)

Hmm... Too much to expect, I suppose... Ah... Okay! Okay! Yes... I'll do it... If only for the chance to meet Veronica Crisp... I wonder if she'll sign my fur for me...

DOUGLAS: (content, almost fatherly)

Errr... Yes... I'm sure she will if you ask nicely... Still... Don't act too star-struck... You're meant to be acting on an equal billing... Maybe you'll even get to go to dinner with her or something...

SHY'S EYES LIGHT UP, HE NODS AND THEN ENTHUSIASTICALLY SIGNS THE CONTRACT TO DO THE FILM... A FEW WEEKS GO BY AND SHY ARRIVES ON SET IN AMSTERDAM ON THE FIRST DAY OF FILMING... HE IS SURPRISED HOW SMALL A CREW THERE IS - ONLY A HANDFUL OF ACTORS HAVING BEEN REQUIRED FOR THESE PARTICULAR SCENES... HE QUICKLY RECOGNISES THE BUFFALO ACTOR TERRANCE STAMPEDE WHO IS BOTH ACTING AND DIRECTING THE FILM; HE SEEMS DISTRACTED...

SHY: (surprised / impressed)

So, Terrence... You're acting in this AND directing it, right?

TERRANCE: (proudly/smugly)

Yes, yes... It happens all the time these days - it's hard work but ultimately it's a challenge that I feel up to after all my years in the acting game... I play Ludo McAbbott... He's one of the leads... Obviously!

SHY: (slightly mocking, without realising it)

It's a bit of a silly name though? Did you name him that or was it the writer? Writers can be a bit daft sometimes, can't they? Maybe you can get it changed?

TERRANCE: (indignantly)

AM the writer, Yeti... I don't want to change the name! My grandmother was a McAbbott...

SHY:

But LUDO!? That's just weird!

TERRANCE:

It was grandma's favourite board game... Do you have an issue with this or something?

SHY: (apologetically)

No... No... Not at all! You're doing a grand job! You must have so much to think about too... Isn't it hard to do acting and directing at the same time?

TERRANCE: (not especially tactfully)

It is... It's even harder to act, direct and speak to talentless, yet cheap actor morons who should consider themselves lucky that they got employed at the last minute because their predecessor drinks too much and was last seen floating down the Thames dressed as Cleopatra on the back of an especially converted number 73 bus...  In my experience the actor-morons really ought to be learning their lines but persist on bothering me... It all happens and they never know their words. I do! But then I have my lines etched inside my contact lens' because I'm both the star and the director and get to say exactly what is what!

SHY: (lowering his voice, misunderstanding)

So you are, Tel old thing... So, these actor-morons? I don't suppose you always get to pick who you work with on these things - you can't be involved with every single aspect of casting...

TERRANCE; (regretfully)

Or sometimes you're doing a favour for an old friend who metaphorically knows where you buried the bodies...

SHY: (chuckling)

Ha! Funny... Still, I suppose you can't expect to get on with them all... So, who is it? Can you say?

TERRANCE: (gritting his teeth)

I'd rather not...

SHY: (oblivious that Terrance's original insult was levelled at him)

Do I know him? It is a him, I take it? It's not Miss Crisp, I take it?

TERRANCE: (bluntly)

No, love... Veronica is a joy to work with... But as for whether you know this especially annoying actor then the answer is undoubtedly YES!!

SHY: (nostalgic)

Golly... Ah well! It's bound to happen... So... Do you remember when we worked together on that telly show? It must be several years ago now...

TERRANCE: (without humour)

Mercifully, yes...

SHY: (dismissively)

Do you remember? It was that BEAST OF FRIENDS telly series that that they made... Only lasted a season, I think...

TERRANCE: (distantly)

Three... And a movie. I was in all of them - but then I was one of the main cast...

SHY: (sounding slightly hurt)

Yes... Of course... Three series and a movie, you say?! Really? Maybe I just wasn't asked back...

TERRANCE: (keen to get Shy out of the way)

It's possible... It's not like you were needed every week.... Anyway, Shy dear - introduce yourself to Veronica... Today, we're going to film the scenes where she's being stalked and you help her out...

SHY: (surprised)

Right now?

TERRANCE: (impatiently)

In a mo... Yes... Like I say, you've time to introduce yourself...

SHY: (sounding vague)

And who's playing the stalker? Is it you?

TERRANCE: (sounding campishly butch, exaggerating it on a bit)

No love... I'm the Policeman... The detective... The killer is played by an extra - at least in these scenes where you don't see his face... He hasn't got any lines... I'm not sure I even remember his name... Why don't you ask him? Considering he'll be as good as murdering you before the end of the day...

SHY: (slightly unnerved)

Oh... I suppose you're right - he will be... That's not a very nice way of putting it though, Tel... I feel a bit odd about it, to be honest. Look, I'll leave you to it and go and have a word with Veronica...

SHY YETI LEAVES BEHIND A GRATEFUL-LOOKING TERRANCE AND HURRIES ACROSS THE COBBLES TO MAKE HIS INTRODUCTIONS TO MISS CRISP... SHE IS A RATHER BEDRAGGLED LOOKING YETI - DUE TO A MESS OF COSMETIC SURGERY IT IS HARD TO TELL WHETHER SHE IS 50, 60, 70 OR EVEN IN HER 80S - MAYBE SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN...

(excitedly) Hello! Hello! It's so lovely to meet you, Miss Crisp! I'm a big fan!

VERONICA: (slightly wearily)

Ah well - they all say that...

SHY: (brightly)

It's because they mean it...

VERONICA: (distracted)

Well, of course... Where are the biscuits?

SHY: (confused)

I'm sorry?

VERONICA: (disapproving)

Well, don't you have a tea urn and some biscuits...

SHY: (channelling his inner-Paddington Bear)

I have a bar of chocolate inside my left sock - although I think it's beginning to melt - you may not fancy a nibble - but you'd be welcome to share it with you!

VERONICA: (disgusted)

I don't want chocolate that's been skulking in your hot left sock, thank you very much!

SHY: (eager to please)

Oh well... Well, I'm sure there must be a van serving sandwiches and burgers or something - there usually are on shoots like this - I'm sure you know that...

VERONICA: (a little disgruntled)

Well yes... Of course I do! I presumed you were from that van come to get my order!

SHY: (slightly put-out)

Who? Me? Oh... Goodness, no... I'm one of your co-stars...

VERONICA: (surprised)

YOU are!? Goodness... This really is a cheap production, isn't it? What has my career come to? Still, I guess that says more about me than you - this is probably a step-up for you, am I right?

SHY: (trying not to cry)

I beg your pardon? I'm not a complete amateur, you known...

VERONICA: (misunderstanding him)

Don't worry - you'll make it there eventually, I'm sure... It's just that you don't look very much like an actor is all I was saying...

SHY: (finding himself becoming sarcastic)

Oh! Well... What do I look like? Some kind of rug or warm fur coat?

VERONICA: (beginning to lose interest)

Now you're just being silly, dear...

SHY: (growing bolder)

I'll have you know that I was taught be one of the best...

VERONICA: (amused)

Don't tell me? Charlie Grrr... I expect he told you to tell everybody you met that too!

SHY: (bemused)

Why YES! However did you know?

VERONICA: (sympathetically)

Call it a sixth sense, handsome... I'm sorry... That bear is such a self-publicist! Anyway, I'm sure I'm sounding very rude... I do apologise if I've upset you... It tends to be what I do best unfortunately!

SHY: (somewhat muted)

Not really... I realise that Charlie does have a certain... reputation!

VERONICA: (now sounding more friendly)

Does he EVER! Shall we start again, my dear? So who are you again?

SHY: (proudly)

Shy Yeti is my name... I'm probably better known as a poet, to be fair - an occasional journalist and writer; I sort of fell into acting...

VERONICA: (gently mocking)

Did you now? Most people fall into wet or muddy things - sometimes bubbling cauldrons - trust you to fall into acting... I jest, of course - although I never read poetry... Nobody bothers to rhyme any more! Poets have grown so lazy!

SHY: (keen to spread the word)

I rhyme! Pretty much always, actually...

VERONICA: (slightly more interested)

Really? Oh, well maybe I should take a look... (changing the subject) So who are you playing? My husband? My brother? (sounding horrified) Not my son?

SHY: (helpfully, slightly vague)

I don't think we're related in any way, actually... You're being stalked and I help you out and then get fatally poked in the ribs with a sharpened cucumber - or something like that... I spilt coffee on my copy of the script and it was a bit difficult to read the last page......

VERONICA: (kindly)

Oh dear... Never mind! You can share mine... Stalked, you say - yes, that sounds familiar... Well, it's nice to meet you, Shy... Charlie Grrr, aye? You should take what he says with a pinch of salt...

SHY: (reflecting back)

Oh, believe me... I do... Still... He has been quite a help at times...

VERONICA: (chuckling)

Just as long as he didn't get you to sell your soul to his bank balance... (looking a bit distant) Aye-up... Here comes trouble... I'm sorry... I need to get to make-up... Why don't you meet your killer?!

SHY: (briefly and then realising what is meant)

My what!? Oh... The actor you mean, at least I hope that's what you mean...

VERONICA HURRIES AWAY, JUST AS A SLIGHTLY SINISTER-LOOKING GENT APPROACHES - HE IS A VERY WELL-DRESSED, MIDDLE-AGED MAN - BUT THE SMARTNESS DOESN'T SUIT HIM; HE LOOKS LIKE HE WOULD BE FAR MORE AT HOME IN A JUNK YARD...

DAMEUS: (chirpily)

Good afternoon! Good afternoon! Dameus Twinkle-horn at your service... So, you're the victim, are you? That would make you Shy Yeti!

SHY: (slightly awkwardly)

It would, wouldn't it - and yes, I am the victim and you're the one stalking me...

DAMEUS: (carrying on quite casually)

...And ripping your guts out with a badly sharpened pair of chop-sticks, yes!?

SHY: (distracted)

Is that the way it goes? I can't bear to read it... Anyway, it's most pleasant to meet you...

DAMEUS: (clearly enthused)

So kind! I'm so excited! I have a mask and everything! It looks a bit like one of those C-PAP machines that people have to wear when they don't breathe well when they sleep...

SHY: (delicately)

Only a little more sinister, I hope...

DAMEUS: (confirming)

Oh... Quite... Yes! Yes! Much more sinister!

SHY: (disapproving, but with a chuckle)

A friend of mine had one of those machines - she would insist on eating biscuits when she was wearing it - refused to remove the thing and in the end all the crumbs blocked up the pipe and she had to get it replaced...

DAMEUS: (curious)

Couldn't they just have rinsed them out? The biscuits, I mean...

SHY: (slightly sadly)

No... Sadly not... They all turned solid... The crumbs even found their way into the filter; ruined the whole machine...

DAMEUS: (positive, offering his hand)

How unfortunate... Anyway, Shay... It's good to meet you...

SHY: (correcting him as they shake hands/paws)

It's Shy...

DAMEUS: (with regret)

What is? Oh, you are... Well now, just you stick with me kid - I'll show you the ropes... Not literally, mind - they can't afford decent ropes on this film - all they have is string... You know how it is, Shay!

SHY: (irritated)

SHY!

DAMEUS: (reassuringly)

I know... I know... But it'll pass...

SHY: (trying not to sound rude)

For goodness sake... Listen, I really don't need any help, I can assure you - although it's very kind of you... I've worked on a number of films previously...

DAMEUS: (shocked)

What!? You have!

SHY: (not wishing to boast)

I have, yes... Quite a few... Small roles, obviously...

DAMEUS:

Really!! Well, now... You've surprised me there - I would have sworn that you had the look of a complete amateur - a virgin to the cinema screen...

SHY: (keen to get this information across)

Well, I'm not... The name's Shy by the way - not Shay...

DAMEUS: (mutters)

That's an odd one... Stage name, is it... Yes, I suppose it must be... (Shy tries to interrupt but Dameus continues) A proper actor, huh? More than just school plays...

SHY: (managing to get a word in edgeways)

Indeed... I'm more a poet - at least that's how I started - but I've definitely acted...

DAMEUS: (probing, slightly suspicious)

And I'd have seen you in what, exactly?

SHY: (thinking for a moment before replying)

Umm... Well, did you see any of that BEAST OF FRIENDS series?

DAMEUS: (slightly dismissive, maybe even jealous)

No... Nope... Sorry! I never bothered... I was probably working elsewhere... I heard about it, though - I heard it was good. What were you? One of those witches?

SHY: (doing his best to explain)

There was only one witch - it wasn't me... I played a sort of fictionalised version of myself - I was a journalist gone corrupt... I've been a journalist in real life, so I knew what to do...

DAMEUS: (laughing, a little unkindly)

And you call that acting?

SHY: (defensively and then turning the question on his co-star)

I guess so... I'm not sure... There were lines... Now, listen - where would I know you from?

DAMEUS: (sounding quite egotistical)

At last he asks! It's about time... Funny guy... Pretending he doesn't recognise me...

SHY: (bluntly)

Well, I'm not sure I do...

DAMEUS: (scoffs)

Need your glasses, do you?

SHY: (mocking)

Maybe...

DAMEUS: (ignoring him as he continues)

Well, now... Where would you know me from? Where should I start!? Did you ever see Tickle The Heart Of Dracula?

SHY: (nodding, uncertain)

Err... I think so... That was a while ago now, you were in that?

DAMEUS: (proudly)

I was... It was one of my first roles... The year was 1966 and I played a tree - an oak if you must know... Dracula put a curse on me and I ended up being cruelly felled - at which stage I unexpectedly crushed a passing milk man with my fallen timber...

SHY: (not sure quite what to say)

Goodness... How... dramatic... I didn't realise that you'd been in the business so long...

DAMEUS: (candidly)

People say that all the time... I was a child actor, you know... From the mid-50s onwards... Never leading roles - and then in my late teens and twenties I started to make a living out of it... Mostly.

SHY: (surprised)

I really had no idea that there was so much money in extra-work...

DAMEUS: (lowering his voice)

There isn't; but I get by! However, I prefer to call it Special Features work - roles that others find too...

SHY: (chipping in, confidently)

Mundane?

DAMEUS: (stubbornly)

Challenging...

SHY: (slightly embarrassed)

Aaah!

DAMEUS: (again, proudly)

For instance... A couple of years after the tree-film I played the back end of a horse...

SHY: (innocently)

In Panto?

DAMEUS: (grumpily)

No... It was a movie - a European art horror film, if you will... 1968's Pick The Nose Of Frankenstein...

SHY: (feeling increasingly awkward)

Oh! Right... I think I definitely missed that one... I must try and find it...

DAMEUS: (with regret)

It recently received the Blu-ray treatment... I had hoped that they'd interview me for a documentary or perhaps even call me in for the commentary - but alas, no...

SHY: (keen to get away whilst he can)

A shame... Well, I suppose I ought to take a last look at the script...

DAMEUS: (lowering his voice again)

Ah yes! The script... You need to keep on eye on scripts... They have a way about them... Still, it is to be expected... They are basically trees, after all...

SHY: (trying to humour him)

...And you know a lot about trees, right? You did your research...

DAMEUS: (beginning yet another anecdote)

Oh yes, indeed... Perhaps you've never encountered this - but I have friend's in libraries...

SHY: (his interest growing again for a moment)

Funnily enough, I trained to be a librarian... It's been a while, though...

DAMEUS: (slowly trying to give the story a bit of drama)

Really... Then I'll be surprised if you've not heard of stories like this... About how scripts - or books for that matter - if left out in the rain may begin to sprout new sheets of paper that are covered in text; but not necessarily with pages from the books or scripts that they are growing from...

SHY: (intrigued)

Really? Well, no... No - I'd not heard that, at all...

DAMEUS: (continuing his tale)

It's true... There I was... Trying to learn my lines as second werewolf on the right in 1973's "Howl At Me, Honey" and we were filming in Battersea Park on a wet autumn morning - but then next day the sun had come out... I open my script to check what I needed to learn next - only to find a great chunk of "My Fair Lady" having grown there over night between Act 1, Scene 1 and Act 1, Scene 2... One of the other guys had a page or two from Hamlet in his - although he never even noticed until they'd filmed the scene... What a laugh, aye?!

SHY: (unsure what to make of that)

You don't say! Well, goodness me! (keen to move on) Anyway... I really ought to go look at that script...

SHY HEADS OFF TO FIND SOMEWHERE QUIET TO READ - HE HAS BEEN READING FOR ABOUT HALF AN HOUR WHEN HE BEGINS TO FEEL HUNGRY... LOOKING UP HE CAN SEE THE DIRECTOR STILL TALKING WITH HIS CAMERA TEAM AND SO DECIDES TO TRY AND GET SOME FOOD BEFORE THEY START FILMING - HEADING OFF TO LOCATE THE CATERING VAN. POTTERING DOWN A SIDE ALLEY OFF ONE OF THE CANALS HE HEARS FOOTSTEPS BEHIND HIM AND SWINGS AROUND, EXPECTING TO SEE EITHER VERONICA OR DAMEUS OR SOMEONE ELSE INVOLVED WITH THE FILM - BUT HE SEES NOBODY...

SHY: (confused)

Hello!? Is there anybody there?

SHY SHRUGS, THEN CONTINUES - WORRIED THAT HE IS NOT GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR THE CATERING VAN... HE CAN STILL HEAR FOOTSTEPS BEHIND HIM AND GROWS INCREASINGLY ALARMED - IT IS DUSK AND THERE IS RAIN IN THE AIR... SHY WALKS FASTER - GLIMPSING A FIGURE BEHIND HIM; A FLASH OF METAL - A KNIFE?!

(mutters to self) Why did nobody tell me we'd started filming? That must be it? How strange, though... I thought Veronica was meant to be in this scene... Maybe she'll turn up in a minute...

SHY BREAKS INTO A RUN - NOT WISHING TO SPOIL ANY SHOTS AND CONCERNED THAT HE MIGHT LOOK STRAIGHT INTO A HIDDEN CAMERA... HE IS IN THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT NOW - BUT STILL FEELS VERY MUCH ALONE - THERE IS NO SIGN OF TOURISTS, NOR ANY OF THE INFAMOUS "CUDDLE LADIES" THAT THE CITY IS SO WELL-KNOWN FOR... THE COBBLES GROW SLIPPIER AND AS HE TURNS A CORNER HE FINDS HIMSELF FACING A DEAD-END - BUT HE CAN STILL HEAR HIS PURSUER PURSUING - GETTING EVER CLOSER!

(blurts it out aloud) SO... WHAT NOW!?

JUST AT THAT MOMENT A DOOR OPENS AND AN ARM GRABS HIM - PULLING HIM IN...

(losing all composure) OHHHH! HANDS OFF! WHAT'S GOING ON?

SHY YETI UNEXPECTEDLY FINDS HIMSELF FACING ONE OF THE CUDDLE LADIES - SHE SEEMS QUITE FRIENDLY AND APPEARS TO BE IN THE MIDDLE OF HER EVENING MEAL...

LADY: (kindly, pulling up a chair)

Evening lovey... Have a sit down, why don't you? Fancy a cup of tea?

SHY: (still a little bemused)

I'm not sure... I was in the middle of a scene - at least I think I was... I'm an actor, you see!

LADY: (bluntly)

Yes, love... I can tell... I didn't think you were one of my clients...

SHY: (put out)

Oh... Really? Why not?

LADY: (smiling, politely)

You're wearing a feather boa for a start...

SHY: (indignantly)

It's a scarf! For men!

LADY: (vaguely, changing the subject)

Whatever you say... So what are you filming?

SHY: (bashfully)

It's a murder mystery - I don't have a very big part...

LADY: (giggling)

Oh honey... Don't let it worry you... Make the best of what you have - that's what I always tell the customers... Length doesn't matter - it's what you make of it...

SHY: (a little lost for words)

Oh... Right... I guess it does apply in these circumstances too... In a way...

LADY: (with a mock impatience)

So ARE you having a cup of tea or not?

SHY: (a little antsy)

I really don't think I should... The director might need me out there...

LADY: (apologetic)

Whatever you say... I'm sorry, lovey... I heard you running along out there and I thought you were genuinely being attacked... I didn't mean to get in the way...

SHY: (reassuring her)

It's not a problem... I appreciate it... (just then his phone rings) Hello? Who is that? Oh, Douglas - what's wrong!? (mouths to the lady) It's my agent! (she looks impressed)

DOUGLAS: (over phone, furious)

Where the hell have you gotten to? They want to start filming and they can't find you - they rung me... What's going on? I'm surprised they don't have your number, to be honest...

SHY: (very confused)

I'm surprised too... I'm just with... a friend... Err... I thought we actually were in the middle of filming - someone was following me - I thought it was part of the scene...

DOUGLAS: (trying not to shout)

I don't know what you're talking about... Yeti... Are you drunk?

SHY: (indignant)

No! Not at all...

DOUGLAS: (losing his composure)

Well, just get back out there or you'll find yourself OUT OF A JOB...

SHY: (apologetic)

OKAY! Okay! Sorry... (he breaks the call) I must go! They're looking for me... But listen, thank you again... Sorry... I don't know your name... I'm Shy Yeti, by the way...

LADY: (kindly, concerned)

What a lovely name! Call me Sandra, love... You're not in trouble, I hope...

SHY: (distracted)

Why, thank you... No... No... I'm not in trouble - it'll be fine, Sandra... At least I hope not!

SANDRA:

Well, it's been lovely meeting you - no matter how briefly... Do pop past later if you have time - there's always a cup of tea and a biscuit or two for an actor such as yourself...

SHY: (uncertain)

Are you sure? What if you're busy?

SANDRA: (smiling, sincerely)

Then I'll have the curtains drawn... Otherwise please just knock...

SHY: (nodding his agreement)

Well, thank you... Sure... I'll be to sure to do that... Maybe see you later, then...

SANDRA: (clearly sad to see him go)

I do hope so... Take care, won't you?

SHY: (dithering)

Thank you... I will... You too...

SANDRA: (calling out as he is about to close the door behind him)

I do like your scarf by the way... It matches your eyes...

SHY: (lost for words for a moment)

Thank you... (mutters to self) But it's RED!?! (back to Sandra) Goodbye now... Thank you!

SHY YETI HURRIES BACK INTO THE ALLEY - FINDING HIS WAY BACK THE WAY HE CAME - ONLY TO FIND VERONICA, TERRANCE, DAMEUS AND THE REST OF THE TEAM WAITING FOR HIM - NONE OF THEM LOOK VERY PLEASED...

TERRANCE: (fuming)

THERE YOU ARE! WE'VE BEEN LOOKING ALL OVER THE PLACE...

SHY: (realising that he sounds a little foolish)

I really don't understand it... There was this man - and he was following me... I thought it was you, Dameus - I thought we'd started filming and I'd just missed the call...

DAMEUS: (denying it)

Not me! I've been here waiting for you... Where did you get to?

SHY: (embarrassed)

I'm not sure - I was a little lost...

VERONICA: (teasing)

Down the back-streets, aye? Taking tips from the call-girls... I wouldn't bother... You haven't got the ankles for it...

SHY: (unsure whether he heard properly)

I haven't got the WHAT!?

DAMEUS: (chipping in)

She's right, you know...

SHY: (indignant)

I did meet a lady... Her name was Sandra - she was very kind... But I wasn't getting tips and neither was I doing anything sordid with her...

VERONICA: (with a grin and a wink)

No surprises there...

TERRANCE: (having calmed down a bit)

Let's get on, shall we!?

SHY YETI NODS BUT IS STILL VERY MYSTIFIED... HE IS PRETTY SURE THAT SOMEBODY WAS FOLLOWING HIM, EVEN IF HE ISN'T SURE WHO IT WAS... AS THEY BEGIN TO FILM WE SEE A CLOAKED FIGURE WATCHING THEM ALL - THE FIGURE CHUCKLES AND THEN TAKES OUT HIS PHONE - HE SELECTS A CALLER AND RINGS HIM - A NAME COMES ON THE PHONE - IT SAYS "TOPPIE SMELLIE..."

STALKER: (voice muffled)

I have a job for you... Listen carefully...

LITTLE DOES THE STALKER NOTICE THAT HE TOO IS BEING WATCHED FROM A SLIGHT DISTANCE - SOMEBODY IS FILMING BOTH HIM AND THE ACTORS WITH A CAMERA PHONE - IT IS SANDRA...

TO BE CONTINUED...

This post and all contents are Copyright Paul Chandler, 2016.

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