Tuesday, August 16, 2016

TOPPIE SMELLIE - IN SOUND AND WORDINESS!!

TOPPIE ON THE PODCAST - AND A PRINT INTERVIEW TOO!

Hello beasties!!

This time we're a complete Toppie Smellie, Pickle Hollow and Smellcast zone... I think this is probably the first time in 14 years of keeping this blog that I've actually dedicated a post to somebody other than myself! Well - that's because Toppie deserves some extra-special yeti attention and I am proud to say that I have both a podcast and a print interview to announce...

The print interview is the easy part - it's coming up after my waffle... The podcast you'll need the links to - this is actually a two-part chat between Toppie and myself - but, for now, here are the details for the first episode:

THE SHY LIFE PODCAST - 15: A VERY SMELLIE V.I.P.

Here we are for episode FIFTEEN- and it's a very special one because we've got Toppie Smellie as a guest and without Toppie there would be no SHY YETI LIFE PODCAST! Toppie and Mt Yeti discuss all manner of podcasting business and also compare notes on their many various projects over the years. Toppie also gets to speak with another show regular! I am aiming to get episode 16 of the show ready before the end of August! Please email me at shyyeti@yahoo.co.uk if you have any comments. The music is by Shy Yeti and Luca. Special effects by  Soundbible. This episode and all contents are Copyright Paul Chandler, 2016. Episode 15 was recorded on the 23rd July 2016, with links recorded on 15th August 2016.

This episode is available on iTunes, Acast, Podbean and also on Soundcloud at:

https://soundcloud.com/shyyeti/the-shy-life-podcast-15-a-very-smellie-vip

Whilst I'm here I'd like to tell about something that happened the other day - on Thursday 11th August 2016 (Friday 12th, for me!) What was it?

I ONLY WENT AND APPEARED ON ONE OF MY FAVOURITE PODCASTS...

YES!!! LOTSL!!!



Look... Let's be open and honest here! I do listen to quite a few podcasts - but I feel very fortunate to have been a guest now on two of my very favourite shows - LOTSL and THE SMELLCAST. These two I got into pretty early on in my exploration of podcasts and I have become friends with those involved. They're also quite different from some of the other podcasts that I listen to and I have a definite affection for them both; so it was a big deal to appear on LOTSL the other day and I didn't mind, at all, staying up late to record my appearance. I had been due to appear back in April - even going so far as to staying up late, only for my Skype to let me down at the last minute. This was before I began recording THE SHY LIFE PODCAST and so I'd not used Skype in quite some time! Anyway! It all worked just fine and there were no hiccups this time around! (I must say I felt quite emotional afterwards and relieved that it had all gone well - staying up for about an extra two hours to edit and come down from my "LOTSL high"! Daft yeti...) 

I'm not sure of the name and number of the episode - as I know they record a episode or two ahead - but I'll let you know once I know and the episode is out there!

Next time we'll have the second episode of our conversation and I'm also pleased to be able to announce that we did an extra little chat that I am keeping in store for later in the year; not to mention that we have plans to record again before the end of the year.

More soon!

Yeti hugs,

Paul xx

THE TOPPIE SMELLIE INTERVIEW


I’ve been on Toppie’s show THE SMELLCAST and he’s now been on THE SHY LIFE PODCAST – but whilst we chatted it occurred to me that there are some questions that suit a print interview that would maybe be a bit brief in an audio interview. So I have submitted this short questionnaire to the man himself.

1.       When did you first start creating stories?

I was very young -- it was the year 1968 and I was 6 years old.  I adored the color "funny" pages in the Sunday Newspaper.  I would spread the paper out on the floor and study the drawings and dote over every panel.  I eventually decided that I wanted to draw cartoons like I read in the newspaper. Of course my first attempts were very primitive!  I do remember my first original story.  In pencil, I drew a multiple panel story in which a man finds an old oil lamp.  He rubs it and releases a genie who, happy to be free, bestows upon the man an opportunity to be granted three wishes.  The man doesn't hesitate and he wishes for lots of money.  For his next wish he asks for even more money. The third wish is for even MORE money!  The genie grows weary and annoyed and retreats back into the lantern.

Even as I continued to constantly draw draw, draw, and draw some more, I was simultaneously putting on plays and puppet shows.  I would round up some friends and get them involved and we would craft our own puppets and perform our original plays and puppet shows (our parents being our only audience).

In 1970, I discovered comic book magazines, (an extension of the comic strip in newspapers), and I began to imitate them and I drew many of my own Spider-Man adventures (Spider-Man was my absolute favorite comic book character).  I have a page from what must have been one of the first Spidey comics I drew.  I remember being particularly proud that I got the perspective right for the smashed door (see first photo, at the end of interview).  Eventually I stopped imitating Spider-Man, and started drawing comic book stories featuring characters of my own invention.

(Note: Please check the end of this article from some actual artwork from this period...)

About the same time -- roughly 1971 -- I discovered my parent's old 8mm movie camera.  I immediately set out to film my own home movie versions of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein, Dracula, etc. Making home movies was yet another way I could tell stories. Once again I used my friends as actors. A few years later I graduated to Super 8 mm film!  I thought at the time, that Super 8 movie film (in cartridges) was a significant step up from 8mm movies, it was SO much easier to load  the cartridges into the camera!

By the time I was in Junior High School (what we in America call grades 7 through 9), I was drawing as many as four comic books a month for four of my friends.  I wasn't smart enough to realize that I could photo copy ONE comic book and distribute it to all my friends, so I was drawing four completely different stories a month to my "subscribers," who would receive 12 issues a year via the US Postal service! 

It was during this time, I discovered a love for old time radio programs, thanks mainly to a short revival of radio dramas that was being syndicated to radio stations at the time -- the "CBS Radio Mystery Theater" hosted by E.G. Marshall. It would air weekdays in the evening and lasted about three years. In America, it was radio drama's last gasp!  I loved listening to those broadcasts at night after I had gone to bed, the lights turned out -- so scary! Naturally, I decided I would create my OWN radio plays! I asked my parents for an audio cassette recorder (Panasonic, with a condenser mic), and quickly began creating my own original "radio" plays, complete with sound effects and music!  I loved how the audio format enabled me, just as when I drew my comic book stories, to conjure up any scenario I could imagine! Nothing was impossible! And like drawing comics, this was a solo affair, so I altered my voice to create the illusion of all my different characters (sound familiar? #Smellcast).  Over the next 6 years, I made up hundreds and hundreds of hours of audio horror, adventure and science fiction dramas and comedies! My audience? The one (and only) person who endured being almost forced to listen to all of my audio nonsense was my best friend. Guess what his name was (you won't believe it)?  His name was "Paul," and he was the best audience I have ever had!  He listened attentively, and actively, giving me the feedback and ego-boost that I needed! Paul was the greatest!

By the time 1977 rolled around, a new medium caught my attention. The first home video tape systems had arrived! This tech was VERY new and far beyond my own means to acquire and oddly enough my parents didn't seem even the slightest bit interested in buying such costly equipment solely for my own personal use, let alone for use by my entire family. What was I to do? Undeterred, I learned I could borrow video equipment from our local, newly formed (privately owned) cable TV station. Just passed federal laws now mandated that these new private cable companies, which were popping up all over the USA, had to allow PUBLIC use of their equipment, studios and facilities, for a certain limited number of hours per week. These laws were known as "public access" laws, and even at my young age, I understood that I was included as a member of the public, in good standing, Using the cable company's equipment, I (once again with my friends) created dopey, zany videos that we submitted (surprise!) to be aired on our local public access TV channel, which by law, HAD to air a certain number of hours per week of publicly produced content.  We produced this content rather anonymously, because we knew we were video-taping absurdly weird content that could only be amusing to ourselves. We really did, however reluctantly, understand that we were not going to be understood by the "normal" people out there watching public access TV. We were very mighty nerds indeed! To be completely honest, our most fervent hope was to stay as anonymous as we could such that we wouldn't get beat up at school the next day.

All of this occurred over the entire decade of the 1970's right up until 1980 when I headed off to college. That's when my juvenile creative antics had to stop. It was time to be a "grown up" and get down to the business of learning how to make a living and all that sort of rubbish.  While I still dabbled in drawing comics, I would never again reach the productivity I had achieved in the '70's. In 1984 I graduated with a worthless BFA (Bachelor of Fine Art degree). I had become a "serious" painter and graphic designer. My first jobs after college included being a store clerk and a home nursing assistant. For a few years after graduating, I went back to my drawing board and in what time I had to myself, created a few pages of comics, still believing that I might one day achieve my heart's desire -- to be a professional comic book artist! Unfortunately, real life realities such as making a living, maintaining an adult relationship (doomed to fail), crowded out any hopes I harbored to tell stories for the next fifteen, long years.  

I didn't realize it at the time, but from 1980 to present day, I was bogged down by persistent and unending (mild to very deep) depression. I believe that had I not been so preoccupied with my terrible dark thoughts and deep melancholia, I might have gone on to find a way to merge my greatest joy (telling stories) into real life and possibly a career.  But as fate unfolded, I would not return to story telling (of any sort) until years and years later, after I finally got professional treatment for my depression. I learned, in time, how to better manage my depression, and when the year 2010 rolled around,and I felt my old creative juices begin to stir once again. I felt too rusty to take up my old drawing pencils and inks, so I went back to my old love of audio story-telling.  And that's when I started a podcast called "The Smellcast".

2.       What is your first love – story-telling or art or ideally would you like to combine both? 

I think I have always been attracted to comic strips, comic books -- or -- Graphic Novels -- because it is a medium suited to both art and story-telling

3.      If you could use five words to describe your podcast THE SMELLCAST, which would you choose?  

Fantasy colliding with reality  (oops that's only four words)

4.       Which characters are your favourite on The Smellcast / Pickle Hollow?  

My favorite voice to do is Mindy Mindleson (character in the Pickle Hollow story line).  Aunt Tappie is a favorite too, but Sassy McSass-Sass is the most FUN to do.

5.       Do you ever consider killing off main characters (I have a problem doing this myself)?  

I have considered it in terms of wanting to do a poignant story about love and loss... but I probably would bring in a new character, allow listeners to get to know and love that character, and THEN "kill them off."  I'm not sure I could do that with any of the current main characters.

6.       As a big fan of Dark Shadows – who are your favourite characters?  

At the top of my list is absolutely Barnabas and Julia.  The series always worked best when they were best friends working together. Runners up are Angelique,  Roger and Elizabeth... and Professer Stokes.  It's always astounding to remember how many excellent characters and actors the show had. I must mention David (his first year when he was truly that peculiar, scary little boy) and and Willy Loomis (his first year as well, when he was truly psychopathic).  I suppose I have to stop somewhere, so I'll stop here!

7.       How do you think Toppie would cope if he entered the Dark Shadows world? Are there any other Smellcast characters that you think would fit in well there?

I think Toppie could have fit in as an ordinary mortal who secretly loves Barnabas, but can't express it because his sexuality is a closely guarded secret -- as closely guarded as Baranabas' secret (as homosexuality would have been back in 1967)!  Toppie would have discovered Barnabas' secret and kept it to himself, helping Barnabas along the way anonymously.  Also, I can see Dallas Cody fitting in there as the guy that had a dead body in his basement!

8.       How do you think Barnabas Collins would cope if he entered The Smellcast world? Are there any other Dark Shadows characters that you think would fit in well there?

Barnabas and Julia would both fit in well, I think. Aunt Tappie and Elizabeth would enjoy tea together, often. Creepy David would be fun to have around. 

9.       Is it wrong that I sometimes imagine how Shy Yeti would cope if he visited Pickle Hollow?

No, that's perfectly normal....  perfectly normal (** discreetly rolls eyes **).  Our ability to imagine anything is one of the most exciting (and vitally important) expressions of our humanity!  If we can't imagine we can't create!  And look at the endless wonders of human creations from the Pyramids to "Dr. Who"!

10.   Would you let Barnabas bite you? Would you allow Dr Hoffmann to cure you of your vampirism?

Yes!  I had dreams when I was a kid that I was bitten by Barnabas (and they weren't scary dreams)! As long as Julia could fix it so that I didn't have to kill anybody to live...  but I would absolutely want my supernatural powers!  I mean, come on... to be able to turn oneself into a bat and fly around? Oh yes!

11.   If you had to choose a number of other favourite TV shows which would be in your top 5?

Lost In Space (esp the first two seasons), Star Trek TOS, The Waltons (believe it or not), The Carol Burnett Show, and The X-Files.

12.   Do you have a favourite horror film? You can name more than one?

The Haunting (original), Legend of Hell House, The Exorcist, Halloween, The Others, Bride of Frankenstein, The Old Dark House (Boris Karloff''s first movie after Frankenstein -- see it on Youtube!  The last 10 minutes are incredible!) Dracula (Bela Lugosi), Bram Stoker's Dracula (Francis Ford Copella's version), Alien and Aliens (I consider them horror not sci-fi), The Wolfman (Lon Chaney), Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Shining (Kubrick), Salem's Lot (The David Soul version, as the three part mini-series, but the theatrical release is pretty good), Fright Night (Original with Roddy McDowall), Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, the Sixth Sense, The Stand (the original TV mini series, first two episodes -- I HATE THE FINALE) The Night Stalker (made for TV movie that spawned Kolchak: The Night Stalker).  I guess I better stop.

13.   Are there any other film genres that you enjoy? Any favourite non-horror/sci-fi films?

I love Film Noir, cinema verite, quiet character studies, classics, drive-in schlocky movies, very few comedies but Tootsie is an example of what I consider to be the perfect comedy, a comedy with a heart and a real story... as opposed to, say a movie like Caddie Shack, which to me is just silly scenes strung together.  And I can't think of a single Alfred Hitchcock movie that I don't absolutely LOVE (Hitchcock is maybe my all time favorite movie maker).

14.   As well as sometimes being scary or dramatic The Smellcast is a very funny show – who are your comedy influences?

Slap stick comedies of the silent film era (I love slap stick and screw-ball comedies -- a modern one might be Barbara Streisand's "What's Up Doc?"  Carol Burnett, Don Knots (except for Three's Company, a TV "comedy" series that I despise for its absolute stupidity), british comedies (Lavender Hill Mob with Alec Guinness for example).  I think WC Fields was an incredibly skilled GENIUS of physical comedy.

15.   When I was doing Sutton Park I often had an idea of what the last episode would be – but as the show went on I would use those ideas up. Have you ever thought about what you do if you ever decided to conclude the show; although please, no spoilers!!

Not in any great detail, but I DO have a general notion as to what I would do.  Fundamentally it would be a goodbye to the characters, not unlike the last episode of the American TV series M*A*S*H or the final episode of HBO's "Six Feet Under."

16.   Do you have a favourite actor or actress? Did you have a heart-throb growing up – or even one now!?

I would probably go with a Jimmy Stewart as my all time favorite actor.  Someone with maybe the best acting chops?  I suppose Meryl Streep is a genius.  I really, really like Dustin Hoffman.  Michael Caine and Gene Hackman are favorites too.  As for TV....  I was in love with Bill Bixby the most... he was in three TV series that I absolutely adore (for different reasons)  The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Magician, and the Incredible Hulk, but especially the Magician -- I WANTED TO BE TONY BLAKE (The Magician)!  The Magician is an obscure American TV series circa 1974 barely lasting two seasons -- there are some episodes on YouTube.

17.   You are also part of the LOTSL team – do you have a favourite subject that you discussed on it?

What I love the most is when our topics bring out some little funny true-life story or anecdote from us.

18.   Do you believe in ghosts? What would you do if you met one?

Not long ago, I would have said absolutely not; I DO NOT believe in ghosts.  There are SO MANY WAYS the human mind is capable of tricking itself. While someone might adamantly INSIST they've had a supernatural experience, I remain unconvinced that it is anything other than understandable yet mistaken bits of information.  Our brains make connections in ways we generally are not aware of.  Among the the most common: how often have you heard someone say, "I saw it out of the corner of my eye, but when I looked it had vanished!"  Well... of course nothing vanished, because there was nothing there to begin with.

Another common example are incidences in which people believe they see some inanimate object moving -- such as commonly is said to happen to people looking at holy relics or statues.  In truth, the eye makes imperceptible involuntary movements that at times, when the conditions are right, can absolutely look like something is moving when it is, in fact not moving at all.  I used to experience this all the time when I was a kid looking at the monster models I could see from my bed. In the dimness of night, I could swear those things were moving!!  But of course they weren't moving at all.

I believe this manner in which humans innocently deceive themselves is what accounts for 30% of so-called ghosts and supernatural phenomenon. 69% is perpetrated by Carney hucksters, bamboozlers, frauds, scheming bastards, con artists, just about EVERY SINGLE SO-CALLED GHOST HUNTER in existence are frauds and hucksters (in my opinion).  A true ghost hunter should be first and foremost a skeptic.  By the way the magician "The Amazing Randi" is a hero of mine for exposing frauds.  And remember, the so-called FOUNDERS of Spiritualism (The Fox Sisters of the USA) admitted later in life they were frauds.

NOW THEN: as I say, not long ago I would have said 100% of it is all ultimately explainable or flat out fraudulent. I recently have come to believe that there IS a small, small percentage of unexplained, mysterious events that we can not be accounted for, and I am now ready to admit there ARE curious oddities and things in this world completely beyond our ability to understand/explain.  To conclude:  I am now not prepared to say there are no such things as (what we commonly call) ghosts.  And I am NOT prepared anymore to say there is no such things as aliens from another planet flying around in crafts of unknown origin. Of course the existence of Yeti's are altogether a different thing :D  :D  I CAN say I am absolutely fascinated by the possibility of ghosts and flying saucers, etc. And I am fully able to be entertained by fictional material designed to scare me. BUT, I remain a TRUE skeptic when it comes to real life. 

HOWEVER -- If I truly encountered something unknown...such as a "ghost," I'm quite sure I would be scared out of my wits first and foremost! I do believe I would RUN AWAY, and run away FAST! I'm sure when I calmed down, I would then try exhaustively to rationalize it.   I would like to believe I would try to engage the supernatural to understand it, but it is much more likely still that I'd run away!   Knowing me I would most likely spend the rest of my life never truly knowing if what I saw was real or not. Then, I would write a book about it and exaggerate the details maybe even lie so that I could make a million dollars and become a renowned psychic to bilk others out of their hard earned money.  Okay, maybe not really.

19.   If you had one magic wish, what would it be?

I suppose it would be to go back in time and correct my long, long string of bad decisions and bad habits. The worst thing I ever did to myself was to turn my back on my dreams of becoming a comic book artist.  I realize now it was far more attainable than I ever could have had the capacity to understand at the time, when I was younger.  First and foremost I would have sought out a MENTOR.  And I would have asked for help from others.  
20.   What is it like to find that you have a long-lost, film-making, silly story-writing, Dark-shadows-loving, yeti soul-mate?

Quite honestly, discovering you and getting to know you has been among the very BEST of delightful surprises in my on-line, podcasting life.  Its always nice to remember that I'm not the only odd duck out there!  :D  :D

Thank you for answering my questions. *bows* I would also like to thank you for allowing “Toppie” to visit Shy Yeti’s bizarre world for the Shy Yeti scripts. He must be worn out what with all that and dealing with Sassy and all the goings on in Pickle Hollow. Hehe. Coming up - as promised - some Toppie Smellie art!!! 

GALLERY OF TOPPIE ART...

To see the images in a slightly bigger format, please click on them...


(1969) I managed to draw a four or five page Spider-Man comic book. I was facinated by Doctor Octopus. I remember being very proud of the perspective working out on the broken door.  I even colored my comic with colored pencils!


(1971) I remember learning that instead of word balloons you could just use a line to indicate who is speaking.  I didn't like it, and soon went back to word balloons!


(1971) I loved drawing spooky things (as I loved my Dark Shadows!)


(1978) Page from Wonder Gum number 20 of a series.  I was telling the origin of a character called "Bleep!"  I drew Wonder Gum for two years stopping at issue 24.


(1980) Page from an unfinished issue of "Hot Water Bottle Man," possibly number 30 of a series. This was page two and I never got to do page 3 before I left for college.


(1980) I was making a 5 page story about a friend of mine who had just moved to Florida.  I never finished it.  It was the last thing I drew that summer before going off to college.


(1982) Page one of a two page story.  In college, I occasionally made time to draw comic stories, but during my entire four years, I probably only drew 10 to maybe 12 pages of material.

The following link is a short film Toppie made in 2014 called - THE GHOST TREE... 

https://www.tumblr.com/video/smellcast/101455107699/500/
 
This post and all contents are Copyright Paul Chandler 2016.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

BECOMING MORE CAT-LIKE...

A RANDOM NEW PIECE ABOUT CATS...




Hello beasties!!

This week I want to focus on cats - okay - not just any cat, mainly Deeley... But hey! He is our mascot and I know a lot of my followers do like to see his little purring face on my blog and in my videos and sometimes even in my podcasts. So... Anyway! I have some recent photos of him and I have some funny experiments with an app called Prisma where I used a Deeley photo and then manipulated it! (See above... and also below... lots below, actually!) This post I also have a new prose piece to share with you - a new prose piece concerning those of a fine feline persuasion.

Before we get on to that I would also let to present to you the next couple of episodes of THE SHY LIFE PODCAST - episodes 13 and 14... I'm currently working on episode 15, which is the first of two starring Toppie Smellie! Very excited to be working on those. Here are the two new episodes:

THE SHY LIFE PODCAST - 13: OBSCURE CULT TV AND OTHER ODDITIES...

Here we are for episode THIRTEEN!! This time Mr Yeti is speaking to two different friends - Andrew "Trowby" Trowbridge and Lisa Parker - whom he first met back in the early 90s through their shared love of cult TV, namely Dr Who. Over the years Mr Yeti appeared in a lot of home-made movies with the pair - and they both became SUTTON PARK regulars. Listen carefully as they discuss these days in a pub in Winchester and also recommend to you a number of obscure TV shows from the 60s and 70s that they have recently enjoyed. I am aiming to get episode 14 of the show ready by mid-to-late August! Please email me at shyyeti@yahoo.co.uk if you have any comments. The music is by Shy Yeti and Luca. Episode 13 was recorded on the 16th July 2016. This episode and all contents are Copyright Paul Chandler, 2016.

THE SHY LIFE PODCAST - 14: FORGOTTEN TREASURES...

Here we are for episode FOURTEEN!! This time Mr Yeti delves into some forgotten treasures that he has been meaning to share with you for some time. We head off with him on a bus, hear about a number of lost poems and are presented with another of his Shy Yeti sketches... All that and much, much more! Thank you to Chrissie and Nicole from Greetings From Nowhere for allowing me to use a clips from episode 315 - The Great Sitcom Debate. Coming soon: Episode 15... The first of two episodes starring Toppie Smellie from The Smellcast! Should be up in the next week to ten days. Please email me at shyyeti@yahoo.co.uk if you have any comments. The music is by Shy Yeti and Luca. Sound effects by Soundbible or Sabine Eismeyer. Episode 14 was recorded between the 17th July and the 10th August 2016. This episode and all contents are Copyright Paul Chandler, 2016.

These episodes are available on iTunes, Acast, Podbean and also on Soundcloud at:

13:  https://soundcloud.com/shyyeti/the-shy-life-podcast-13-obscure-cult-tv-and-other-oddities

14: https://soundcloud.com/shyyeti/the-shy-life-podcast-14-forgotten-treasures

As I mentioned, I'm currently busy editing episode 14 and will hopefully have that one ready in the next day or so... The original version of 14 ran to under an hour and is made up of lots of bits that needed a home; but on Wednesday 10th August I added approximately 20 minutes more material! I think - I hope- that it'll make the episode even better!

Oh, and by the way - the Waterloo t-shirt design is by my friend Paul Webster @p_webs on Twitter who also drew the BEAST OF FRIENDS and ONION MAN illustrations, amongst others - for my last couple of books. He has a store on REDBUBBLE that is definitely worth checking out:


Thank you to Toby for two photos of D having a good old stretch on a foot-stall... These next four I took just before I went down to Kent.

As I promised earlier, the following photos are some daft pictures of Deeley put through the Prisma app...

Poor Deels! That last one is really rather harsh!

Next time I hope to have another yeti script, but I'm progressing slightly slower with that at the moment - so we shall see... There will definitely be something before I head off for my next holiday! In fact it's looking very likely that I'll be presenting something very exciting and quite exclusive next time around!

More soon!

Yeti hugs,

Paul xx

P.S. This piece was written between Monday 8th and Sunday 14th August 2016... I also decided on the title on the 8th, having known that I wanted to write a new cat piece on this particular topic for a couple of weeks, but not having had an exact title before I started work on the piece.

THE CATS IN THE CROWD...

Cats...

They're at their best when hidden...
It's all part of their curious reputation...
Look around you - they are out there...
I don't mean those felines that you see every day...
It's the cats that you don't see that interest me...
Those in disguise - the cats in the crowd!

You may not see them straight away -
But they are there...
On the train to work -
In the queue at the Post Office...
Dressed as a loofah in your bathroom!
That business-man who sits opposite you on your commute...
Look closer... No! Closer...
Do you see the whiskers yet?
Yes! Sure... I know that beards are very in fashion at the moment...
But these are real whiskers...
Kitty antenna, even!
They do a good job, though - skulking away there...
Hiding behind false glasses and a smart suit...
Peering out from behind a newspaper - from under their bowler hats...
You wouldn't instantly look at them and think...
"CAT!! CAT!!!!"
They know their jobs and they know them well -
And they're not going to make some half-arsed job of it...
When a cat goes out in disguise then most probably you'll never notice...
Those darting eyes take in all that is going on...
Seeing everything that is occurring - noting every single change...
They're really not afraid to make comment on what they see...
It's all part of their curiosity; born to tip-toe...
One might think that a cat's most natural human ancestor -
Was the foreman or maybe the local village busy-body...
Any imperfections are instantly clocked...
Any re-arrangement of their home environment is duly recorded...
Don't you see it?
The notepad in their back pocket? The pencil behind the ear?!
They always come well-prepared; expect their full report in hours -
Be sure they will make their thoughts crystal-clear...
Why on earth did she choose THAT carpet?
Is she colour-blind - can't she see how badly it clashes with the curtains!?
So he clearly got his own way with the wall-paper; big mistake...
As for gossip - the manner in which you arrange your prized ornaments -
Is just small fry compared to what they think of that dress - that tie...
That shirt - that suit - those shoes - your HAIR - that DREADFUL tattoo...
To be honest you might as well just give up if you don't want to be judged...
After all, it's not as if you're going to get your own back...
Try and criticise their manky tail or wilting ears - that scar...
Tease them over their limited taste in cat food...
"Chicken and ham! Always the same! What's wrong with you! Freak!"
They will pretend not to hear your taunts- but they will take it all in...
Don't get caught bad-mouthing them about their wobbly belly...
They will bottle it up...
One day you will find yourself at the sharp end of their claws!
Just be careful, be alert - as alert at cats are - if not a little more...
Look around you; that business man over there - does he have a tail?
Well, does he? And is he humming some familiar tune under his breath?
Listen... Think again... He may not be humming after all...
Simply purring!!

They're at their best when hidden...
Those in disguise - the cats in the crowd!
 
This post and all contents are Copyright Paul Chandler, 2016.