Thursday, November 03, 2011


Before we begin the interview - two more links:


THE HILLS ARE STILL ALIVE!!! is the third episode of a new SHY YETI ON LOCATION series - YETI HUNT U.S.A., which returns us to the U.S.A. on the hunt for Shy Yeti's yeti relatives... We begin our hunt in L.A. once again - but we will be moving to a few other locations during this series. At time of posting I'm not sure how long this series will run for - several episodes were recorded back in August 2011 - with further ones still yet to be filmed during November 2011... We'll just have to see how the hunt pans out! Along with the usual daftness, this episode features some rather nice scenery - not to mention a new yeti dance, a new piece called RATTLESNAKES - a couple of 100-word stories (LAID and LEGGY BLONDE); the first of which was recorded live and is previously unavailable footage from my April 2011 Poetry Cafe show . This episode also stars my faithful sidekick Dominic McCauley who also helped me film the episode, not to mention a bear named Sidney. Music is by Luca. The footage from the show was filmed by Dan Hodges. This film is Copyright Paul Chandler, 2011.

Youtube link:

Vimeo link:

I'm currently editing PART 4, which to use a phrase that I used to attribute to episodes of my 1990s series SUTTON PARK, is probably going to end up being a "bimbo episode..." A bimbo episode is one which mainly has nice views and not a lot else going on. In the case of YETI HUNT U.S.A. - PART 4 there are a lot of lovely views from my trip to Portland; although there is previously un-released footage of me at my April 2011 Poetry Cafe show - a few sillinesses and a yeti dance in a spooky forest near Mount Hood. It'll also be about 5 minutes longer than the other episodes as there are so many nice views to show you. There is one more episode to come after that, also filmed in Portland - which uses up the rest of my Summer 2011 trip footage and then I'll be recording the last 3 episodes during my trip to the States next week.

Anyway... Enough about all this, for now... It's time for the interview!!


Here is an interview that I did recently with a Beargrrrian magazine called THE GROWL GAZETTE – they know me over there due to my dubious connection with a certain Beargrrrian superstar named Charlie Grrr. They interviewed me earlier in the year when I was finishing my YETI HUGS book – but now they want to speak to me again! They must be short of people to interview. This time I’m speaking mainly about my new book. So, here’s what they asked and what I said in reply – straight from the horse’s, erm – yeti’s mouth, as it were!

Q. So, Paul - tell us about your latest book. Firstly, what’s it called?

A. Well, the title of my next collection is FUNERAL FOR A SHOE.

Q. FUNERAL FOR A SHOE? Where did that title come from?

A. A very good question! It partly came about because I’ve had a bit of a Converse trainer fetish over the last 18 months or so and now own over 20 pairs; much to the horror of some of my friends! *That would be you, Harry! Nobody else cares! ;)* I think I was probably mulling over how I would feel when the first of these pairs had to be retired to the great shoe-box in the sky and wondered whether I should hold a funeral for them! (I’m not being entirely serious here, mind!) The more I thought about the title the more I actually thought, “Hey… I could do something with this idea!” and then over the next few weeks I came up with the five elegies to commemorate the shoe – five crazy adventures that the shoe and its owner experienced which led to its demise! In around March 2011, during a trip home to Wiltshire, I took a number of photos of me looking mournful with a pair of old trainers, which appear on the cover and the project just took off from there…

Q. So is this collection all stories? Or does it also involve poetry?

A. It’s both. It’s a little like my last collection THE VAMPIRE COWS OF SCUNTHORPE in that it is prose and poetry – although on this occasion there are a lot more stories than poems and the stories are a little longer than 100 words. There is also a series of 5 prose pieces under the title ELEGY AT THE FUNERAL FOR A SHOE which is just that – 5 quirky adventures about a gentleman and his trusty pair of trainers! There are photos, illustrations and all sorts! Plenty going on!

Q. You’ve worked on four different collections of prose or poetry in 2011?

A. Well, pretty much – they’ve not necessarily all been published during this year. There was YETI HUGS AND OTHER HORRORS that I published in the Spring; although most of the writing for this was completed during 2010. Whilst proofing that collection I put together the VAMPIRE COWS OF SCUNTHORPE book which I began in late 2010, but which was completed pretty quickly because it contained a lot of my 100-word stories. Because I was reading them live quite quickly after writing them they didn’t take so much time to proofread. Whilst proofing VAMPIRE COWS I started work on FUNERAL FOR A SHOE and finished the first draft of that by late July and by now (late October) have made the decision to publish in time for my Poetry Café show on the 18th November 2011. The last thing commissioned for the book were illustrations for the FUNERAL FOR A SHOE novella – and these have been done now! They’re very good! (Blog Ed. You can see one of them in my previous post.) Since late July I have been working on a collection called ARE WE THERE, YETI!?! which is mainly short stories and a few poems. I have over 80 pieces complete for it – but will probably work on it until the end of the year and so it’ll probably be out by early-Summer 2012. Along with these 4 books I have been working on 10th anniversary editions of my first four poetry collections, which will be released between late 2011 and early 2013. On top of that I have also been putting together three Mouse of Commons collections – one novel: THE COUNTER-CLOCKWISE CONUNDRUM which was published in the Summer – its sequel THE SPLINTERS OF TIME, which I don’t expect to be ready until 2013 – and a collection of short stories and a novella called TALES FROM THE MCWHISKERS ARCHIVES, which I expect to be my 2012 Mouse release and which I have been working on, on and off since mid-2007.

Q. How does FUNERAL FOR A SHOE differ from your last books YETI HUGS AND OTHER HORRORS and THE VAMPIRE COWS OF SCUNTHORPE? which came out during the first half of 2011?

A. Well, in that it is a book of short stories and poems it is relatively the same – with my usual mix of dark humour and horror – but the stories are perhaps a little longer than VAMPIRE COWS and obviously they’re all completely new stories. I don’t really want to say more of the same; that always sounds negative – but I think there’s a really good mix in this collection – certainly there’s plenty going on! You won’t find much white space in the book; all of the 356 pages are either full of writing or photos of one kind or another!

Q. What caused your shift over to more prose-based pieces this year?

A. Well, I guess I’ve been gradually moving that way – it’s not as if I made a concerted decision. The stories I wrote last year for YETI HUGS AND OTHER HORRORS started it off and then discovering the 100 word stories in January really made a difference and led to me writing the new batch of 100-worders that were included in THE VAMPIRE COWS… Having done so many of those in such a short time I then naturally moved on to the slightly longer pieces that are in FUNERAL FOR A SHOE and ARE WE THERE, YETI!?! It’s just happened, no planning – just natural development. All I can add is that it’s been a great journey and lovely to look back a year or more later and see some progression.

Q. Tell us about some of your favourites from the new book - which pieces are you most proud of?

A. Well, I like them all in different way; I wouldn’t ever select a piece for a collection that I downright hated – but some I’ve started performing and seem to work very well in that environment. Once I start performing them I guess they naturally become my favourites because I’m still closely associating myself with them long after the book is completed. Such examples in this collection include ALTERNATIVE ROCK AND ROLL LIFESTYLE – which is a sort of reverse-take of the whole rock and roll world… DEATH OF A GIRL BAND – which I read in Paris and which is extremely silly. It was also nice to be able to finally complete the pilot episode of a radio series that I began in 2004 called THE BEAST OF FRIENDS – and I have since decided to continue with the other episodes of the series having completed that first one. I’ve also very much enjoyed performing the poems LOVE-GO-ROUND, “MOTHER MEET PARIS…” and THE TRUE EXTENT OF MY GENIUS – two of which made their live debuts at my Poetry Café show in June 2011 and later again in L.A. during the Summer.

Q. Talking of which… How is the performance poetry going?

A. Good. Although I’m still glad that I main outlet for it is my poetry films. It’s definitely a medium that I feel more at home with; but I do love performing to an audience now and again. I’m just not a competitive person – so the idea of Poetry Slams really doesn’t appeal. I’m not sure I see a need to prove that one poem is better than another. Certainly some people seem to get a lot out of it, but at the moment it’s really not for me. Far too sociable! But I do like doing my own charity gigs with other like minded poets; as I did back in the Summer and it was great to be invited to be the guest speaker at The Cobalt Café in Los Angeles in August.

Q. Are there any of your new pieces that you feel are working especially well when performed live?

A. Definitely – although in a way 2011 has been far more about prose than poetry… I mentioned it earlier, but my piece THE TRUE EXTENT OF MY GENIUS seems to have gone down pretty well, this year – which was certainly a pleasant surprise as it was one that just came together ridiculously quickly. I debuted it at my charity show for Wood Green Animal Shelters back in June and then again at the Cobalt Café in L.A. in August.

Q. When is your next show?

A. I'm doing another one at The Poetry Café next month, Friday 18th November. It’s partly a 10th anniversary show for my first collection JUNK/FOOD – but is also taking place on what will be the launch date for FUNERAL FOR A SHOE. I also hope to read one or two piece from my first book of 2012, ARE WE THERE, YETI!?! and maybe some 100-word stories from THE VAMPIRE COWS OF SCUNTHORPE. I also have a special guest with me that night and it’s all for charity – on this occasion for SHELTER…

Q. Any other upcoming shows?

A. Well, following on from my Anniversary show that will probably be it for the year; except that I’m due to return to RADIO WEY on the first Saturday of December. I am hoping to arrange another show in early 2012; probably in March or April to celebrate the 10th anniversary of both my blog and the ROLLERCOASTER collection… So I’m expecting great things from next year – along with any writing projects I complete; although 2010 and 2011 will be hard years to beat for the range of things I’ve managed to achieve. But 2012 is looking to be a great year for another reason – but that’s between me and my muse!

Q. How is the SHY YETI ON LOCATION series progressing?

A. Very well, I’d say. I had a few editing problems during September and October, but have over-come them. They seem to be mainly down to me trying to be a bit too fancy on the special effects side! In the last month or so I have added a number of new films – some smaller “nugget-sized” episodes from my trip to The Isle of Wight – one from my appearance on Radio Wey in October 2011 and three episodes of my new series YETI HUNT U.S.A., which I filmed whilst out in the States during July and August. I’m currently working on Part 4.

Q. What about the episodes that you filmed in Lille and Brugge last month. When will these see the light of day and what about your return to L.A.?

A. Well, the European episodes are safely in the can, but are yet to be edited as I want to release the YETI HUNT U.S.A. series in order and it’s looking like there will be 8 episodes of that. Five of them I filmed in the Summer and the other three I intend to film when I head off to Los Angeles again this weekend. I’m expecting there to be enough footage for an episode in Lille and an episode in Brugge, as I read a number of poems, showed off plenty of nice views and also did plenty of daft things – including, of course – a yeti dance! I’d have probably recorded even more if I hadn’t run out of battery power, with no chance to recharge! (Long story!) There’s a good possibility that they will either end up as my unofficial not-especially festive 2011 Christmas special; either that or my first films of 2012!! During the European episodes I decided to focus on my re-issued 10th anniversary edition of JUNK/FOOD and so only read poems from this collection. As for the return to L.A., well – I plan to finally meet my yeti relatives, read a mixture of old and new pieces and there is also another road trip planned… Watch this space!

Q. Can you tell us where the road trip will be too?

A. You want an exclusive? Okay… Dominic and I intend to head for San Diego. I’ve been looking into possible Yeti Dance locations!! There should also be plenty of time when I’m in Los Angeles to re-visit some of my old haunts; this may be my last trip to L.A. for a while - if not to The States itself. So, I’ll be back to Griffith Park and Topanga Canyon for a start and then we’ll see what happens!!

Q. How did your residency at the Cobalt Café go during your last trip?

A. Good, I think. I really enjoyed it. It was great to be able to read a wider range of poems this time too and get a feel for what works in L.A. compared to the reaction that I get in London. It’s not always the same pieces. Alas I won’t be able to return for open-mike during this trip as I should be in San Diego that night. Don’t forget to check out the video of the night at either or

Q. So after FUNERAL and ARE WE THERE, YETI?! What next?

A. The collection after these two is due to be titled NOT AS SHY AS I WAS and it’s a collection of short stories and poems, rather like VAMPIRE COWS, FUNERAL and ARE WE THERE, YETI!?! Although I doubt it’ll be ready until late 2012. ARE WE THERE, YETI!?! is almost done – but NOT AS SHY AS I WAS is currently only a twinkle! I’m also working on the sequel to SHY YETI RULES OK; SHY YETI STILL RULES OK and another compilation called CACTUS HEART and further 10th anniversary editions. I intend to release new versions of my first 8 books, published between 2002 and 2005 which takes us up to my first Lulu collection. After that I guess I’ll consider re-vamping some of those mid-period books: POEMS TO MAKE BEARS GROWL and RHYMES BEARS STEAL PIES FOR etc. I’ll be very old by then – I’m already considering quite how to celebrate my 40th birthday in 2013 as far as my writing goes!

Q. Are there any other projects that you want to mention?

A. Another Mouse of Commons book – well, two, really… My aim is still to produce one Mouse book a year – but I am usually working on two. I am currently doing the final proofing on my book for 2012, a collection of short stories which have been in the pipe-line for quite a while. It’s called TALES FROM THE MCWHISKERS ARCHIVES and the six stories were written between 2007 and 2008; but due to a backlog I’ve only just caught up! The stories are nice and diverse; one is co-written with my friend Gareth Bellis – one is set in Milan and features a lot of photos from a trip I took there which influenced the story… I’ll say more on all this nearer the time, of course. I’m basically just doing the proofing and the formatting at the moment. The 2nd book that I’m working on is provisionally entitled THE SPLINTERS OF TIME and I don’t expect it to be ready until, at least 2013. It’s the sequel to this year’s GLADSTONE MCWHISKERS AND THE COUNTER-CLOCKWISE CONUNDRUM. Along with all the poems and short stories I am also working on a radio series called THE BEAST OF FRIENDS… I completed the pilot to be included in FUNERAL, but have now decided to complete the 8 episodes that I originally envisioned back in 2004.

Q. Are you planning more Sutton Park? Isn’t 2012 the 20th anniversary of the original series?

A. Definitely. In fact there are two or three episodes filmed last year still to edit which I want to get around to; but I’m not intending to edit any more episodes until I’ve caught up with the poetry ones. I guess I should have caught up by early next year and there is usually a gap between January and Easter where I don’t go away; so maybe then. Incidentally, having recently updated the ratings on my video I notice that my top 3 videos are all Sutton Park episodes – with the first episode having almost double the ratings of its nearest competitor. My theory is that it’s people looking for Youtube videos of the actual Sutton Park near Birmingham.

Q. Any last words, Paul?

A. Well… A funny thing happened last night. I was reading a paper the other day and saw that an up and coming children’s writer was working on a book called THE HEX FACTOR, which made me laugh. I actually used that title for a short Mouse story years ago! Gladstone leads the way ahead, as ever! As far as joke titles go it’s a bit of an old pun now, I’d have thought – but anyway! It was a daft enough title when I used it! I’ve always said that I try and give my stories titles that I hope are unique – that one was for a while, I guess! I’m not going to change it now!

Q. No way! You used it first. Well, thank you again for speaking to us, Paul.

A. That's okay – my pleasure! Thank you for having me for the second time in one year – hopefully we’ll growl again soon. I’d just like to pass on all my thanks to every one in Beargrrria for all their support and good will over the years...

So, there you have it!

I hope you enjoyed that! More soon! Probably written whilst I'm out in the States.

Yeti Hugs, Paul xxx

All contents of this post are Copyright Paul Chandler / The Growl Gazette, 2011