Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Phantom Flan Flinging *

Those of you reading yesterday may have thought I'd flipped and gone off into some sort of surreal fantasy. Well, I was feeling the same way myself. I'm still not sure if I've been dreaming all of this, but the constant pinching of myself assures me that I really am here.

Yes, a TV researcher did come to choir on Monday evening.

Yes, she did invite us over for a custard pie fight last night.

Yes, I did go - with 2 other choir members, a friend, plus 10 people from Neston Players who'd also had a similar invitation Monday lunchtime.

Unfortunately I can't show you anything of the fight itself - you'll have to believe me that the pictured innocuous looking building does indeed house a television studio. I'm not allowed to publish any photos until the programme is aired - around September time. The surrealness continued well into yesterday evening - the studio is also part of a massive Ministry of Defence complex, completely deserted when we arrived. It could have been the setting for a) an initiative test for us (which we were doing OK at, having assembled at the right place in spite of the directions being hopelessly wrong and the promised Volkswagen Beetle parked outside nowhere to be seen); or b) a very wobbly Dr Who story, probably dating back to the 1970s with Jon Pertwee or Tom Baker; or c) a James Bond Film - well a girl can dream can't she? We finally managed to locate the studio door and found we actually were in d) a very chilly TV studio within a very messy warehouse. It turned out that filming was running late - could we come back in an hour as they're shooting some time lapse at the moment? Luckily Kath lives close by so we decamped to hers for tea and a warm fire. On the way out, the previously invisible security guards had restationed themselves by the gate - getting out was much harder than getting in!

On our return, the studio waiting area had been transformed into a hive of custard pie making - 12 inch round flan cases topped with lashings of squirty sweet cream. The production team were in a frenzy and for once the Runners were living up to their job title. Near accidents were (disappointingly) avoided on a regular basis. Under bright studio lights at the far end of the warehouse, 2 tables were literally groaning under the weight of custard pies. A quick Health & Safety lecture, then the director came over and took us through what he wanted us to do. Laughing a lot was to be the main thing - before, during and after the fight. Then we met the Executive Producer - another Health & Safety lecture (!), plus a warning not too throw too high as they didn't want us to damage the overhead camera.

We were then led onto the set, limboing slightly under the camera boom to get there. We were lined up against the wall - we must have looked like a very strange unmatching police identity parade to our onlookers. A slight rearranagement of the players to form the most aesthetically pleasing shot, then the static cameramen did lots of staring enigmatically into his viewfinder, the director looked at his monitor at the side of the set, 2 moving cameramen recorded everything, the rest of the production team got out their digital cameras. All except one, he stepped in with his clapperboard to announce Take 1 - how cool is that!

We needed 2 takes for the 'before' shot, but after that we were pros and did everything else in one take. There was a bit of a tense 'schoolteam picking' moment as were divided into 2 groups - with much defection and taunting going on between the teams. My team were much more brazen - we lined up in front of our table where the main action was to be, whilst most of the others (except one brave lass - soon to be our prime target) cowered behind theirs. Another clack of the clapperboard and we were off, including several of the production team. Within seconds it was cake carnage and we were quickly covered from head to toe, front and back in a sticky, gooey mess. It takes about 10 minutes for 20 people to throw 1000 flans at each other, including picking choice pieces off the floor to throw again. My friend Chris was sporting a particularly fetching flan hat at the end of it all.

Another lineup for the 'after' shot and that was that. We were handed loads of wet wipes to get rid of the worst of our new facial makeup. I was glad of a complete change of clothes - even so I shed lumps of cake everywhere on the way home. I decided to treat myself to a bath instead of my usual shower. This revealed cake in some most unexpected places. However, today I think my hair has a more lustrous sheen and body to it - must have been all of that cream 'conditioner'.

Before the shoot I was worried that trying to laugh on somebody else's whim wouldn't work - it would be too forced or not at all. However, the banter of my fellow flan flingers and the surrealness of the situation soon took hold and I laughed until I ached. It was FUN! When can I do it again?

* = A regular feature on Tiswas, a Saturday morning TV programme of my childhood and an apt title for this post seeing I can't show you any of the action yet.

8 comments:

  1. Oh what fun! Things like that don't come up everyday do they.

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  2. I CANNOT wait to see this - what fun!

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  3. Can I be the president of you `flan' club?

    Beautiful orchids in your O post, as well.

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  4. That is priceless. The monkeys would have been key players and covered in goo. Flan as conditioner? Who knew.

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  5. Sounds like so much fun! And think of all the calories you must have lost while laughing!

    I just noticed--I know I have left comments in the last couple days that seemed to have disappeared. Oh well, they probably weren't very clever or insightful anyway. But did want to tell you the picture of the cat at the bar in an earlier post was priceless.

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  6. That sounds such fun! I wish I could have been there - you will tell us when it's going to come on, won't you?

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  7. I blame it on your proximity to Stonehenge & all those floating orbs of light. Nothing like that ever happens around here.

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  8. dnd - no they don't and I believe they should be grabbed with both hands. Literally in this case!

    Starnitesky - it should be shown in Septmeber

    David - of course!

    Deb - I think there's a bit of the monkey in all of us!

    Rose - we must of lost loads of them! Shame I missed your comments, I do enjoy hearing from you

    Lisa - it was and I will!

    MMD - you could be right, we're even closer to Avebury ;)

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