It’s busy on the High St today, 10 degrees with a clear, still, off-white sky. There’s a film crew assembling a shoot on the opposite side of the street. They’ve cordoned off an area with bright yellow cones and there are about 15 people on their hands and knees assembling chairs and tables from cardboard boxes. I looks like a kids arts and crafts class and a lot of fun! There is a man in his mid 30s with a bleached blonde perfect rockabilly quiff and he’s wearing a foot long chain of brightly coloured balls at his waist which I assume is the media equivalent of an engineer’s tool belt pouch.
A toddler of no more than 3 years of age faces me head-on through the glass, her face red and full of tears, arms in the air as she runs away, putting at least a foot and a half between her mother and the pushchair. Mom leans down and lurches for the youngster’s coat hood, a yelp and a spin around and she’s back in her mothers arms, albeit horizontal with legs kicking like she’s swimming for survival.
Now the leader of the film crew (Japanese Elvis) is eating hot ramen from a plastic bowl, his hair is dark brown on the sides and only bleached on top a bit like a cool Raccoon – which leads me to google this and discover they are rife here as they have no natural predators in Japan. Anyway, he looks very happy pointing his right arm out and dishing out instructions whilst holding the Ramen with his left, and I reckon he;s having a good day.
They appear to have set up to shoot a scene in a MacDonalds restaurant. But there wasn’t a MacDonalds there before… so they must’ve had an early start this morning: setting up the Maccie D branding and so forth to make it look authentic. Maybe it’s an advert.
About halfway between the film set and my seat a middle aged man in a suit and blue lanyard around his neck is crouched down on the ground, one hand placed on the public furniture to steady himself, and with the other he’s made a fist and is hitting the small of his back. Poor chap must be having a bad back day. He goes on to stretch one leg far out in the front of the other, perhaps a hamstring stretch, he’s determined to remedy today’s ills and you have to admire that.
The actors are in place now, – 5 of them – standing motionless and waiting for the red light. Japanese Elvis runs from camera to actor, darting about from a static start like a goal hungry centre forward in the six- yard box on a corner. He’s tweaking things and giving out more instructions, good job he had that Ramen when he did.
This pop up theatre is attracting a fair amount of interest now from passers by, and I don’t envy the task of the single security person. He has a megaphone and is encouraging people to keep moving down the high street and not dilly dally. He appears to be enjoying his role. He just made a person with a walking stick get up and move from where she sat on a public bench, and now he’s shepherding a lady of no less than 75 years of age, inviting her to accelerate. Another passer by stopped to take a photo of this imagined fast food meal, and he almost grabbed the phone from his hand. Meanwhile, Elvis Raccoon man is waving both arms above his head, he has a clapper board now and is not afraid to use it.
Two teenager girls sit where the lady with the walking aid was a minute ago (there’s no signage to indicate otherwise), but security man has them covered and points his walkie talkie at them. To my surprise they respond by immediately standing up and leaving and I’m a little disappointed that even the youth don’t offer up any resistance. “It’s as if punk rock never happened” I say to myself, and then I remember – it didn’t, here.