Splat shouldn’t be mysterious. Okay the models might occasionally be a little baffled (I still find it hard to comprehend how you could turn up for a shoot knowing nothing about what you were going to be doing) and sometimes it might get a little surreal (if you haven’t got the Easter special yet with “that” outfit then you really should) but it shouldn’t start with a mystery and end on a cliffhanger…. but today really broke the rules. Apparently I’m not me, Pete filmed a show he knew nothing about and The Mysterious Mr Beau has a case of messy amnesia.
Pete’s cheery and bouncy. He has a really good feeling about the shoot and, for once, I’m almost totally relaxed and “issue free”. I set the room up whilst Pete mixes gunge in the bathroom and then we reconvene at the window that looks out on to the road, waiting for Beau to arrive. We joke about doing a “film them walking down the street” type intro and when we see someone heading for Splat HQ with confident strides, we know it’s Beau. I’m half tempted to grab a camera and actually take Pete seriously but decide against it (don’t want to scare them off as they come in the front door). We head down and let him in. Now, it’s not that I don’t pay attention to the models (trust me, even on days that are totally anxiety free my brain still goes through the process of sizing them up on the “trigger” front so I am paying close attention of sorts) but when it’s Pete just doing basic introductions you don’t always remember everything word for word. So what follows isn’t necessarily 100% accurate on the wording and I wish I HAD recorded it but part of the exchange went
PETE: So this is your first shoot with us…
BEAU: (To Pete) No I did one years back and (to me) I remember working with you.
At which point Pete looked utterly baffled and my jaw apparently hit the floor. Trust me, I would remember if I’d even met Beau before. With his longer hair than in his publicity pics the most appropriate adjective for his looks would be “dashing” and I’d remember his face and tattoos if I’d done any kind of show with him (plus I haven’t done so many shows that I’ve started to forget who I’ve done!) So we have something of a mystery. Pete, naturally, tries to dig deeper. Beau is certain that he’s done Splat before. He remembers doing it in a garden, he remembers gunge and he remembers baked beans. Yeah I would DEFINITELY remember doing that show. He says he will dig out the messages about it at some point and we definitely can’t wait. Except his messages don’t go back that far on his phone. Pete runs the Splat website (let’s face it, Pete IS Splat in all its formats) and is certain he’s never seen Beau at Splat before. So, when you watch the show (you will watch it, won’t you) you will hear lots of chat about what he’s done gunge wise before and how this compared to his previous visit. If you watched on the live feed you’ll also have noticed Pete and I talking in hushed tones about the revelation (even on the live feed we do have to be a bit careful what we say out loud) so yes, the day is shrouded in a mystery. You’ll also notice that a few times we use names that aren’t familiar to you all. That’s because, shock horror, not every model uses their real name and sometimes we forget what we’re supposed to call who.
What… you want the answer? Well you’ve got a bit more to read before the reveal.
You’ll hopefully be wanting to know how the shoot itself went. Well Beau might be Mr Mystery but he’s also Mr Damn-Good-Star! He’s another one who instinctively gets what Splat is about even if the set up today is very different to his previous outdoor visit (he’s even bought flip flops with him, I’m beyond impressed). He gives the reaction I want to Gunge Tank Escape (the “oh god that was so obvious how didn’t I win” response) and he’s outgoing in his interview. The interview, as a side note, isn’t just a gratuitous tanking, fun as that is anyway. With Beau being someone Pete and I haven’t worked with before and only met for the first time about 30 minutes ago, it’s absolutely vital for US as we get to get a feel for what we have ahead, gives us ideas for mini modifications to upcoming games and we get a chance to work out how he’s going to respond to instructions and ideas. But basically he’s going to be GREAT. Pete asks about one of his distinctive tattoos and I ask about the gym. We ask about what he’s done in the past and what he’s expecting. Then we tank him because it’s damn good fun!
During the shoot we try out one new game, it doesn’t quite go as planned (and I’m threatened with punishment as it’s sort of my…. Oh okay, I designed the game, had to reinvent it on the spot to make it fit the over all show a bit better and failed to think one piece through) BUT it leaves the three of us giggling our heads off and hopefully that makes up for the minor booboos. Beau happily poses for photos between games (a couple will be used for publicity on social media but they’re mostly for the Fan Club as are the candid videos I’ve shot) and I can’t express how much of a damn nice guy he is. For the show’s I’ve been involved with, Pete’s track record is 100% for easy going, funny and sincere people. Beau is another ego free contestant and the shoot sails past. We do the closing interview, Pete and I get more information from him about the gym, his tattoos and how it compares to his previous shoot (yay, we were better than…. Errrrr…. Us???) and for a moment I have compassion for what he’s about to get in the Splat Storm. Then I’ve got the gunge blaster in my hand, compassion goes out of the window and he gets the equivalent of about six buckets over him in the space of a few minutes. As he cleans himself down for the final time, he jokes he wishes he’d had goggles like last time.
Before I give away the ending to the mystery, I’m going to let you in to a Splat Show secret. Tomorrow we’re shooting with Malcolm and he’s getting the “cold and smelly gunge” as he lost the vote. So to let you in on a secret, to make the cold and smelly gunge… we simply reuse gunge from the previous shoot. So my last job for the day is to salvage three VERY full buckets of gunge from the ankle deep slop in the bottom of Beau’s shoot and put it to one side for Malcolm tomorrow. Sorry Malcolm, when we say you’re getting cold and smelly, we mean it! No fakery, no trickery and no “acting”. When we say we’re going to do something, we do it.
So, the reveal. I’m not sure if I’m offended by this or not but Beau HAS done a gunge shoot before, just not with us (and, more importantly, with someone shorter than me, built totally different to me and with dark hair!) and before I leave for home I tell Pete where I’ve seen him before. 1) Off and on camera, when we were discussing the gym, I’ve pieced together an idea of how long he’s been working out and what he’s focussed on 2) Pete asked about his tattoos he gave us quite a lot of detail about them including which order he got them in. 3) Turns out, like some of our other models, he’s worked under other names. 4) Yes, I work with Splat (and I still buy the shows I’m not involved with) and I’ve been a gunge fan for a very long time…. So I know my gunge shows and I’ve only ever seen one show in the past where the model wore goggles.
Beau, if you’re reading this, I really want to say wow. I’ve just watched the show you did with someone else a long time ago. I don’t just want to say wow for today (because believe me you deserve it for that alone) but I’ve seen the change you’ve made to your body. The stuff we talked about, your dedication shows. I know how hard it can be to change the way you looked but man you have done it incredibly! So I want to end this blog by raising my hat to you. Not just a damn decent person, not just a great gunge recipient but also someone who has my complete and utter respect for remoulding yourself the way you have.
And more than that, I want to say how deeply DEEPLY jealous I am of your hair.