Friday, March 10, 2006

(163) Hope fades: Real Hope and octopus manifest

(The photos and insert above show a newly-caught fish, that, together with a barracuda which may be seen protruding at the top, would become our lunch.
Next is an Eagle Ray that went past the boat one morning and then Emory Kristof in silhouette as we returned to harbour one evening.
Then a large barracuda destined straight for the pot, and lastly, a newspaper article about the expedition.
EXPANDING the first three to 150% imagery, and also the newspaper article, will render them clearer/legible.)

On August 25th 1999, I was aboard Teddy Tucker’s moored boat Miss Wendy in Bermuda. This was the penultimate day of my expedition to locate and film Octopus giganteus, and it now looked almost certain that we would not be successful.
Emory Kristof came aboard singing All You Need is Love. I asked why and he said that it had been playing over the radio in the store where he had just bought, amongst other things, a copy of that day’s edition of The Royal Gazette of Bermuda.
He then handed it to me, the only occasion that he ever proffered me any newspaper.
On page 5 I spotted an interview with myself with an accompanying photo. Emory had not noticed it.

The piece was headed: Hope fades in search for elusive Giant Octopi (sic!)

I had visited their offices on August 23rd and had spoken to a reporter following his leaving a card under my hotel room door at least a week before. I was quoted as saying that I thought that hopes of our finding the creature were fading.

On the last page appeared an advertisement for a shop in the capital, Hamilton, called Squires. During August one could get a haircut there for $5 less than usual.
There were photos of a girl called Nicky and of a hairdresser named Jason Hope.
I recognised him as the actor from Brookside (see Entry 91).
And he may be seen here
That afternoon Teddy Tucker and I were fishing off his boat with handlines in shallow water, when I had difficulty in retrieving my line. I said that either it was snagged or I had hooked the giant octopus.
Then I hauled it up to discover that I had indeed caught a small rock octopus.
Kristof filmed this triumph.

Two days later I sought out Jason Hope.
The ad said that Squires was situated in Bermuda House Lane, which was between Front Street and Reid Street. I could not find it.

Whilst I was looking in Reid Street the lady with whom I had been dealing on my several visits to the Bank Of Bermuda at 6 Front Street, Mrs Penny Stokes, walked by on her lunch break. I greeted her.

I asked a pedestrian and he directed me down Reid Street to where he thought the lane was, but I could not see it. I went into a nearby Marks and Spencer store and showed the ad to a lady working there.
She thought carefully and then directed me very precisely to the shop, which she said was in a connecting lane just outside the store. It sounded wrong to me, for I had already looked there.

Yet I went where she said, the Walker Arcade, arriving there at 12.22, and saw Mr Hope in the Arcade Barber’s Shop.
I was rather fazed.
Knowing that this place was not Squires, I still went in and asked if it were. A chap said that it was not, but that Jason worked at Squires and he would take me there.

Mr Hope had dropped in at that moment to borrow some hair clippers, but, as a consequence of two misdirections, I ended up encountering him.

We walked together down some steps to Front Street and then along it. I was halted by a young man called Julian, whom I had met at the Tuckers home the previous day. His father was a visiting Doctor from Colchester.

We then walked up some steps, along Bermuda House Lane to Squires, where Jason Hope cut my hair. The shop was located about two hundred metres from the one to which the lady had so exactly directed me.

He asked if I were on holiday and I explained about the giant octopus expedition.
He remarked that he had read the article about it.

Each of us had become aware of the other’s existence through photographs in the same edition of the newspaper.

I asked him about life after Brookside and he said that he had moved to Bermuda a few years before as he had family out here.

(In the final part of this interview -
Bermudan businessman, Barron, mentions a David Hope working at the Arcade barber´s. Seems probable either that he was a relative of Jason´s or, more likely, Jason himself, for I was later to see some TV footage of him in a "where are they now" context playing tennis in Bermuda.)

I mentioned some developments in the soap opera, including Jimmy Corkhill (his screen uncle) now playing a schoolteacher.
He said that the actor who played him, Dean Sullivan, had actually been a schoolteacher before taking up acting (consider Entry 139).

Brookside was unusual amongst soap operas in that it is filmed not on a set but in a cul-de-sac that is part of a real Liverpool housing estate. Mr Hope mentioned how there was occasional resentment from the local residents at the filming amongst them, for they were often asked to be quiet or keep out of shot.

Shortly after he began my trim a man entered the shop and asked him about something for his daughter, but Mr Hope directed him to a nearby place called Eden.
(See Entry 148.)

As I paid him I handed across Entry 91, which I had had my wife fax over from England the previous day.

I noted how Jason Hope and Octopus(sy) were now coming together again.
... ... ...
A few days later I was checking in my bags at Bermuda Airport for the flight home when I thought how strongly the young lady at the counter resembled Penny Stokes.

She turned out to be her daughter, although she had a different surname.

She then explained that her father was Robert Doe.

I had become aware of that name purely because the seafarers with whom I had been consorting for the previous three weeks had mentioned him as a fisherman who claimed to have had earlier, epic encounters with the giant squid, long before those reported by Ingham.

Read more about Robert Doe here -

She confirmed that he was the same man.

Bermuda had about eighty thousand inhabitants.
... ... ...
Jason Hope would reappear in Brookside playing Rod Corkhill in 2001, visiting his uncle Jimmy.

Incidentally, on the TV news of July 8th, or 9th 1999 it was mentioned how documents just released after thirty years revealed how the Americans had made plans for dealing with the possibility of the astronauts of Apollo 11 being unable to leave the moon for the return journey. It had been agreed that they would be left to die up there, perhaps by their own hands, and that communications would be severed.
The next day The Daily Telegraph published the obituary of astronaut Peter Conrad, leader of the Apollo 12 mission, and third man to walk on the moon. He had been killed in a motorcycle accident.
On July 12th 1999 I phoned Emory Kristof to discuss the giant octopus expedition. We were to use Teddy Tucker’s boat, but he said that Teddy and his wife might not even be in Bermuda right now since they could be attending the funeral of Peter Conrad. Conrad had been related to a good friend of the Tuckers, Adrian Hooper, and had spent a lot of time in Bermuda sailing on Hooper’s boat, Symphony.
(I imagine that Peter Benchley scooped up Hooper´s surname for one of the main charcters in Jaws, a book partly written on Miss Wendy, the boat we were to use on the octopus hunt.) Kristof also told me that after Apollo 12 returned, and the press thought Conrad was in Houston, he was actually hanging out in Bermuda, sailing with Kristof and the Tuckers.

Emory had snapshots of them all, taken on Tucker’s and Benchley’s boat, Miss Wendy.

That would be the very boat on which we would undertake the expedition.
Around this time there was a spate of programmes on BBC about the thirtieth anniversary of the first moon landing, even though that fell on July 21st.

See points (55) (55a) (56) and (56a) of the Part Two: The Narrative, Epilogues and Appendices Entry -

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