After spotting a man with a fridge hitch-hiking in Ireland, the author and comedian Tony Hawks took up a challenge to do the same thing for a month.
The Irish warmed to this eccentric idea, making Tony and his travelling companion most welcome. He won his bet and went on to write a book entitled Round Ireland with a Fridge.
The book features snapshots of the fridge in a variety of locations - you could call them "freeze-frames" - off for a stroll by the sea, hitching a lift by the roadside, and attracting the attention of a couple of curious nuns.
It's now been made into a movie, with Tony playing himself, accompanied by his co-star, the fridge, looking well-travelled in a multi-coloured coat of graffiti from well-wishers along the way.
Spending a day on set during filming, I joined a group of extras in a book shop to shoot a scene between Tony and love interest Roishin (played by Valerie O'Connor).
The fridge had its own burly minder to hulk it in and out of shot during each scene change.
"Nice and quiet for a take!" came the call. "Turning... and - action!" Tony showed the patience of a saint as he repeated his lines in different ways, filmed from several angles, with varying intonations and facial expressions. "Once more with a smile for variation please Tony..." asked director Ed Bye, "Once more, this time without the smile..."
In the next scene, all extras were roped in to form a queue of people eagerly waiting to have their copies of the book signed by Tony.
The making of a movie involves a great deal of hanging around, countless takes and re-takes, and hours of hard graft for every few minutes of filming. The glamour of the movie business is a very carefully crafted illusion. It takes a great deal of time, money and effort to turn mundane reality into glossy fiction. All things considered, it's a miracle that any movies outside the mainstream ever get made at all.
This low-budget, independent British film is a tale of David and Goliath - an unassuming, offbeat story taking a stand against the blockbuster giants. So anyone who doesn't think Tony and his fridge make a cool couple can go kiss the Blarney Stone.
For more information on Round Ireland With a Fridge see roundirelandwithafridge.com
Published: Saturday 17th September 2011