Friday, 10 January 2014

Dude You're Screwed. With Pathfinder Tom

'Tomahawk is a snaggle toothed, piratical, bacon eating, cigar smoking, borderline alcoholic, that travels the world, exploring wilderness areas and seeing the sites. He can often be found in 3rd world bars telling drunken "I was there" stories to impress tourists.' - from Tom's blog

Been a while since one of the gang appeared on TV, this time its the blogger known as Pathfinder Tom showing us how its done on a show for Discovery called 'Dude You're Screwed'.

The premise is a simple one; a group of survival experts gather together and take it in turns to kidnap each other, with the kidnapped guy being dropped off in some inhospitable terrain, and having to find his way out. His progress may or may not be hindered by some stuff the others have 'gifted' him to carry along. The show manages to avoid the stunts and sensationalism or earnestness, and instead has guys who know their shit and are having a laugh out MacGyver-ing each other on a lads weekend away. Kind of Bushcraft-TopGear?

Tom is cast in the role of  the group's  'wise old guy' or Zen-sage. Who does less to achieve more and wins without competing. All whilst lugging along; a bunch of flowers, some anti freeze, and golf bag, that the other contestants have chosen for him.

I was pleased to see 'wise' as one of the characters the producers had chosen, we've seen military-guy vs earth-guy on these shows before so widening the casting made a refreshing change, for once even that great stereotype of american TV 'British-guy' wasn't of the Hugh Grant mould. Of course the difficulties inherent in filming mean that there is a staged quality to some of the scenes, but I massively prefer that to stunt-cam style where voice overs saying "here's one the production crew got ready while I was still asleep in the hotel" have to be added later. For me by being honestly fake the show was better than those who have tried to fake honesty. So far, so zen.

Followers of Toms blog, will know that while the rest of us are [to varying degrees] playing at it, Tom lives off grid well over 300 days a year. He does a bit of contracting, teaches at Jack Mountain Bushcraft School, or guides, but for the most part he just seems to enjoy himself traveling and living off the land or from things dumped at the fringes of 'civilisation'.
While every other 'survival dude' on tv seems to have a bag, clothing range or knife to endorse, his survival knife is at least 20 years old and cost less than $20. Most of the rest of his gear is literally dumpster-dived. I've been reading his blog for years and I can't remember him once recommending any particular brand of anything, other than Johnny Walker.
Tom lives as near to free as you can - both feet in the wild, and just a toehold in the modern world. Interesting chap, on TV he seems just like he does on the pages of his blog, which I guess is what this storytelling malarky is all about?

Well worth a watch
More soon