Saturday, August 19, 2006
Working the Fringe - Part 1
I returned from work late; around about 8pm. I was soaked through to the skin after torrential rain for most of the late afternoon and early evening that I had tried hard to avoid. But alas, there were too many holes in the clouds to prevent my arriving back to my home dry.
I changed and switched on my PC then sat down to read my email. There was one email that stood out from the rest, from a correspondent over at Sky News. She was working on a piece running this weekend about bloggers and wanted to interview me, and could I call her back if I got this email before the evening.
It was already well past 8, but I gave her a call anyway on the off chance she might still be looking. Alas (my second of the day), it was not to be as her deadline was long gone and the piece was prepared. She thanked me for returning the call and after a few pleasantries I put the phone down.
I couldn't help but wonder what a magnificent opportunity for exposure I missed due to my one-in-a-million decision to work late. My failure to access an email in time has lost me a slot on Sky News! I was gutted, but nevertheless it spurred me into a motivational line of thought concerning Fringe Fantastic.
I am going to have to work hard this weekend, so I feel that I have balanced out what I lost.
And so to today. I was up early and away out the door with Laura to take her to dance classes, which resume today. No stopping off at any coffee shops however, as I made a beeline straight for the High Street with my rucksack packed with fliers, posters and books.
Now, none of this is as easy at it sounds. I arrived at the top end of the street in good time and took a wander through the rather empty street. Most of the street performers and market owners were still setting up for the day, but by the time I reached the bottom I could feel the numbers in the area growing rapidly.
I took out my fliers and stood next to a Royal Bank pillar. I wondered what to do. People were walking past me, but I felt a tad shy and reluctant to start forcing my fliers into people's faces. I started to walk again and fell into line behind a girl who was clutching a bundle of far superior fliers to mine. She too was passing people by, then as if she had just been given a giant push from a hand called Courage, she approached a couple of people and told them about the show she was promoting, handing over a leaflet as she did.
I had seen how it was done. It was time to take action.
I lifted my arm, small flappy piece of paper in my hand, and held it out. Nobody came forth. I started to walk again and caught a glimpse of a woman who was already glimpsing at me. I raised the flier in her direction, she smiled and took it. "This is better," I said to my self and carried on.
An elderly man and woman were coming towards me now. I held out the flier and said, "Fringe Fantastic, sir?" He blanked me and walked on. I felt shattered.
I had just over an hour to get used to it, and by the end of my time I was just beginning to feel like a beginner. I had only managed to give out a handful of fliers though.
I headed off to collect Laura and then home for lunch. Afterwards, Laura insisted on joining me and off we went again.
Laura was an inspiration. It was her who came up with the idea of holding the fliers upside down so people walking towards could see what they were, and it was her who had the idea of shouting out "Fringe Fantastic" in the middle of the street to get people's attention.
Attention is the key word. There were throngs of people struggling along The Mile in both directions and as the afternoon wore on, it was taking longer and longer to get to either end each run we had at it. It was hard to stand out even with fliers and a copy of the book to hand.
At one point I spotted the Man of Gold statue. I've seen him at previous festivals and on the TV advert for VisitScotland.com dressed in a fully gold suit with bicycle. I watched him for a bit, then with a copy of Fringe Fantastic opened at page 58, walked up to him and held it out in front of his face.
He didn't blink. I stood my ground. His eyes shifted an eye towards the page. A smirk. A wide smile. He was off his plinth before I knew it and asking me all about the book, and if he could buy a copy. We arranged to meet tomorrow as he was unable to purchase just now due to him performing all afternoon.
My first street sale!!!
Laura and I carried on for the rest of the afternoon; dishing out leaflets and putting up posters. By the back of 5 I was knackered; 40 copies of Fringe Fantastic doesn't make for a lightweight bag resting on ones shoulder.
We headed home, slightly red from the sun, feet and shoulders aching and very hungry. Gail was heading out on a Hen night as we arrived so as soon as she was gone I cracked open the Irn-Bru and ordered a pizza.
What the hell! We had worked damn hard and I think we deserved it.