Monday Musings. 31/8/15
For those of you who were anxiously wondering whether there would be any musings today with it being a bank holiday, worry not. I like bank holidays and I enjoy how overexcited everyone gets about having one extra day off. Four or five weeks beforehand, you hear people saying things like; “Ooh, bank holiday weekend coming up soon! Can’t wait!” When you go to the pub on a bank holiday Sunday, you feel that you absolutely must drink more irresponsibly than you would on a normal Friday or a Saturday.
“I’m not working tomorrow so why not?” you will say to your grinning pal as he bounds over from the bar with a tray of colourful drinks.
“Rude not to!” He will reply and then you will feel annoyed as this is an irritating saying that often doesn’t make sense. You will then wonder whether you want to spend the rest of this special Sunday evening with him.
If, god forbid, you have to work on bank holiday Monday, you get an incredible amount of sympathy and some people are utterly disbelieving. They can’t handle it.
“What? You’re working? On a bank holiday? Really? You must be getting time and a half though right?”
I always associate the August bank holiday weekend with Leeds Festival despite the fact that I haven’t actually been in nearly a decade. It is something of rites of passage to go to Leeds Festival in Year 11 as it takes place shortly after your GCSE results and I have fond memories of going with my friends in 2003, most of us wearing TK-Maxx bought hoodies and fairly awful baggy jeans.
It was a wonderful weekend of teenage silliness but my overriding memory from the festival is one of fear. A friend and I decided that we wanted to go on a fairground ride — one of those stupid ones that spins round really fast and nobody actually enjoys. We didn’t have the necessary £4 each but with us being sixteen, inebriated and idiots, we managed to sneak on without paying. All good fun until the safety barriers didn’t come down and it started to move. We had to pull them down manually and hold on for dear life, which was testing for my spindly biceps. We lived to tell the tale and tried to impress girls by boasting about what daredevils we were, leaving out the fact that both of us were crying throughout the duration of the ride. I also remember my dad coming to pick us up after the festival and another friend, too polite to ask my dad to pull over, was sick in his rucksack in the back of the car.
Sadly Louise couldn’t be talked into spending this weekend in a tent and crowd surfing to Metallica so we went to the Lake District, which is of course a wonderful part of the country. Possibly my favourite in fact. The only snag is that it pisses it down every time you go. Many a family holiday was spent battling up mountains in swirling wind and rain as my stoic dad assured us that it was ‘just a shower’ and that we were ‘nearly back’ a good five miles away from the car. Being close to the Lake District was one of my university’s big selling points but I only actually went once in three years. It was supposed to be a romantic daytrip with Louise but we didn’t set off until after three o’clock and I invited my friend. When we arrived, we sat by a lake, looked at some ducks (if memory serves me correct, we gave some of the duck’s names and background stories) then drove back.
Anyway, this time went well even though, true to form, I got us lost on the walk. It’s not just that I struggle with practical tasks such as reading a map, I simply cannot do them. ‘It’s definitely this way’ isn’t convincing when you are wading through bracken up to your armpits. It was an enjoyable weekend though and with it being a bank holiday, there wasn’t even the Sunday blues to contend with on getting home last night. I also had a small wager on Swansea to beat Man United. Excellent.
Last week, one of my strategies to get people to read my Monday Musings and hopefully buy my book was excessively tweeting the link to celebrities, newspapers, authors etc. along with thinly veiled attempts to personalize what is clearly a copy and pasted message. (Does the copy and paste option make the world worse?) I am aware that this probably makes me really annoying but I am not going to lose sleep over my Twitter popularity. Of course, it’s unlikely to yield many results but it is brainlessly easy and can be done whilst at work so worth a shot? Maybe? As far as I know, Barack Obama is yet to read it but I shall continue to invite him.
Anyway, a couple of days ago, I got a first response to my irritating self-promotional activity, from a well-known author who wrote a book that was turned into an Oscar-nominated film. She simply advised me to introduce myself properly and start a dialogue before asking people to read my work. This is completely fair enough and good advice. It is difficult to balance though. Do you go scattergun and increase your options or do you carefully handpick people that may be interested and craft careful, personalized emails or letters? (I’m sure there will be some marketing terms to describe this.) Of course, the latter is a much better way to go about things but there is every chance that you’d spend ages doing this and still get no response. Similar to those job application forms that take hours and hours to complete but you don’t get so much as a rejection email. Quite why every job application has a different format for writing about education and work history is beyond me. I’m so sick of typing out the addresses of my previous jobs. By the time it comes to the personal statement, I’ve given up.
If money weren’t an issue (I only had £7.50 on Swansea to win yesterday), I would hire a publicist to help me out. I’m sure they could advise much better ways to promote my book although I imagine that people in this line of work are the type that misuse the word ‘literally’ and overuse the word ‘amazing’ which would be an issue. I will keep plugging away for a bit longer though. There’s no point giving up and while it can feel like banging your head against a wall at times, I am learning a lot and still have a couple of reviews and articles pending which may provide a boost. One thing is for sure; I will not be working on book publicity today. I will not be doing any work today. It’s a bank holiday isn’t it?