|By Matthew Bellwood|
Awe and Wonder
Date: 12 August 2011
I have had my picture taken by tourists no less than forty-six times today. Well. I say "my" picture. What they actually wanted to take a picture of was me wearing my bizarre flyering mask. I built it with the aid of my housemate's nine-year-old in order to try and make a bit more of an impact when hitting the streets with my publicity materials.
Well, an impact it has certainly made, if only because it obscures my peripheral vision and I keep bumping into people. However, I must have given out about three-hundred flyers and people undoubtedly seem more interested in me than they did before. What is more, it has helped me bypass the slight embarrassment factor inherent in walking up to strangers and telling them how good your own show is.
I can now pretend that I am someone else entirely - a willing acolyte to the cult of my own celebrity - and can big-up my show with impunity. What is more, being encased in cardboard has given me the freedom to daydream to my heart's content. No one can see my face beneath the rictus grin of the mask and so I no longer need to look alert and cheerful and seem like I know what I'm doing. As I have always had a rather overactive imagination, and have been known to wander off into flights of fantasy in the middle of conversations, this is a definite bonus.
Even better than that, there is something very empowering about wandering round with horns on your head and a huge bird of prey on your arm. Small children look up at you with awe and respect, their smiling faces tinged with horror and I'd like to think that the grown-ups are just a little bit wary of me as well. One woman, near the Half-Price Hut, actually cried out in shock when she turned around and found me standing behind her and several others have gone out of their way to avoid me. Although thinking about it, it may just be that they're scared of getting walloped in the face with the eagle.
Luckily though, the majority of people seem happy to face their fears and come up and take a flyer and, as I said at the beginning of the entry, a fair few have wanted a photo as well. (Pleasingly, I noticed the living statue man on the Mound giving me an envious look just before lunchtime).
In fact, the only downside to all this extra attention is that I'm starting to think that people are actually far more interested in the mask than they are in my show. They may want to come and have their photos taken with me, but having had a look at my ticket sales for today, all this extra activity resulted in me selling precisely two more tickets than I had before.
Of course, if I was the kind of man who worried about that sort of thing, I might begin to find this a little depressing. But happily I am not. And I am more than happy to bask instead in the simple joys of dressing up in cardboard and walking the earth as a papier-maché god.
- by Matthew Bellwood
Any opinions expressed above do not represent the view of Whatsonstage.com nor any of its staff or contributors beyond the bylined author.
Related ContentBack to Edinburgh Homepage
Subscribe to our free newsletter