I had the most horrifying conversation this morning with someone on the switchboard of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. I basically phoned, at the suggestion of one of my contacts in the museums industry, to find out who it was best to speak to about a potential installation. I explained who I was, and said I was simply looking for an email address where I could send my pitch. The man who answered the phone was rude and essentially did his best to make me feel like a worm who'd just crawled out of a compost heap. "As you're a cold caller" he said proudly, "I'm not allowed to give you a name." I asked if I could maybe email him and get him to pass the email on to someone more appropriate. "Your only option is to send a letter or a fax." He said. A fax?! A flipping fax?!! I sighed, resigned, "okay, who should I be addressing this letter to?" "As I've said," he said, "I'm not permitted to give you a name." "Can I ask what YOUR name is?" I asked "I don't have to provide you with that information..." And that was that. "Thank you for being so unhelpful," I said. And hung up.
I felt incensed and then ashamed and then incredibly depressed. It's difficult enough to cut a living in the arts without bastards like that doing their best to make you feel like third class citizens. I have a pathological hatred of making phone calls at the best of times so always appreciate it when people have the decency to make me feel like my phone call actually matters. Surely the best way to deal with answering telephones is to assume that everyone who rings in is a human being, who hasn't deliberately called to make your life a misery! As Ru Paul says, "stop! And ask yourself a question: do I want to be right... Or happy?"
I tweeted my disgust at the museum and then contacted their press office for a quote for this blog, which wasn't forthcoming, but they did get straight back to me, and diverted my complaint to the man who deals with such matters, who, I have to say, has been incredibly efficient and sympathetic: "We do not have a ‘no names’ policy and nor could/should we as a public service! I shall ascertain what has happened..."
I feel slightly vindicated, although I still find myself hating the fact that, to get anything fun off the ground, you have to deal with heaps and heaps of this sort of nonsense.
I now have a little curly moustache which I'm training with the aid of a bit of special wax. I think having weird facial hair is a bit like driving a Morris Minor. You end up locking eyes with the other men you pass who are equally sartorial in the moustache department. I get the impression that it's a bit of a club, but that those with longer, curlier moustaches look down on those like me with shorter ones. That's my perception anyway. I'm wondering if I look a bit ludicrous, but am hoping that the key to not looking too much like a fuddy-duddy Dali is maintaining stubble over the rest of my face. I may, of course, be entirely wrong.
We went to an event this evening hosted by the Arts Department of Channel 4, who, of course, commissioned our wedding. Grayson Perry (who beat us in most of the awards we were nominated for) was launching his new show about masculinity, and it looks absolutely fabulous. He's such a talented man.
We walked across Trafalgar Square in the lengthening shadows of the early evening sunlight. It was a genuine treat to be out and about. What lovely weather we're having this week!