Sunday, 23 August 2009

A mixed week.

London Mystery Photography Tour

Just when I think I may have cracked the market, someone teaches me a lesson in humility. Saturday, Monday and Wednesday clients arrived, but then the other days were disappointingly empty. Though I still had more work to do than I can achieve, I'd much rather farm that out to someone one else and go for a meander around the city streets of London instead!

And hasn't the weather been sensational for quite a few days? Don't think about the occasional shower/storm, generally it's been great. Those of you who peer out the curtain and see a grey sky, and then crawl back into bed miss the fantastic opportunities of buildings with no shadows and reflections with no glaring light. And for those of you that decided a sleep-in was more important, you won't believe what the Thames looked like this morning, plus the shadows of the lamps on the PLA building were fantastic. Yesterday morning the Thames was like a glassy pond and the shine was intense. I can't help but stop and take photos.

And when the day is beautiful like today, well, what could be better than walking around for a few hours discovering the city of London in fine detail? On the weekend, there's hardly anyone else around and standing in the centre of the street isn't a hazard!

Someone turned up on my tour who kept me on my toes. This gentleman had been pretty much all over the city, more than once, so a quick revision of intended locations for the day was required..Fortunately I still managed to show him some sights/ sites, that he hadn't seen before.

A few clients recently have said that they are the "guinea pigs" for groups of friends and colleagues. If they like this tour, the others will all come. I can only say that if you wait too long to find out for yourself, I'll be broke and Hairy Goat will have closed down and you will have missed out on a great tour.

This week I had several gentlemen early in the week who intended to tell their international friends that "this is the tour you need to do when you visit London". All clients have wanted brochures to give to friends and colleagues. It's difficult to get people to write on a blog on my behalf and I have no intention of faking anything. So attached below are either comments that have been received either by email or verbally from some of my clients.

From Adam on 3rd Aug via email. Comments: Quick note to say thanks for the tour on Saturday. Very interesting and your knowledge of quirky London facts is impressive. Good luck for the future.
From Ian Riley on 26 July via email: I very much injoyed to tour last week. Thanks for your time and expertise
From Wajjid ( verbally) on 17 Aug: This is the tour I'm going to tell my friends to do when they visit London.
From David and Warren (verbally) on17 Aug: I've had the most wonderful afternoon and can you do a night photography tour?
From Kath and Tom (verbally) on 15 Aug: What your are offering is unique. There is nothing else like it. We're going to tell our friends that they need to do this tour and can we have some more brochures?
From Neil and Maurizio (verbally) 23 Aug: Keep it up as it's a great tour and in time it will be very successful and can you put our names down for a night time tour?

So, what are you waiting for?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

He who hesitates misses out!

Well, the day started out dull and cool but as usual it's changing by the minute. So if you are thinking of coming out on a tour and get deterred because the weather looks rubbish, pay no attention to it. Believe it or not, it's only rained once on a tour in the last 3 weeks. (Admittedly, some days no one turns up, so do I count those days?)

Every weekday I'm out and about near a train station handing out brochures for the Hairy Goat London Photography Mystery Tour. The positive reaction from people approaching me for a brochure is encouraging and everyone is "coming along in a couple of weeks".. But please don't wait too long to come on a tour, because my supply of baked beans is running out and shortly I'll seriously have to reconsider how to continue paying my rent!

I've also been asked about young children under 12 coming on the tour. I have said on the brochure it isn't suitable, but if you know that your child is developing an interest (pun intended) in photography or history and is happy to come along for 3 hours, then by all means bring them. For free!

Just yesterday, I was near Liverpool St Station, and a fellow recognised me. He was interested in coming along on the tour but found the £20 fee to be a deterrent. So while I was standing there, I asked if he'd seen the massive perfect reflection in the building right next to us. He admitted that he was on this street regularly and had never noticed it.. And what about the gold beaver weather vane on the building diagonally opposite, plus all the other building features? (The building had belonged to the Hudson Bay Company and the features were appropriate to their business.) But, nope, he'd never noticed them either. So, I said he can certainly walk the streets for free, but he'd been doing that regularly already and hadn't seen the two things I showed straight away. And every day I find something new. Yesterday I found a fantastic frieze/coat of arms of two upright camels tucked in an alley and set into a wall.

I missed the photo of the week yesterday. It would have been called the Three Speeds of Red. At the stoplights, pulled up a red Ducati (my favourite bikes), then a fit cyclist on a racing bicycle wearing a red t'shirt.. then alongside pulled up a red t'shirted very unfit cyclist on a fold up bike. It was a perfect shot. But I dithered, and lost it.

But carrying a camera does pay off. You know how you do a double take when you see someone but are surprised by it? I was pretty sure I'd seen him strolling along the day before in Trafalgar Square but while delivering brochures to hotels the next day, I saw him again. It was The Hof, David Hasselhof. And he had agreed to a photo with one of the hotel staff, who had nothing but a camera phone. Did I gain brownie points with the staff when I produced the camera?

I have to say, this new life is great. But it would be a lot better if I could afford to keep it up, and give someone else a job too.

Monday, 3 August 2009

News Flash

NEWS FLASH! - Monday 3 August 2009

Hairy Goat is investing in the future of the Arts.
Today I am proud to announce the decision to become a patron of young and upcoming musical theatre performer Brittany Field. After a series of gruelling auditions Brittany has been accepted into the renowned Guildford School of Acting’s BA (Hons) Musical Theatre course.
Find out about Brittany’s quest to become a performer on London’s West End on her website or if you see Brittany out and about promoting Hairy Goat’s London Photography Mystery Tours at a popular railway station say “hi” and ask her about it personally.
Brittany will be keeping us up to date with news about her progress and who knows one day Hairy Goat might be escorting tours to see her in a major London production.