The shows must go on: a beginner's guide to September
WELL. What a month! Autumn Fair and Top Drawer and lions and tigers and bears, oh my! What a palaver. Everything went smoothly to begin with; the lead-up to Autumn Fair was fine, everything booked, hired, checked and properly advertised. No sweat. Heading in on the train for the first day, though, I had the terrible feeling that something was wrong; it was one of those it’s-quiet-yeah-too-quiet sensations that generally precede all of the bogeymen leaping out at once and opening fire with Tommy guns. Tobias – whose chirpy optimism I’ve had to speak to him about in the past – did his best to reassure me, but as it turns out my vague feelings of dread were right on the money.
The industrial-strength Velcro we’d used to put up the boards and shelving had, for mysterious and sinister reasons of its own, decided to part company with the walls during the night. It had happened before, but never to this degree; we got to our stand at five minutes to nine and found everything on the floor.
I can’t tell you what my immediate reaction was because I don’t know how to bleep out an email, but with the help of our horrified, sympathetic, wonderful neighbours we managed to get everything back up on the walls. Original set-up time: four and a half hours. Emergency panic set-up time: fifty-six minutes. It’s amazing what a bit of adrenaline will do.
For Top Drawer we invested in a rechargeable screwdriver, which we bought two days before the show. Just like the furniture. And the paint. And the hotel rooms. And, um, the stand. While set-up went remarkably smoothly with the aid of our shiny new toy, our last-minute spontaneity did mean we’d missed the deadlines for everything up to and including the entry for the exhibitor directory. Nobody knew we were there. Like sneaky stealthy ninja card-spies.
Somehow, though, it was all fine. Autumn smashed all records to become our best show of all time, then Top Drawer managed to better it; either our star is steadily rising and our magnificent designs speak for themselves, or people just really, really want to buy cards from ninjas. (I know I do, but that's a separate issue.) It's been seriously great and I wouldn't change a thing*, but we're looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet in October; if you need us we'll be sitting with our feet in a bowl of hot water, drinking brandy and twitching at the sight of catalogues.
*except for the Velcro thing. Obviously I would change that.