I do like the song Living on a Prayer. During my teenage years, it was the school disco song of choice, the boys playing air guitar, the girls quietly swooning over Jon Bon Jovi’s long frizzy locks, such were the days before GHDs. Ah, the good old 1980s. These were also the days before the internet, the days when mobile phones resembled bricks, computer games consisted of Pac Man and a Sinclair ZX you had to program yourself, and You Tube was a term the neighbour two doors down used when you overheard her gassing to your mum over the fence about “women’s things”.
The reason I bring this up isn’t necessarily because I have a hankering after bad perms and Wham Bars (those things crackled in your mouth!), but rather because I am contemplating the next step for my book promotion. I blame it all on a lad called City Boy. Well, he’s not exactly a lad, he’s a former banker working in the City – and he’s written a bestselling book or two. Now, I know a bit about promotion, but this man, he’s gone to a whole new level. After reading a promo article by City Boy (real name: Geraint Anderson) I open up his website (www.cityboy.biz) and take a look at the things he’s done to get himself out there. My hubbie walks by just as I click on City Boy’s You Tube video. He peers at the screen. ‘Is that..? Is that his..? Is that man running down the hill naked?’ I nod. My husband looks again. ‘But…why?’ I look at the laptop with him. City Boy is still running, now into a crowd. ‘It’s to promote his book!’ I cry. Then, feeling I should qualify things, I add, ‘He’s at a festival. He’s streaking at a festival.’ ‘Oh, right, yeah,’ says my hubbie, as if that explains everything, and off he goes, slightly bewildered, slightly scarred. I go back to the video some days later. The content has been blocked by EMI due to copyright. Ah.
Clicking through to another City Boy clip, this time a skit to do with Johnny Depp, I sit back and have a think. My book sales are doing reasonably okay at the moment, but, after the initial push and coverage, things have gone a bit quiet. There is the great opportunity of writing a regular column for our local paper, but I’m awaiting confirmation, so I can’t count my chickens (or is it eggs?). So, what I need is a big boost. What I need is You Tube. I pitch the idea to several people, with various responses. ‘You’re not going to streak are you?’ says hubbie. ‘You’re mad,’ says a friend. ‘Whooooa! Can we be on it?’ shout the kids. Hmmm. To be honest, the whole thing does make me quite nervous. What would I do? How would I do it? How do I set a You Tube account up? Oh holy lord. After a bit of investigation, turns out, setting the whole thing up is pretty straightforward. You register, set up an account, choose a name that will appear to viewers, and you’re away. All you need to do next is make a video, upload it and pray to God that you don’t look an utter muppet. To the world. So no pressure, then.
And so to ideas. My lovely hubbie says he can video something on his iPad and talked about various ideas, including having our youngest play her guitar (as my book has guitar in the title…), and while that’s all great, I’m not so sure about having the kids in it, plus, to be honest, I’ve always had a few videos playing out in my head. One scenario, which has been in my head since my first job in marketing back in 1997, is set to Lionel Ritchie’s number, Celebration, where the whole marketing department, including the Director, get up on their desks in various dancing poses, singing into their pens and Filofaxes. Clearly, I either had a lot of spare time on my hands back then, or I was so bored I had to do what I could to make it sparkle. Whichever way, it was a daydream that fired many another over the years, many of which included big show songs and people singing into the camera whilst carrying about their regular tasks, such as vacuuming, teaching, scrubbing the loo or skydiving. Well, okay, maybe not sky diving.
Colouring book and felt tips out, I start to sketch some ideas of what the video could look like to which song. My brain is buzzing, and I don’t know whether it’s from the 3 espressos I downed or from the scary reality that I really might do this You Tube thingymajig. My hubbie walks by and stops to view my artwork. ‘Is that a toilet?’ ‘No,’ I reply, wounded, ‘it’s a car.’ ‘Oh.’ Just then, my Blackberry flashes. I pick it up and check my emails. ‘Oh my goodness!’ ‘What is it?’ asks hubbie. ‘It’s the Editor of the local paper, the Gazette. They want me to write a column for them. I’ve got to meet them on Monday.’ My hubbie gives me a hug. ‘Well done, honey. Proud of you.’ Then, pausing, he adds: ‘At least now you won’t have to streak for You Tube.’ And with that, he goes downstairs. I return to my felt tips and stare at the page. Slowly, things are beginning to happen for me. I’ve been writing for years and years, and now, just maybe, I might have a stab at it. I pick up a brown crayon and scribble Jon Bon Jovi’s hair. I take a deep breath. Nope, still can’t quite get my head round all that frizz.