Last time I was crying in Glastonbury High Street, my good friend Guy came up to me and asked if I’d mind doing a bit of publicity for a new art shop that was opening in town. Naturally, I agreed.
I get to attend quite a few shop openings or refurbishments locally. It’s always a delight to make a big noise at such times. When many town centres are slowly dying, it’s so heartening to see that Glastonbury continues to bustle with commercial life!
I was asked to publicise a new gift/art shop called “Rogues’ Gallery”. Usually at these events, I’m there on my own, bellowing out the good news not only for local citizens but also for the many visitors that flood into the town from all over the world. But, today it was going to be different. I was to have two “escorts” for the day. Guy was going to be wearing the Colonial Marine armour from the film “Aliens”. He would be carrying a replica machine gun. My other escort, his friend John, would be wearing full Medieval armour, complete with helmet and carrying a broad axe.
(Photo by Patricia Raven)
To say there was some photography on the day would be a bit of an understatement!
We slowly clanked, rang, cried and posed our way round the centre of Glastonbury, my crying voice holding up well for a full four hours!
One hilarious highlight occurred near to our local Viking accessories shop, “Sheildmaiden”. I was just about to ring my bell and launch forth into a cry, when the front door of No. 8 opened. The occupier needed to know why a man in camouflage wearing an army helmet, holding a large machine gun, happened to be standing right outside of his kitchen window! Well, who wouldn’t?
Although Storm Brian was ravaging the UK, we got away with fairly good weather, apart from the strong wind that nearly blew my tricorn off a couple of times. Feathers were ruffled! The only time it rained heavily, Guy and I had adjourned to the George and Pilgrims for a swift half. Crying really hammers the vocal cords and they need frequent lubrication, as I’m sure you can understand.
Being Halloween season, the “G ‘n P” (as the locals affectionately call it) I noted, had spared no expense to decorate their rooms accordingly. The very poorly lit, stone-floored, centuries-old coaching hotel lends itself very well to a judicious sprinkling of ghouls, grim reapers and witches. I am indebted to my good friend Lisa Ann for her photos of its interior, which captures the atmosphere of the place really well. I scared myself half to death on returning from the gents, completely unaware of a skeleton in an alcove, with lights in its eye sockets, just standing there, behind a veil of gauze. A stiff brandy and I was good to go!
For my services, I was presented with a little financial remuneration, a bottle of mead – once again, the vocal cords thoroughly approved – and a signed print of “Boadicea” by Chris Achilleos, the renowned fantasy artist.
I’d lost track of time, as I was chatting with someone outside of the shop. I was just about to rattle off another routine publicity cry, prior to the official opening, when suddenly the two stars of the day appeared: Chris Achilleos, and Terry English, the world-famous armourer for films such as Aliens, Excalibur, Gladiator, King Arthur, Harry Potter, Joan of Arc……. Out of the corner of my eye, I also spotted her worship the Mayor, resplendent in her red robes, standing with scissors poised, ready to cut the tape. Alongside all of them, about 50-60 people suddenly seemed to appear from nowhere and photographers – including the press – were all stood in front of me in the road, taking photographs, holding up the traffic in both directions! Needless to say, I gave it the full, theatrical, 105 decibels!
Of course, it wasn’t just the shop opening that was causing a bit of a stir in Glastonbury. The town was also awash with fairies from the UK and abroad, for the “Fairy Fayre and Ball”. Our huge Town Hall is the venue for this event, with fairy-related stalls and merchandise cramming the hall during the daytime on Saturday and Sunday. I took a stroll around the stalls, in between crying, to catch up with a few friends.
Wendy does fabulous stained glass work.
Soso creates breathtakingly beautiful dragons and other mystical creatures.
The Saturday evening is given over to The Ball, danced away under the two magnificent chandeliers that hang in the Town Hall. All the ladies look very elegant in their finest fairy outfits – all with wings attached, of course.
Below, my good friend Linda Ravenscroft, undoubtedly one of the major “fairy coordinators” in town, rounds up her fairies in the G ‘n P, ready to grace the ball with even more glamour!
Alas, here is poor John. After trailing around with the Town Crier all day, he works tirelessly, well into the night; it’s hard work being a knight in Avalon!
Wings all fitted – a few final adjustments – and the stunningly beautiful Penny from Essex, is ready to fly!
Even the dogs have to look their best!