Dress up in a silly costume, stand in a public place and it’s a sure thing that sooner or later, someone will push their pal to your side, point their cameraphone and within minutes, you’re all over the internet for all to marvel at.
I was a herald for the afternoon, complete with knee-length tabard and jaunty-angled hat. My, I was something to feast the eyes on, in a what-the-heck-is-that kind of way. It was all part of the publicity for The Narnia Experience, Mr Tumnus’ cave had been set up in the shiny new Trinity Centre as part of Leeds Light Night. My job was to be nice to people, which I have to say I’d be very happy to do for a living, if a living could be had from such a thing.
Youngsters and oldsters got to meet Mr and Mrs Beaver, those dam-building reactionaries who want to oust the white witch and bring back Christmas and pipe-playing faun Mr Tumnus who has an unplanned date with a dungeon.
It was fascinating to watch heads turn as passers-by tried to figure out where Santa was and why he wasn’t in his grotto. ‘Ah,’ I told them, with the geekiness of someone who has read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe so many times, I read it in French for a change, ‘while the white witch reigns, it will always be winter and never Christmas’. Some did actually know what I was talking about, which was a relief. Others, especially children, were captivated by the story, or maybe it was just the weird woman with the loud voice in the odd outfit.
I found myself being photographed with a group of young men from Qatar and others from Palestine and Jordan, they had no idea what it was all about, (I know, I asked them!) but what the heck, they’ll have fun explaining that one!
See you in Narnia? It’s at Left Bank, Leeds, from 25 November to 8 December.