Monday, May 10, 2004

The aftermath of a productive weekend

One of the problems of having a Greenbelt purge is that you get so little time to sit back and reflect with satisfaction on the headway you’ve made on that To Do list, before the balls come flying back into your court Deep down I’m delighted that most people reply so fast, but as I log on tonight and see the words “receiving 42 new messages”, my heart does sink a little bit.

Sure enough the To Do list is now nearly as long as it was before the weekend. I manage to deal with about 15 of the issues, but the rest will have to wait. Of course I’ve cherry picked the easy ones as well, sending out the "great to have you on board, we’ll be in touch soon” replies.

Actually I’m delighted to find how many such emails I end up sending out tonight. I guess we must be doing something right as we now seem to have a steady and dedicated bunch of talented venue managers who are keen to be involved year on year and you’ve no idea how fantastic that is. I know the credit for this lies with Ben and Gaynor and the work they put into the new Venue Manager Support roles last year.

Gaynor and I end up on the phone for over an hour tonight and in my inbox is a message from Ben (poor lad had been cc’d in on half my weekend email frenzy!) saying he’ll ring soon. It’s so good having the two of them on board, I don’t feel like I’m so much out on a limb trying to busk it these days. As well as sharing the workload, they are also great people for bouncing ideas off; how should I deal with this tricky person/issue? would so and so be good in this role?

Gaynor and I briefly touch on the familiar theme of “we must be mad to do all this work”. We ponder about how you get sucked into it, bit by bit, and how if we actually sat down and thought about it, would we choose to do so much?

I know my reason for first getting involved was because I wanted to give back to the festival, but I’m pretty sure I never envisaged doing this much. Sure, those feelings of support for the festival are still the driving force, but I don’t think you could keep doing it unless you got something back yourself.

Talking to Gaynor I know deep down that a big part of the ‘payback’ for me is all about the people. Frankly Gay and I could have done the ‘business’ part of our call in 15 mins, but where would be the fun in that?

An unforeseen delight of getting sucked into working Greenbelt is the strange melting pot of people you end up getting to know and love. People different from the type you would normally come across.

So often in life we work from the point of view of I’ll find out if I like you first and then possibly I’ll learn to love and respect you. Greenbelt seems to often work the other way round; love and respect are proffered up front and the finding out if you also like them is a bonus that might follow. The fact that it so often does, probably says a lot about the barriers that our prejudices create

Mind you I could just be talking has been known.

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