Making headlines three
Continuing the reflection of having the attention of the media at its affects. So who benefits from this? I felt initially grateful and humbled to have the experience of having my work publicised, but after two intensive days it all shuts down, I found all the doors closed after that, no one was interested, that was the story of the moment and it went as quickly as it arrived. I kept a keen eye on the development of the story and kept a sense of focus, but also asking myself did I managed to utilise the opportunity? I felt I did, I felt I was on top of it, since I am my own agent, publicist and have no one that does the publicity I did the best I could to make sure I seized the opportunity that came to me with all my heart.
For the press they got the story and the initial people re Evening standard being one of them put it on their website then the sun, the mail, the Guardian, the Times and many more papers I never knew existed put it up on their on-line paper. I hadn't actually really seen anything in physical print until friends kept telling me that they had seen it in the Metro or so and so paper. So the story went from print to on-line in a matter of days, and from there other organisations from across the world also put the story on their website.
For me I didn't really have a clue what to do next or where to go with it. as I had no-one to give me advice, I was fumbling my way through the media fog. The local radio station Radio Jackie took interest so I called them, but found the conversation rather strange as the interviewer was asking me "How do I know that you are who you say you are?" I said I would come to the station and meet in person, anyway the interviewer carried on interviewing and I praised radio Jackie as I had listened to it a lot heading over to Kingston when I was doing my BA at Kingston University. Here is a link to the a snip of the interview, they didn't include all of it. ( http://news.radiojackie.com/2016/11/it-seems-secret-identity-of-mysterious.html )
The overall headline was that the secret identity of the Barnes White Rabbit had been revealed, the strangest thing, it was never a secret in the first place and initially all I was really doing was trying to get a years worth of photographs to make a calendar. The press did pick up the story that I had been photographed with Zac Goldsmith Brithish MP and Boris Johnson who is now our prime minister, though he was Mayor at the time. The image of Boris and myself popped up in lots of different papers and stories, some political and some using it to demean Boris. Recently it did appear on have I got news for you on British Television.
What was interesting for me is that as the artist behind the costume I was never credited, it was always just the rabbit image. I think this is why the image is used often as it could be anyone under the costume, so they have free range with the image. The image here is me with my local MP Zac Goldsmith who was also photographed along with me and Boris Johnson. It was all because of Gyles Brandreth who was hosting a demonstration in South West London in protest against Heathrow having a new runway built. My partner suggested I should pop up, I wasn't really interested but decided that I should go and check it out. I turned up put the costume on and noticed a crowd standing in a semi-cirlce with a race track visible, so I ran up and down the race track then Gyles invites me on to the stage, so I sat with a woman on a bench, then minutes later Zack arrived and after that so did Boris Johnson, and everyone headed away from the stage. I recall climbing down and made my way through the press and walked straight into the middle of Zac and Boris and the rest is history, that is how that particular image happened, of course the press loved it, this was well before the unmasking of white rabbit.
White rabbit had existed long before the famous unmasking, but like most things when it hits the main stream media, its becomes a fresh story. I know from others who have been in the media, how do you sustain that kind of attention, if that's what you seek? This is what it does, it is like having a carrot dangling in front of you and you begin to chase it.
When the photograph of me Zac and Boris started appear in papers I found many local people loved it, as they knew who it was, since the rabbit began part of a local overseas friendship, which I have mentioned previously somewhere. I was the worst kept secret. (Will stop for now and continue on Monday, so will have a break and enjoy the weekend whatever the limitations of lockdown.)
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Spike Mclarrity is a duration based conceptual performance artist.