Festival of 'Free' Calls report
Festival of 'Free' Calls
The Festival was a great success.
There were about sixty people there on 31 March, the weather was good (overcast but warm), the organisation ran smoothly, everything worked apart from our megaphone, the police were helpful, the yellow sweets were unmetered - in fact, we supplied too great a sucrose bandwidth as millions were left over - I sold a lot of yellow T-shirts, and we forgot to eat ten litres of banana custard. We auctioned the remaining two of the limited edition of ten blue T-shirts with the Cowboy & Witless slogan: they fetched £25 between them!
There were three unexpected bonuses:
A CWC person asked who was behind the festival - Orange or BT - and was flabbergasted to discover that it was us, and us alone. And a BT person snuck up halfway through to take a leaflet. He intended to copy it and pass it round the office as he 'liked to see the competition trashed'. He got it wrong: the leaflet was aimed at all telecommunications operators ...
- Chris Nuttall of the BBC interviewed Erol Ziya, myself, and Roy Payne (CWC's Head of Corporate Communications) and produced an excellent feature which was broadcast on Radio Five Live and put on the BBC News Web site;
- CWC staff were pleased to see us. I was worried that they would have been barricaded inside the HQ: not so. It was obvious that they hadn't been told about the Festival and weren't aware of the issues behind it; they were willing to take leaflets - over nine hundred of them - and heard our case. I got the feeling that we were telling them things that had been kept from them. In fact, I thought the HQ was going to tip over so many people were watching from the upper floors ...
- We turned out to be rather good at a cappella singing; there were at least five rousing choruses of Getting to Know You.
Graham M Wallace wasn't forgotten, although he was in Barbados on the day.
We sent him a huge basket of fruit (kudos to Erol and Karen, his partner), a yellow pendulum clock - which used to be my living room clock - attached to a blue telephone and the Tonto 2000 prototype set-top box.
Richard Sliwa made a strange news posting about filling a rubber glove with vaseline; all was revealed as the T2000 had 'I want to get to know you. Please shake my hand' on the front with the rather creepy yellow digits sticking out from it. We suggested to CWC that they sell the T2000 to the Tate Gallery: after all, if you can be paid thousands of pounds for a pile of bricks ...
It was a wonderful day, and my heartfelt thanks to my fellow CUT members and to everyone who came along. The most important result of the Festival is that the issues are now in the open inside CWC where they can't be kept from 'ordinary' employees.
|CWC security guard, horse, clock and phone
|Iain Begg, Nick Mailer, horse and Alastair Scott admire the basket of fruit
|Alastair Scott's speech: Erol Ziya holds the (useless) megaphone
|The view looking away from CWC HQ. Note Richard Sliwa in chicken suit!
Photographs by Shishani Batal
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