As a writer with several books published I like to think of myself as an author. Never mind about the argument between traditional and indie publishing, my books sell, so that makes me an author. One thing I have never considered myself to be, is an entertainer.
But when you think about it, I suppose if a book sells and it gets good reviews, then the author is entertaining the reader. I mention this for no other reason than I once had a situation in my long ago youth, when I was eighteen, to experience the low side of entertainment. I was working as a shop assistant in a wine merchants in my home town. I had been made assistant manager at an early age because I was good at my job. So when a new shop was being opened, I was given the post. The shop was opening in the summer of 1973. The grand opening was by a new British TV comedy talent. He had recently won a TV talent show and was very funny on screen.
It was my job to ensure that everything was in its place, and ready to go. Before the grand opening it was my job to make sure the celebrity had anything and everything he needed, like a cup of tea, coffee, food and, well, you get the picture. In other words It was my job to make the celebrity guest happy, it was his job to entertain. Everything was set and the TV comedian arrived 30 minutes before the cutting of the ribbon opening the new flagship shop. There was one slight problem, the TV celebrity made it very clear he didn't want to be there, he was as miserable as sin. He moaned constantly. Nothing was good enough. A glass of wine was requested, he took one sip and made it plain he hated it. It was not going well.
It was 30 minutes of purgatory I never wanted to experience again. But when the lights came on and it was time to entertain the growing crowd who had come for the free wine, and to see the comedian, he performed superbly and cut the tape with a flourish. He made the crowd laugh, smiled, glad handed everyone and he entertained. When all the hubub died down and he went through to the back of the shop to leave, his smile snapped off and he was as miserable as sin once more. This encounter taught me a lesson. If you are paid to entertain, then do your best. But when the show is over, there is no need to be a jerk, it really does pay to smile and entertain at all times. Copyright © Tom Kane 2021