The road to the holy grail of becoming a furniture superstar is quite simply a minefield of do’s and don’ts. It’s a good job I like a challenge, and after all a headwind can only make you stronger!
So after the slap in the face from Dico and the rather rude kick in the crown jewels from Mrs Fawlty some might have felt a bit put off by the whole design/gallery experience. Not me, I like a good fight.
As the bell rang for the next round I decided to take another swing at gay Paris. Sometimes you need a little more than just charm to get your foot in the door, enter the crowbar and a less subtle approach. I fired my standard kiss arse bla bla bla email across the bows of the next gallery on the list but this time gave a ‘big up’ to my long-time close friend Dico. Bingo! It’s all about who you highlight in your emails and not about the hours and hours of work you put in – obviously!
I opted for something a bit more cas on the wardrobe front. Hit them with the ‘old sleeves rolled up and buttons undone, oh?, did we have an important meeting?, I’m cool and you know it look’. I pondered for a while about adding one of those light weight scarves to add a touch of ‘je ne sais quoi’ but then suddenly woke up from planet pansy, what was I thinking? – the crown jewels had been a little bruised but not completely removed.
Back on the 6 am ‘cheap’ train for the capital. I love trains, not in a ‘oh look Marjory there’s an 1982 intercity 125 mark 2 with a non standard two stroke diesel twin shaft overhead bag of boringness’ kind of way, no, more a ‘Harry Potter flying train adventure, where I am going to end up?’ way. Which sounds pretty dumb really when your ticket clearly says Paris on it. I love trains even more when for just an extra 2 Euros you can travel first class, hmmm first class, “Better get used to this Tommo old boy, plenty more of this to come when you hit the ‘furniture’ big time” I said to myself as I nodded off mouth open, snoring to the max – pure first class.
Being anally early is just something I cannot shake, I am just good at it, Christ knows I hate being the first one at parties and having to stand up and down like a bloody yo-yo to introduce myself to all the cool late comers. What do you do? Stand out in the cold and peer in through the window? Or geek your way in early and skulk around awkwardly not sure where to look, like a monk at a strip club? I chose the latter and after a while introduced myself to the gallery owner’s assistant. “Madame (let’s call her Dikteese) will be right with you Mr Roffman”. Madame Dikteese was as her name might suggest far more charming than Fawlty. For starters she had a proper office with a door, but more importantly she actually looked me in the eyes and made physical contact.
If my first meeting with Fawlty had been a premature ‘anti’climax then this one was a marathon romp. I flopped out my portfolio and let her finger through it. To try and up my game I had even brought out the big guns in the form of my much cherished scale models. It was at this point that events took a rather strange turn. I sensed negative vibes and the “thanks for coming, now clear off” speech being warmed up and then almost as if someone was waving a wad of 100 Euro notes behind my head she said “so tell me about your work, sell it to me”. And as I explained my inspirations the sun started to shine out of my arse. Everything I said she agreed with, I could have been inspired by trifle and jelly and she would have lapped it up and asked for seconds. It was a bit like failing your driving test only for the instructor to say “Right then, let’s go around again and this time I’ll just close my eyes” nudge, nudge, wink, wink!
Walking out of her gallery I felt about 10 feet taller, ok so I hadn’t got a signed deal but at last I had had positive feedback from someone in the industry and a “I’ll be in touch”. I was on fire, lighting up the Parisian streets, she actually liked it, understood it, pffff of course she did, burn baby burn!!
A long time down the line and Dikteese has, well, never been in touch. Oh Dikteese I really thought we were going to make sweet, sweet furniture music, I thought you were different, human with a soul. Oh well, chin up, plenty more galleries in the sea, the fire is not out yet, on goes another log and along comes a cunning new plan.