Beverley Minster virger Neil Pickford goes commercial
Now, gentle reader, please stick with me during my latest contribution to the frivolity and gaiety of the nation because we’re about to try a very important scientific experiment.
You see, buried deep inside this collection of witty banter will be a hidden message. I’m going to attempt some subliminal advertising and I need your complete and utter concentration to make it work. So get yourself into a quiet part of the room where you’re not likely to be disturbed for the next few minutes, sit down comfortably in a well-lit environment that is conducive to easy reading and hold this article at a convenient distance from your eyes.
OK, are you sitting comfortably?
Then I’ll begin.
“COME TO BEVERLEY MINSTER THIS BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY!!!!”
Ok, now let’s see if that worked, shall we?
Do you currently feel an overwhelming urge to visit East Yorkshire’s most popular free tourist attraction on Monday 29th August, but as yet have no idea why you should? You do? Excellent! You are clearly in the top one per cent of the population for intelligence and are probably the most popular person in your neighbourhood – whether you realise it or not. Normally such people are also extraordinarily attractive and smell gorgeous. I look forward to seeing you in the Minster on Monday between 9am and 5.30pm.
For the rest of you who aren’t so sensitive I’ll explain why you should also be there – and if you’re inside our wonderful walls between these hours I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you’re also in the top one per cent, extraordinarily attractive, smell gorgeous etcetera, etcetera. After all, how will I be able to tell the difference?
I want you there partly because we are opening the north west tower (all 165 feet of it, 208 steps and incredible views from the roof) for this one day only at an unbelievably low price of £8 per person (and half price for under 16s) – that’s a recession-busting discount from the normal price of £10 per person. Better still, a family ticket for two adults and two children IS ONLY £20!!!
Or you can do one of our ordinary central tower roof tours including the ancient tread wheel crane and assorted other goodies for just £5 and £2.50!!
And! And! AND! There’s yet more!!!
You see John and I have been casting around feverishly trying for a gimmick that will give the day a bit of a push because normally it’s a big fund-raising date in our calendar – if people know about it. Last year, however, it was a bit flat – largely because we didn’t get much publicity before the event. So we need to boost our media profile by creating a true once-in-a-lifetime experience – but we couldn’t think of one.
So, instead, I’m going to officially launch my new CD: “Three Chairs – Neil Pickford reads the best Views from the Vestry” and hope that this drags in some of my eager fans (if they are prepared to go public with this strange psychological flaw).
The CD will consist of one hour of me reading a selection from the ‘best’ articles I’ve written over the past three years, all delivered in my gloriously redolent, yet surprisingly friendly and dulcet tones – possibly accompanied by music composed by the talented and inexpensive Pickford siblings. It’s the ideal present for deaf friends and relatives at an unbelievable launch price of £5, with all profits going to Minster general funds.
I realise that the prospect of copies individually signed and dedicated by yours truly isn’t really the ultimate crowd-puller so we’re throwing in, for one day only, a truly remarkable opportunity – the chance to get the matching signature of my colleague, the yin to my yang, the tonic to my brandy, the ever-smiling annihilator of errantly allocated automobiles, CAR PARK JOHNNY!
If you miss this chance it will be a long while before the next as he only retains the power of writing for 12 hours at a time. It’s taken us five months of training to get him this far and I can’t guarantee when we could possibly repeat the exercise.
All this, of course, assumes that I’m going to have the CDs ready in time and that involves significant effort by me – I’ve got to record it. I am compiling a folio of my finest, recreating rib-tickling ribaldry in recordings that will entertain and entrance (that’s en-trance, not entry-ance – sorry, they look the same but they will sound different on the CD) – and that’s not easy.
For a start the recording will take place in my son’s bedroom, because that’s where the computer and mixing desk is. I will have to mentally rise above the all-enveloping piles of unsorted everything that are his attempts at filing and ascend into Chuckleville, creating a happy place which will brighten your lives for years to come. It’s harder than it sounds.
Why don’t you pop in to the Minster on Monday and see if I’ve succeeded?
If you can’t wait or don’t want to pay for the CD then a full archive of around 150 articles from the Mister Minster and View from the Vestry collection is available here and you can read them aloud for yourself.