The World Cup season is a dodgy time for programming arts events, I have discovered to my cost through the years. During the last one, I took a risk on booking a project of mine into a venue that I had always wanted to perform in, that happened to be in easily accessible part of town, only to find that most of our potential audience stayed at home to watch television. Luckily, I was able to cover all the expenses of putting on the event, but I did feel a financial burn at the time.
So what do you do if you’re not a football fan at a time like this? This year, I’m at the drawing board, reflecting on ways to move forward with my work. It is also useful to conserve one’s energy, even though it feels odd to not be making the most of the glorious sunshine as a backdrop to events that one could be presenting.
Things can change very quickly in London. The venue I once regarded as a fine place for presenting my work has now closed down. In fact, I found myself thinking recently about another business that occupied the same premises many years ago. It just goes to show that it is sometimes worthwhile to go with the flow and wait for opportunities to present themselves, instead of trying to contrive situations.
I used to resent the fact that so many people focus their attention on the tournament. This year, I feel grateful that I have the time and space to use my imagination. The problem is that the season stealthily creeps up on us – we make plans to make creative splashes and then suddenly find ourselves competing with a global event that magnetises almost everyone.
How does the World Cup affect the fortunes of the West End and other similar businesses? It would be interesting to find out.