How Great I Am (or not)

For the six weeks past I've been doing the rounds of Highlands shops selling in my new season cards and calendars, booklets etc. And each Saturday since Easter (and for one more Saturday to come) I have been in attendance at The Beauly Gallery. Cherry Ambrose's gallery has recently been relocated into The Square in Beauly, which is a lovely village twelve miles northwest of Inverness.

I view my own efforts at sales promotion with very mixed feelings. On the one hand it's good to meet and chat to so many friends and strangers across Wester-Ross and the north, on the other I would rather sell anything or anybody's work than my own. Having spent a normal career dashing around from pillar to post (UK to Europe to the Middle East to America) marketing millions of dollars worth of the industrial packaging of a multinational producer, you wouldn't think a few little cards and so on would present any difficulty. Yet I find it almost abhorrent to stand there extolling my own cleverness. For How Great Thou Art read How Great I am. Horrible.

But self-praise is these days just the way of the world. Reading some of the author web-sites and the blurbs that you know have been self-written on the back covers of novels you would be forgiven for thinking the author is some sort of cross between Austen and Shakespeare. Yet neither of the latter seems to have been particularly aware of their own genius. Or if they were, they never revealed such a knowledge. Let the works speak for themselves seems to have been the order of their day/s. That mantra now would consign them to the dustbin.

I blame THE MEDIA. Modern TV in particular is used so often simply as a gateway into the marbled halls of celebrity via a regime of toothy self-glorification, all traces of personal ordinariness or negativity carefully airbrushed out.

Well, if you can't beat 'em it's best to join 'em. So stop moaning, put on your sales hat, up and at 'em, Bryan Islip! If you're not a clebrity you can at least celebrate yourself, abhorrent to you as that may be.

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