from the book...
8.20am one lovely bright morning, my friend and collaborator Tracey Moberly and I arrive outside the Curzon Soho cinema, wearing a couple of hi-vis vests and carrying a tall light weight aluminium ladder. We stand looking t the radiogram board. It reads:
ONE PM CENTRAL STANDARD TIME Q & A SIR TREVOR MCDONALD MON 11 NOV 6.20
THE GREAT BEAUTY GLORIA BLUE JASMINE SHORT TERM 12 THE SELFISH GIANT
As we stare at the letters I say, 'We should have worked this out before we came.'
'Have you got a pencil and paper?' Tracey asks in her brand Welsh Valleys' lilt.
So we stand in the street in hi-vis vests, holding a large ladder, playing a rather awkward round of 'Countdown Conundrum'
'What have you got?'
'Turtle nob jis.'
'That's not going to help.'
Sometime later we come up with:
GIVE US FAIR PAY RECOGNISE THE UNIONS
The message was up for four hours before the management noticed, and I suspect that was only due to media calls after the photos began whizzing around social media.
Bizarrely, this one was done in Shaftesbury Avenue, in the centre of London during rush hour, and no one questioned what we were doing.
Our theory is that you can get away with most things if you are wearing a hi-vis vest. This is the great irony of hi-vis; once you have put it on you become invisible. Just another one of the countless outsourced zero-hero plebeians who are passed and ignored every day. Were burglars to eschew the traditional black apparel/balaclava combo and instead slip on a hi-vis they would have a field day.We's merely think, 'Who's that rummaging in the bedroom?...Must be the council...The jewellery inspector by the look of it.'
The 'hi-visability' theory is put to the test when performing Act 22. Tracey and I take to the radiogram board again, this time at the Curzon Mayfair cinema. We had prepared our message in advance so spent a mere 10 minutes changing the letters, all the while under the watchful eye of the armed diplomatic police officers outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy opposite.
Hi-vis works its magic again! Though it was probably a good job those officers had not been on duty for the women's car race. Our choice of letters was rather limited this time but we managed to write:
JUST BE NICE TO US LLW
On 13th January 2014, BECTU and Curzon issued a joint statement announcing a voluntary trade union recognition agreement and on 29 October 2014 Curzon became the first London cinema chain to pay their staff the London Living Wage.
More of the Acts and story in the lead up to this can be found in 100 Acts of Minor Dissent by Mark Thomas pages 49-58