23 May 2005
So today was day 1. The tour outfit that hired me on is Three Millennia. I spent all day at St. Peters Basilica first watching a tour, then wandering around trying to construct my own in my head.
The good news :
There is tonnes of interesting things to talk about.
It's busy, ie. full of potential clients
There are performance rewards: ie. tips and comissions for sales and extra charm
The Bad News
There's all kinds of dates and facts and Clementine This and Sixtus That to know. Barberini hired Bernini to do this, and Alexander hired Maderno to do that in 16this, but it was originally Rafael or some other blah blahand wasn't finished until 16that. And those are just the names I remember, believe me there are plenty I don't. So many famous guys, so many last names ending in vowels, so much history. And the dates. Also the dates.
By busy and full of potential clients I mean I've gotta go hump up a cold call on people heading to the Basilica. Me and all the other English tour vultures out there. There is etiquette and protocol to be followed, and the new guy certainly doesnt want to make any enemies.
Speaking of enemies, the other bad news is it is somewhat illegal. Apparently all you get is a slap on the wrist if you are caught trying to hock a tour, but still you don't want to be fingered and have the attention of the man drawn to you, constantly clocking you. The attention you need, of course, is that of the clients. However there are uniformed and plainclothed officers patrolling the area between Piazza Risurgemento and St. Peters Square. One must exercise due care to elude. It's kind of like a video game Accumulate as many clients as you can without being caught by the officer. If you're caught, start back at zero. Later in the day. Or another day. And I'm not sure how many lives you have. But of course they can't deport this EU Citizen. Or can they?
Anyway I'm heading back for more immersion tomorrow. Im putting together a decent tour, though it may be a little lite. I will of course add to it, subtract from it, and really work on 2 things. One, the jokes. Tasteful, respectful, witty comments about the uniforms of the Swiss Guards and the hubris of the artists. And two, the line i'll cast at the end about tips. So that I get them. In between the jokes and before the tips bit i'll load up on facts.
As it is the beginning, i am optimistic. Im honing my busking skills, a stand up slash story telling routine and the fine art of interpersonal sales. It should be fine. Don't worry.