Normally when an arts organisation is putting out press releases about their revolutionary new thing they really do love it when you get in touch and ask them for an interview. It gives them a chance to answer a lot of soft soap questions in a vain attempt to convince an unimpressed world that they're thing really is, this time, going to change the world.
Not so however if you are Eddie Nixon the "Director of Theatre and Artist Development" at The Place in London and the creators of the The Place Prize.
When contacted by Article19 to request an interview we had the following conversation with The Place press flack (paraphrased and augmented for comedy effect);
Article19 : "Hi, we'd really like to talk to Eddie Nixon about The Place Prize, if you could put us through that would be smashing and we would love you big time!"
The Place: "Sorry but Mr Nixon is a very important man and doesn't have time to do an interview because he's currently making some curtains for his new throne room!"
Article19: "Ok, wow, so when will he stop being so important and finish those lovely curtains so we can talk to him on the phone"
The Place: "Never"
Article19: "What, never ever?"
The Place: "Never ever with sugar on top!"
Article19: "Those must be some pretty impressive curtains"
The Place: "They'll blow your mind man!"
The flacks did offer to answer questions via email, the tried and tested method of the permanently insecure, but we refused. When it comes to interviews, and we've done a lot of them, there's a natural back and forth when you're talking to someone that you don't get via email.
It's also a lot easier to pin them into a corner when you know they're talking complete and utter crap.
We really did want to talk to Mr Nixon, after all The Place makes some bold claims about the festival that never ends.
For example, in their press blurb they write enthusiastically about the "£1Million" investment that has been made over the years in new work. We'll wager, here in TheLab™, that if that investment was subject to the scrutiny of the Financial Services Authority the cost vs return aspect of that investment would probably mean somebody would be doing some serious jail time.
The flacks did say this much;
"Eddie and other members of the team here at The Place frequently give interviews for all sorts of media outlets, both via email, over the phone and in person. We are proud to talk about our work, open in our dealings with the media and keen to give as full a response as possible to all enquiries, either from the media or the general public."
Except not in this case because they know there is a big difference between emailing and talking, if they don't they probably shouldn't be in their jobs.
If we were to give a few words of advice to The Place it would be this. Stop hiding under the sofa, if you're scared of us, don't be, man up, strap on a pair and speak your mind.
Also, if you work at an organisation that receives more than £2Million in public subsidy every year then be prepared to talk about it and don't expect everybody to kiss your ass.
The Place Prize runs sometime later this year until the end of time or when Jesus actually does return to the mortal coil, whichever is sooner!