Sunday, 29 March 2015
Selling PUSH at football...what I enjoy doing best...
Yesterday I was invited over to Leyton Orient v Port Vale (free ticket on the go) to watch the game, sell PUSH 15 in the supporters club before and after and to undertake a filmed inteview on the terraces at half time then to conclude back in the supporters club after the game.
The man I was to meet was from Open Pen Magazine. His name: Sean Preston. Retired pro-wrestler. The mag: undoubtedly the most important London literary magazine around right now. Even with the echoes of Barry Hearn winding me up, I overcame; his dirty whispers dripping in my ear couldn't make me turn down the kind offer. Especially as it was put to me that I could sell the latest issue at the game.
East London. Football. Selling on the street. PUSH. All one big family. And so I stepped foot onto the streets of E10.
And to be honest, I very soon appreciated that there were not many about at just before 1pm like you'd get around the pubs tucked away from the Boleyn Ground on matchday. I hit the supporters club and got served with ease. So some things worked a treat, Then seriously, I again questioned my wisdom in bringing along 30 mags + 3 books to sell. Thoughts that had populated my mind from tube station to supporters club.
What changed the moment was the recognition of the grief mindset of the Orient fan. Gloom. No expectation. Enjoy a few pints before cold reality bites into skin, mind and heart. We're going down, I was constantly told. Sean was running late. Girlfriend ill. Been throwing up all night. Hugh Cornwell then sung Something Better Change gently in my ear. An ear that would soon become an Orient Ear. I had a Road to Damascus epiphany. Yeah your season has been one of disappointment but we are all here drinking alcohol and enjoying each others company. Everything, especially the passion of football, must be sometimes taken into context of larger issues. Like this current one. As in none of us are on a plane right now being forced into madness and death at 400mph by a lone ranger, some hurting pilot, who according to the red tops, was haunted by gay demons. No. In the supporters club as I saw it, we were here for the football and the drinking culture, that is as important about the day to me as meeting friends and then watching a game of 2 halves. And I had a bag load of quality mags to shift. Time to rise and shine. So I stepped outside into the pint knocking over wind and began selling.
I have to state something important here. First time I sold PUSH over West Ham I got this amazing buzz. Well not only did I return to a former glory yesterday but the Orient fans, brace yourself West Ham, were on another level of interest and purchase. I didn't have to sell. As in it being hard work. I have learnt from doing this that I have to select 'targets' rather than being in everyone's face. My new sales approach is not only less stressful but you also engage with the kind of folk you actually want to engage with. Yes I will sell PUSH at Millwall one day (that comment will have lost me 40 mates) but the mag isn't just associated anymore to West Ham. Since John King's interview and continued association, Chelsea writers, fanzine editors and supporters, have bought and continue to buy PUSH. And do you know what? I like it. Anyway I was soon back inside the supporters club and still selling.
I sold and told all big time - Orient would win. I was, as previously stated, buzzing and I decided to offload some buzz into the gateway of football fortune. 2-1 I kept saying. And the mag is bleeding good. Yeah, fair enough, but if we win we'll buy after. If not, get to fuck mate etc.
I was confident. But they were in the relegation zone. Was I breeding hope into a long lost cause, would my optimism get found out, am I still the dogs bollocks? I was thinking all this as kick off loomed. Moods were falling. Sales were good, but many had said, as said above. how if we win, like you keep harking on about, if we win, then I'll buy a mag off of you after.
Beware of stray outlook I was definitely thinking as I entered the ground.
Now I am not a football mastermind. Okay, some say I am and well then yeah, they are entitled to their opinion. But the game at a monetary gain level goes way beyond tactics, management, ability. It is all about dealing with pressure and having the confidence to deal with the pressure. Even more when luck has jumped ship and still sending not very polite text messages. Without confidence when all is not well means you are not only fucked but unless some fortune comes your way, you will remain fucked.
Welcome to Leyton Orient stressing against Port Vale.
First 40 minutes, no player wanted to be passed the ball, the giver couldn't pass anyway. I am going to be brutal about that opening 40 minutes Leyton Orient. An appalling show; but for sure, confidence was late turning up for the game. Port Vale scored, that was an amazement in itself as they were equally as poor, but in a late frenzy, the Os had a shot going in the top left hand corner tipped over the bar and minutes later hit the post.
In danger of losing regular readers here: 2nd half summery.
Did first part of interview at half time, then had what I called to bloke next to me, the longest piss I have ever had on record, don't document this act but now do, then went back in ground and the facts are the facts, Leyton Orient showed up and battered Port Vale second half. 1-0 down at half time, but even 7-1 would have flattered Port Vale. Final Score Leyton Orient 3 Port Vale 1.
Back to club. Concluded interview. Sean Preston is a lovely man. As is Wayne, his old man. Though the latter was purely exchanges during the game of words, nods and guarded eye contact. I am a chief steward of guarded eye contact. You really have got to get to know me before I'll let you into my clubhouse. Joking.
Thanks to all the Orient twitter world I had people like this man tapping my shoulder and saying 'Are you Joe England, still got any copies of PUSH left?' In another emotional state of mind, I would have been reduced to humble tears. It was a great moment. Captured on phone cam by Sean Preston.
Finally. The Os won as I told one and all, and they run an amazing fanzine of talented writers called OrientEar and I could go on and on but plate spinning here - also cooking Sunday food - but last few photos sum up the day.
Loved everyone I met yesterday. Mean that, not beer talk.
Anyway. First up. Me. Leyton Orient season ticker holder for a day.