I feel so lucky. It all sounded so modern. Particularly to someone who doesn't sing songs written after 1935 or dance ballet post the Swan Queen. Before I arranged to meet Clipcrowd CEO Ben Bidwell, I had to listen to The Archers on an analogue radio (such a comfort to get snatches of interference from Radio Luxembourg), do ballet barre to some vinyl played on the Dansette Conquest and put myself up the chimney with a Bailey brush.
When we were discussing somewhere central for the meeting, Ben seemed surprised that I said Pret was a place I knew on Piccadilly.
'Oh, I thought you'd say somewhere more like...er...more...'
'Like Fortnum's, the RA or in front of the Wellington Monument?'
Ben Bidwell, Clipcrowd CEO
I looked straight across at Ben in Pret for the same reason as you would look straight across at The Scream in the Munch Museum.
'Big stress, such a huge start up, clearly,' I said, as he stood to shake hands.
I was secretly praying that Clipcrowd wouldn't turn out to be like the last startup Social Media app I was involved with. During the launch party at the Museum of London there were a vegan pizza/Eton Mess food fight, a mishap with a WIlliam Morris firescreen; and my act was circumvented by Frederica, the munted, DM wearing Cretan, whose friends had bought her to the event because they wanted a change of environment in which to suicide-watch her.
Ben's talk immediately reassured me. When in my head I became Dragon Deborah Meaden to hear him project Clipcrowd's future, I didn't think he should be bumped back down to earth with a sending-off to the silly-sized lift. And then he was so clear about the app's function that I didn't need to put on my listening-to-technical-doings-and-gubbins face. I look like a pre-bulimic sheep, apparently, when hearing how Lady Jane Grey had a claim to the throne, about the workings of an Apache helicopter or which carriage to sit in so I won't end up in Eastbourne. Let alone that I've been known to hysterically interrupt technical talk with a quote from Victoria Wood's Doctor Who parody:
DOCTOR. We have to disconnect his bladdermite tubing and neutralize his thermalobes to convert his megaplumifity into negative kreetathones.
ASSISTANT. But Doctor, we haven’t got the ming-mongs!
The upshot of the meeting is that we're starting a collaboration with my variety show Turns on a Sixpence at The Boston Room, George IV, Chiswick. And I'm hopeful. Ben is Graceful - both talking and walking, as I jotted down.
And the softly, softly vibe of the case study reminds me happily of what my Nan Silcox used to say: none of that old cliche about striking while the iron's hot, no - you want your iron just hot enough to primp the pleats without scorching the a-lining, tidy.