Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Going Public

Hello all

Another call from my marketing manager - Dr Mark Booth - the other day. He sounded upbeat."Hey Joseph, you'll never guess!" he said cheerfully.

'I'm sure I won't, so just come straight out with it, Mark", I replied flatly. His enthusiasm before the facts sometimes gets to me.

"OK, well basically it goes like this - the British Society for Parasitology is having their annual conference at the end of March at Cardiff University and I'm giving the Public Understanding of Science Lecture on the evening of the 29th. Cool, huh?"


"Thanks - but here's the kicker - I'm going to showcase your excellent work on public understanding of parasitology. You know - the blog, the book - like, everything!"

"I'm flattered"

"Aw come on Joseph. I know things aren't so great right now but this could be your chance to get back on your feet. Especially if....."

He stopped speaking. I assumed I was supposed to prompt him to go further, so dutifully obliged."If what?", I intoned.

"OK - now think before answering - but what do you say to making a personal appearance?"

I almost dropped the phone in surprise. No one had asked me to make a personal experience for quite some time. And I still had the problem of the death threat that has hung over me since I accidentally poisoned a town full of pet rabbits (it's in the book). "I, er, well, er, in principle. But I'd have to come in disguise or something. If this got public, you know...."

"I'm sure you'll come up with something," said Mark breezily. "you're a resourceful chap. Anyway, must fly. I've got a hundred slides on the value of public engagement for the early stage researcher to write."

"Huh, surely..."

"Just pulling your chain Joseph. I'm not that nerdy!"

He shouted farewell as he put down the phone. Rather irrevelently I looked in my diary for availability on the 29th March. All I had written down was that No.3 is due for a vaccination. Nothing else for days on end, before or after.

Right then. If I am to make an appearance, I'd better think about what to wear!