Ready. My bag is packed with a heavy roll of posters loosely kept together and a pack of flyers. Based on yesterday’s experience posters are more appreciated than flyers since owners can ask you to hide them in the toilets. The maps are in one hand and a carefully compiled list of relevant places in the other. It should be a piece of cake.
As soon as I start my tour I notice a terrible mistake: I got the wrong underwear! It might seem like a stupid detail, but try walking around Brussels centre with the wrong knickers for four hours. Then my phone decides it’s time to go on holiday and deserts me. Ok, no stress, I can figure everything out from my tiny google map print. Finally, of course, today, nobody wants posters, but they all prefer flyers. Damned people!
To keep my own energy up, I try different formulations of the same request: I’m working for… I’m promoting… May I ask to hang… And the reactions are just as varied. Some really don’t like the idea of you sticking some A2 sized paper on their wall, but accept it under a number of rules: only there, were it’s absolutely unnoticeable. Please use the provided system: a series of spikes in a row where the posters are nailed down. Of course you shouldn’t cover the existing posters! Try finding a free spot in a wall covered with posters of the most bizarre events following this very simple rule. It’s a war.
However, there are some moments that make flyering bearable and even entertaining. Some people understand your mission by the moment you walk in, the posters hanging from your bag probably giving you away, and matter of factly point you to the devoted space. The best ones are though those where you enter cautiously vaguely thinking it might be good to leave a poster or a little flyer but not daring to hope for anything. Then the owner welcomes you with a big smile and, at your timid demand, offers to hang your poster in the best and most visible place of the shop. I had to repress a few times a sincere need to hug the owner in question.
Sometimes I invaded the daily routine with my tedious question, so I ended up catching two waiters chatting and eating after service; a group of youngsters listening to vinyls and expressing their approval or disappointment; a regular asking for a second glass of wine (at 14:00). The best of them all, was an owner with a waitress and two customers dancing and singing to a classic 70s song at 15:00. The scene cheered me up half way through my round of flyering and its memory encouraged me till the end. Finally, I have to thank the nice guy that stalled the bus for me on my way home, that was super sweet!