There's no such thing as a free lunch, they say. Unless you are a locally elected official in France, it seems.
Perhaps it is the threat of not dishing out subventions that gets them invited everywhere for nothing. What we have found during our preparations for the Promo'Arts charitable evening is that expecting them to pay is greeted with shock. Ca ne se fait pas, chère amie!
Logically, however, someone has to open their cheque book at a charity event. It is, afterall, the aim of a charity event to earn money for charity (in this case, La Ligue Contre le Cancer). We are not putting on an evening's entertainment out of the goodness of our hearts. I'm not sure this concept has quite sunk in.
At previous events, not organised by us, guests have considered the evening as a soirée mondaine, have stuffed themselves silly on the sumptuous buffet, drunk themselves under the table on the wine, and contributed not one cent to the charity in whose name the event was organised. Call us stuffy old FrAnglo-Saxon pedants if you will, but that is not what charity is all about.
Our art auction involves about 18 paintings. That means a maximum of 18 people can buy one. They may only pay peanuts if no one else is bidding on that particular painting, which means the whole evening's financial success rests on the whim of a small group of potential bidders. Everyone else would be busily stuffing themselves, getting drunk and then going home, their wallets intact.
But, we have a cunning plan...
Guests will have to buy their glass if they want a drink. To obtain a glass they will have to cough up a minimum of ten euros; more if they like, or if they are persuaded that being generous would be a really good idea... Then they can drink as much as they like and eat.
This idea is causing much mirth and evil chuckling amongst the sponsors (themselves exceptionally generous people), and much shock and disbelief amongst the representatives of locally elected officials. If they want to drink, they will have to pay. I'm not sure it's ever been done before here. We aim to shock and to get people thinking and acting. Word is spreading in the town that we are not sucking up to politicians, not asking them for money, and expecting everyone to participate at what is certainly going to be one hell of an evening.
It's causing such a stir but who was it who said that there's no such thing as bad publicity? Where we had been ignored before, we are now being solicited for invitations. Dontcha just love politics?