Monday, March 7, 2011

Gotta be startin' Somethin' Part 2: The First Week

This is the story of everything i got up to on the Hustings with Dylan Haskins Campaign.

As for what exactly the definition of Hustings is, i haven't a fucking clue, but it first appeared in my collective lexicon in the past month after reading it in many a caption about potential TD's Canvassing and flyering and meeting Joe Public.

So how, may i asked did i get involved in the campaign.

Well as the previously blog mentioned i Saw this video the day it was posted. A few hours later after eyeing parts of multiple times i thought, why the fuck not.

I had had growing interest in the up coming election and had dreamed of the possibility of working on someone's campaign. Spurred on by recently watching Seasons 3 and 4 of The West Wing for the first time, i was eager to  do something political.

Thomas Clare
Thomas Clare (Ind) County Louth.

An Independent candidate, Thomas Clare weeks before the calling of the election had Stopped by my doorstep and talked to me for a few minutes. I was impressed, and for the most part thankful that someone had turned up at all. Seeing as I live in the arsehole of nowhere, and hadn't left the house more than a few occasions in a month. In my more "ON" moments my brain fantasized about what i could offer a political campaign, my youth, my active imagination, my familiarity with social media etc etc

I followed Mr Clare's spartan twitter account and checked out his website, it was also little to be desired. Obviously not much of a Social Media Candidate.

When Dylan's Video arrived i was inspired. His website was also rather impressive. Built for him by Blogger Nialler9 and within hours taken down by the traffic it received.

Ireland's twitter Trends showed Dylan Haskins Trending that night. People were similarly inspired.

So I plucked up the Courage, and Sent an email saying i wanted to Join the Campaign.

Here is some if not the main chunk of what i said:

I am interested in volunteering my time and idea's to help in this election campaign. 

I am not a resident of Dublin South East, My Constituency is in Louth, but i know Dylan from Trinity College and have volunteered some time with Exchange Dublin in the Past.

As a young adult currently unemployed and relying on Changes to the Fee structure for 3rd level education or job creation in this country i feel i must do something to be apart of this political campaign.

I have experience with Political discourse, Volunteering and I am a large "Social Media Native", or plugged in Internet addict, however you want to put it. I am also a former Student Nurse and feel Greatly for The representation of College Students and General reform of Our political process and the future of this country.

I briefly spent time in Australia trying to find work, but with no experience on my CV I couldn't find work, and had to come home. Now that i am home, i don't want to leave. I've had low paying job's, but nothing full time. I feel that i do not want to leave this country again. I want to make a difference and voice my opinions. 

I have a course reserved in a College next year, but because i have done 2 years (free fee payed years) of college already i have to foot the bill myself. 3rd Level education reform is very important to me and my future, as well as the future of all young people in this country.

I may not be a Resident or Constituent of Dublin South East, but i believe in Similar issue's and would like to help out where-ever i can.

Thank you for you time.

Following that i received an email from Fionn Kidney, campaign manager extraordinaire. I was invited to coffee to talk and to be informed about how i can help out etc.

Unfortunately i was not available that Tuesday, which was effectively the same day, as this email was sent in the early morning. But i had slight plans for the Cinema with DS that Wednesday so i said i would be around then.

Dylan's Campaign HQ was infact, his apparent. And it was in the Most Central of Central Locations, The Corner of D'Olier Street, Westmoreland Street and O'Connell Bridge. Yes, that white building that is the wedge shape smack dab in the middle of the Wide Street Commissions large Streets that Transect Dublin's City Center.

When Entered the Outer Sanctum for the first time there was a bit of buzz in the room. Optimism. Things had a true air of people starting to get things done. People were looking over the constituency map and sizing up the task. I couldn't be there long as i was meeting DS at the cinema. So my first task was a Stationary run.

Highlighters, a stapler, rubber bands for leaflets and other assorted things. I was told to retain the receipt as Dylan had already pledged to keep track of all his expenses. So showing some initiative i added a Small ledger with tracing paper to the shopping trip and went back to HQ and on to the cinema.

I returned after seeing The Fighter with DS, and told him all i was up to and even mulled over the possibility of  getting in contact with my old Seconday school which is in the relevant constituency. I had had idea's of what to do already, but for the most part i never got around to mentioning any of it.

When i got back that evening my first task was a "cheque run" where i was asked to deposit something before closing. However i was confused over the directions, and first went into the wrong bank, then filled out the form incorrectly in the correct bank. Upon returning i finally got the whole thing sorted out and dashed back to the correct bank, but missed the gate's closing by minutes. Didn't feel to good to have fucked up like that, but it happens. Most of the time i was more nervous about not loosing the cheque, then if i was doing a good job. Thankfully it returned safely to the money box.

The next thing that evening was a worry that there was not enough Cable ties for the posters. So i used Yelp on my Phone to phone a Hardware store on Camden Street to ask them for a price estimate. This was a whole heap of confusion but i was handed money from the petty cash and sent to check the situation out in person.

I phoned home on my way and explained what i was doing to my parents, and asked about any possibility of a spare lap top anywhere that my dad might know about, but to no avail.

Arriving at the hardware store, the price turned out to be insanely more than what we thought we could get them for so i returned with nothing. I had first texted the image of the cable tie comparrisons to Fionn, and then rang him. To expensive and we could get the ties for free from the Poster Printers in Poppintree on the northside, just a question of how. Since i was coming into Dublin that way, i offered to get them the next morning.

On the left our free tie, on the right the expensive super tie.

When I got back the team was short of Volunteers and cars and ladders that evening so i was sent out again, this time to join a Music teacher friend of one of the team who had been roped in on Twitter to help out.

We were off to hit The Ballsbridge and Sandymount area with around 26 posters.

As we slowly figured out the ladder we hit the Street beside Herbert Park First. The wind was strong but we got loads up. Ballsbridge, literally around the Bridge over the Dodder was more difficult. The wind caught our 2nd poster and almost hit a pedestrian, then we both had to run after it as it almost flew into the Cycle path, at rush hour...

Saved and strapped up we moved on. But we already knew that those posters were, "pushing it" as all of the competitors had laid claim to the era pretty strongly. Same could be said for Sandymount and the Triangle park there. Sneakily we Shoved one under a Gormly poster and then started pushing it up as high as we could until Gormly's face was up in a tree, and we had the clearer line of sight. A Tough battleground, but at least we weren't ripping it down, or anything nefarious like that.

On to Simonscourt road and we "OWNED" the whole avenue with 6 or 7 Dylan Haskins Posters and then made our way back into town. We got the last two up before Baggot Street Bridge and it was all done for the night.

I popped back into HQ for a couple of minutes and was off home.

Thursday the 4th I started the day walking from Finglas to Poppintree.

But it was 8am, and the printing specialists was not open yet. I had been given a number to call so i texted the person and was told to ask for another persons name when i got there, and that they would be there at 9.10 am or so.

So I walked even further and walked over scrub land to and past Ikea, into a petrol station on the Ballymun slip road to the M50, then through the redevelopment and back up through Ballymun to Poppintree.

I eventually got the ties, and with now slightly sore feet walked to the 19/19a Terminus and was on my way into town. A quick Text to Fionn and i was told i was a "legend". I tweeted and listened to the radio at the same time and missed Dylan speaking on Today fm and Newstalk that morning on my way in, but did catch a Mention of the campaign and Dylan on A piece about twitter and the election on Pat Kenny.

I got off the bus on D'Olier Street, with 400 Cable Ties in hand and was in HQ.

Things were only starting for the day so i stepped into the corridor where all the Posters were and got through close to 100 before the whole Inner-circle of Fionn, Una and Lisa were on their way out to Deal with a photo Call infront of Andrews Lane Theatre to "officially" Show the luanch of the Campaign.

Lisa also handed me the instructions to get the Forms for Candidacy from the local Sheriffs office once that was done.

The Campaign Slogan in Stencil.

In the busy lane way we met up with Street artist Will St Leger and a photographer. Within a few minutes Dylan had arrived from his Busy morning and more Photographers showed up, plus a 98fm journalist and a woman from the Irish Times who was taking a small comment about the event and a digital interview intended as a possible inclusion on the Campaign part of their Online Material.

Dylan, Will St Leger and the media Micro-scrum, plus one of the many car's that disrupted the shoot.

Briefly Fionn sent me away to collect a portable hard drive from his work. I entered the place and received it and while leaving I realised that this was the Fade Street production office. I'd never watched the show, and possibly just passed the part-actors part socialites and other such things with no clue who they were... but really i wasn't interested.

Back in the Laneway the photo's continued and as it wrapped up I went off to the sheriff's office and collected the relevant documents in a large brown envelope. Oh how important it all felt.

I then returned to the laneway, but by then the Inner-circle had moved off and what was left was just the Media guy who i stayed with for a minute as i checked 98fm news to see if the recording had made it there in time, but the woman had gone on her lunch, and the recording didn't pop up till 2 hours later, which i missed.

I met up with Fionn in the Bank of Ireland on College Green, and he checked the forms in the Envelope. I then waited in the Foyer and read twitter as tweets about Dylan were still coming in thick and fast surrounding the campaign, and it's trending high on Monday. After a good 20 minutes I followed Fionn over to the AIB branch on Westmoreland street where Dylan was also sorting out more banking details.

For the 2nd time that day, following the team around it felt like being inside the walk and talks of the West Wing, although, i was more like a bodyguard in the background, as i was barely contributing much, with the exception of clutching the candidacy papers very close.

After i ate my lunch I was asked, that since i don't have a laptop, to go off to an internet café to work on the twitter trends which i had been watching. This took me all the way to Townsend street to a café i knew was 1 euro an hour and i stayed there collating tweets and articles for around 2 hours before i finished up and headed back to Andrews Lane Theatre for Dylans campaign launch/electorate drive/ volunteer meeting.

I was there earlier than the main team or familiar face's so i just hung out. I met a guy from Mayo who had taken a 4 hour train just to see this event and he showed me the rather interesting things he had showed Fionn about An algorithm for Pinging Dylan and opposition candidate websites to see how many friends and followers they had, automatically and then turning the info into charts. I was pretty impressed. The dedication and inspiration that had reached out to this guy was exactly the kind of buzz that had brought people there that evening.

I'm not too good at judging the size of a crowd but it looked like 40 to 60 people and it was impressive.

Here's the independent video that a friend of the campaign made of Dylan's speech. You can see me checking my phone at the front.

After that I hung out for a while, helped packed up and got the late bus back to Louth.

I then finished up my twitter trend watching and went to bed...

Taking Friday off for some rest, mainly on my hurt feat and screaming in agony wallet, as i was funding my way via my birthday money.

As this coverage is taking long than i thought... wait for part's 3 and 4 coming in the next few days.

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