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Post: 5 'The 4th Estate'

'Some Editors are failed Writers, ..... but so are most Writers'. .... T.S. Eliot

Thankfully Dave Gurman and John Newman, Editor and Publisher respectively of 'The Riders Digest' are neither of the above. Over the years they have humoured me by publishing several of my ramblings in one of the few truly 'Independent' Bike Magazines still available in the UK. Trust me, .... I have written lots and published little, ... always working on the theory of 'Monkeys, Typewriters and the works of Shakespeare', .... I had to have some success.

I met up with Dave and John at the Riders Digest Christmas party, which as 'Good Publishers', .... was held back in October. (Ever wondered why the April copy of 'Bike Magazine' goes on sale at the end of February?). We talked about Poor Circulation and decided that if it was going to happen, we needed to start making plans, so we got Drunk, ..... forgot everything we had discussed, ..... and that was the end of it.

Fortunately, as an ex-Despatch Rider, Dave eventually remembered in January and chased me for some details. At this point, ..... Poor Circulation was actually almost a fully detailed plan, .... covering at least a full side of double-spaced typing on A4 paper. We talked, ..... and clearly short of decent material from less dyslexic writer types, ... Dave offered Poor Circulation a few pages of their magazine on a monthly basis over the course of the year. Result.

Since that second conversation, things have spiralled almost beyond control. The Riders Digest goes 'National' in April, which perfectly coincides with the departure of Poor Circulation. Interest in the journey is growing from some amazingly diverse areas. So far, we have offers of free accommodation in France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Turkey, Thailand, Canada, Australia and America, ... and all from people that we have never met. It really does restore your faith in human nature, .... and we haven't even turned a wheel yet. In fact, .... I don't even have a 'wheel to turn'. Hell, .... a few more offers of 'Free Stuff' in exchange for some shameless product placement, ... and we'll come home under budget.
This brings me very neatly on to the definition of 'Blagging'. From the informal verb to 'Blag': To obtain something for free or at a reduced cost by stealing or deceit, the art of blagging. 'Stealing' and 'Deceit', both words seem a little on the strong side for what is otherwise a harmless activity, an exercise in the procurement of goods and services from organisations that can afford to absorb the transaction. I prefer to see it as supplying sufficient information to allow any potential provider with the ability to make an informed choice. The information that is used may be the full truth, ..... or it may contain certain 'hypotheticals' that are assumed to have come to fruition, ...... and it could possibly even be a tiny little falsehood. The morality supporting the process of 'Blagging' must always be that there are no real victims, only beneficiaries.
An example might be for the procurement of a free motorbike as in the 'Long Way Round'. If I were more famous or more worthy, I may tell Triumph that I was currently in negotiations with Yamaha regarding the provision of free bikes for Poor Circulation, ..... and I may well inform Yamaha that the same is true with regards to Triumph. When carrying out this approach, it's important to believe fully in what you're saying, .... create the 'Story' and stick to it, you must never stray from the central strap-line or you'll loose confidence and it will unfold before you. Human nature suggests that an opportunity leaving always looks far more inviting than an opportunity approaching, ..... thus hopefully increasing the chances of success.
'Pre-Blagging' might also be employed where an organisation is credited with support far greater than the support that has actually been provided. This approach works on two different levels. Firstly, it shows the organisation that gratitude will always be shown, .... and secondly, ... it can then be used at a later date to pressure competitive organisations into joining the party. Pre-Blagging is like adding fertilizer to the ground ahead of next seasons seeding, ..... it shows no benefit at the time, but the future rewards could be plentiful.
But perhaps the simplest form of 'Blagging' is the direct honest approach, .... I ask for something and they either say 'Yes' or 'No', ..... simple, effective and essential to the success of this adventure. 'Blagging', .... it's not really stealing, it's more like borrowing on a permanent basis in exchange for good will.

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