Mark Borkowski, Publicist
Borkowski, who staged the biggest custard-pie fight ever in the Millennium Dome (3,312 pies in two minutes), has set himself a challenge on a par with making a romance about estate agents. His one-man show will proclaim that we should think of publicists as heroes. Son of Barnum: A Stunt Too Far will track down the ‘troubled souls’ of early practitioners to reveal that this skill is no modern mystery. Borkowski, whose clients include Warner Bros, is adamant that Max Clifford and other PR men should not be regarded as ‘the custodians of the art’; he’s there to fly the flag for ‘the press agent, not the suppress agent’.
He will, of course, celebrate Barnum, who took elephants into the street to advertise his circus, but also the lesser-known Jim Moran, who created a riot to advertise a drink. When Pimm’s was due to be promoted in New York just after prohibition, Moran employed two ace mixologists to prepare rival versions of the perfect cocktail and got their adherents brawling in the streets.
Naturally, Borkowski will publicise Borkowski and the campaigns that he sees as carrying on the Great Tradition. To promote the circus company, Archaos, he ran cars on two wheels over Albert Bridge in the middle of the rush hour, and started chainsaw juggling. He enjoys flouting health-and-safety warnings.
The secret of publicity lies, he says, in ‘telegraphing excitement’. And in being more or less unembarrassable. To boost the flagging fortunes of a pantomime Treasure Island, Borkowski held a parrot audition: long queues of hopefuls formed outside the theatre. With malicious favouritism, he cast a bird belonging to racing driver James Hunt; he then ostentatiously sacked his feathered star for bad language. Lots of ruffled feathers; lots of column inches.
� Mark Borkowski’s Son of Barnum: A Stunt Too Far is at the Assembly Rooms from 10 to 14 August (tel 0131 226 2428).