Think for a moment
The next time you attend an event dear reader, look around you and ask how it all came about (don't ask the Bagman - he's busy. Ask yourself). An invitation comes in for a Day of Dance and most of us just have to say yes or no. Poor old Bagman on the other hand has to collate all the yesses and no's and arrange for a deposit to be paid. If it's a distance away, there are sleeping arrangements to be made and how many vegetarians?.... Three vegans and don't forget that Fred doesn't eat anything that's round!
So, for a trip away, Bagman collates the information and sends it on to the host team. Not too bad after all then.
A Day of Dance
Here's where it becomes a lot more complex. Getting information out of your own team is bad enough but extracting even the most basic detail out of some guests is nigh on impossible. It's always a gamble as to who will actually turn up on the day. Many's the time when the tours have had to be re-arranged at the last minute (i.e. just before we set off for the first spot) because teamX has been lost in the Bermuda Triangle or team y has contracted a nasty case of fallen kneecaps and is unable to dance.
London adds its own unique complications. Year on year, "the authorities" seem to get more nervous and we dare not just turn up and dance anywhere. Add to that, "the authorities" is most definitely in the plural. Westminster City Council owns some of the spots where we dance and within that group, there are different departments for some spots as opposed to others. Then there are the Royal Parks where we must speak with the Crown Estates and we mustn't forget the Mayor of London's Office for Traf Square. Finally, it's always a good idea to give the Police some notification since they really don't like surprises.
The feast is a task in itself. It's a real struggle to find somewhere to feed a three course meal to a large group at a reasonable price.
Somehow, it all gets done. Hats off to the Bagmen, past and present for all they do. Thanks also to the deputy bagmen who step in and help out when requested and finally, thanks to the long suffering wives/partners who probably do more of the work than the Bagmen would care to admit. "Bag lady" somehow doesn't seem to be a fitting title - suffice it to say, we know who you are and we're grateful.