Our Marketing and Digital Officer @ Apples and Snakes, Mr. Dan Simpson tells us about his experience of working on National Youth Project, Shake the Dust…

“Hi there!

Apples and Snakes Dan Simpson here! For the past six months, I’ve been working on telling everyone who will listen about Shake the Dust, and recently I’ve been trying to get as many people as possible to the National Shake the Dust Slam Final at Southbank Centre on Saturday at 2pm. I’ve been doing that because it’s my job.

It’s my job, but I love it, too. ‘Marketing’ is one of those jobs which can be seen in a pretty negative light. ‘Marketing’ is what tries to sell you things you don’t want or need. ‘Marketing’ cold-calls you when you’re just about sit in front of the TV; open a book; put on some music; leave the house to see your friends. ‘Marketing’ spams your inbox with messages about wholly inappropriate products – you know the kind I mean! But what I’m marketing is not these things. I’m marketing words. Just words.

Words that have the potential to move you to laughter or tears, and sometimes both within the space of a few minutes. Words you don’t expect, words that challenge, words that you take home inside your head and can’t go to sleep for having heard. Words that you have to tell your friends about the next day because the words stuck with you and in trying to make them unstick you have to tell someone else about them.

I market the events and places these kinds of words happen – so of course I want to tell you, and everyone I can, about them. I would whether it was my job or not (though the income is useful for things like food, if I’m completely honest). It was at the Shake the Dust South West Regional Final a week or two ago that I really remembered why I do this job.

I market these events for the young people who give each other standing ovations for being bold enough to get up on stage and share their writing with an audience. I market these events for the teachers who tell stories of kids who, usually, can barely focus and sit still in class, but have worked on a poem day after day to make sure it is good. I market these events for the student with learning difficulties who delivered the best line, and got the biggest cheer, of the night.

I market these events because the power words have to change people for the better is tangible, real and self-evident, and I want as many people as possible to witness that.

So I’m going to carry on marketing events like this – starting right here by telling you about the National Shake the Dust Slam Final: Queen Elizabeth Hall, Saturday 7 July, 2pm. You can buy tickets here.”