So on Thursday I witnessed one of the most spectacularly bizarre chain of events unfold from my offices on Shoreditch High Street.
I received an email from a PR company that looked like this:
The map had my office right at the centre of it which drew my attention. Then I googled the phrase to discover it was the name of the new Jay-Z / Kanye collaboration.
I referred to twitter to see a flurry of tweets predicting the meaning of this. Pretty much everyone had come to the same conclusion. At 5pm Kay and Jay were coming to the ‘ditch.
This triggered one blog to even start up:
Sightings included Kanye looking through the vinyls in the Dalston branch of Oxfam, buying a lightbulb at the Argos near Old Street and apparently he and Jay-Z were clocked eating in the Nando’s on commercial road.
A rumour started by a music website caused a crowd to form outside the exclusively-for-men Chariot’s Spa in expectation of a secret gig.
Vice magazine managed to convince a group of poor souls Kay’n’Jay were appearing at Child of Jago – a creepy clown specialist shop by putting these posters up everywhere…
Blogs started to create brilliant stories of Kanye and Jay-Z in East London and what they might get up to.
As the hilarity outweighed the hysteria I decided on my 5pm cigarette break to make my way to Shoreditch High Street’s Box Park to see what all the fuss was about.
Hundreds had finally decided this was where to go. A massive projector has been set up.
There’s press from everywhere (including a reporter I met from Reuter’s) and I started to wonder if something was actually going to kick off.
Cue 5pm and the projector kicks into action. Kanye & Jay-Z’s name flash up and the crowd got into a frenzy. Then their new video started to play.
As it was still light & projected onto a wall with a street lamp in front of it I couldn’t really see it.
But people were getting really hyped after someone whispered that they’d seen Jay-Z having a fag down a side road.
As the video ended there was a pause.
And then they played the video again.
Which then continued for the next hour.
I left after the first play and as I passed Shoreditch House an American man in a bomber jacket asked me for a lighter.
As we smoked he claimed he was Kanye’s head of security. And that Mr West was watching from the roof of the building. With all the other nonsense I’ve heard I am not sure this was true. Especially as I’ve since heard Kanye is apparently in Australia currently.
A very weird and elaborate PR stunt that captured the imaginations of a few hundred people.
It was quite fun to witness the power of word of mouth and I think those who took up the chase loved every second of it.
Regardless of whether he was there in person, I kinda liked the spirit of Kanye in East London.