June 14, 2014
As a PR intern, I expected to spend my summer wooing publications with punchy pitches and impressing the press with pressed-perfect press releases. To be fair, I was mostly correct. There was, however, one thing missing from my to-do list: a cross-continental, sleuth-style cyberhunt for a famous author.
It started with a suggestion from our client, Paul Crehan, the delightful author of The Secret of Alpine Valley. Crehan wanted to send a copy of his book to the popular author David Sedaris, and discovered from an article in The New Yorker that Sedaris lived in a small town somewhere in England. Crehan thought that Sedaris dropped enough hints in the article that someone might be able to figure out exactly which town that was.
So, with all of England to scour, my search began.
Sedaris indeed dropped hints in the article. Some were helpful: he lived in West Sussex, within 10 miles of a town with a lot of antique shops. Some were less helpful: he also lived within 10 miles of a town with a castle – do you know how many towns in England have castles? (All of them. Some more than one. Look at that map.)
Ultimately, this PR intern prevailed via patience, Google and a notebook I think the police may soon confiscate. I spent half of an hour one day with my ear pressed against my laptop speaker, listening to a podcast in which Sedaris confirms he lives in the town I suspect. From an article in which he describes what it’s like around his house, I was able to use Google Maps to guess his street. I’m pretty sure I even know which pub he regularly visits.
At the end of this online pursuit, I can wholeheartedly say that PlainClarity dedicates more energy and effort to its clients than Kanye West dedicates songs to himself - and we’re cuter, too. I wonder if Sedaris would agree. Maybe I’ll visit him and ask.