There are a few deeds guaranteed to get anyone their 15 minutes – getting elected president of a well-known country, being awarded the Nobel peace prize, and walking on the moon. Failing those, you can always fall back on training a mouse to waterski (never fails to make the end of the news) or pulling any sort of stunt on the Great Wall of China.
Constructed to keep nomadic tribes from ransacking China in the 7th Century, the Great Wall has proven to be completely useless in stopping foreigners from using it to get themselves publicity in recent years.
From the magician David Copperfield, who “walked through” the wall in 1986, to the stuntman Eddie Kid, who was first to jump over it on a motorbike, if you need a career boost, then the world’s most famous fence has proven to be a great place to start.
Such is the power of the 8,800km long fortification, the exploit doesn’t even need to be death defying to get attention. The marketing brains behind the last Star Wars movie knew this, when they did nothing more than stand 500 locals along the wall, dressed as Stormtroopers, and then sat back as newspapers and websites from Brazil to Newfoundland ran the photos.
Some tricks have been genuinely impressive though, like the time pro skater Danny Way built two 10-storey mega ramps either side and shot across it or more recently when Jeb “The Human Arrow” Corliss flew along it in his wingsuit.
Gaining just as much attention – for all the wrong reasons – was the historic moment when pop star Justin Bieber visited, and demanded his bodyguards carry him on their shoulders, rather than walking the ancient steps himself.
How great is that.