New life, new job,
Reginald gone for good
My life, you robbed
My words misunderstood
Misunderstood. M.S. 1998
I knew nothing, well less than nothing really, when I arrived at the pub with Steve and Brad and I actually think the other three boys in the crew resented me being there a little bit. Frankie Bolan, Dennis Smith, and Lenny Downs were the guys I would be working along side and rely on to give me guidance to do the job right. I might have gotten the job direct from the top person in the company but I expected to learn from the bottom and knew I’d spend most of the night being the gofer. However I think Frankie and Lenny, maybe not so much Dennis, thought I was there to take more from them.
When I met the guys only a few nights before I was little more than a lost and wayward kid, they did not expect to see me rock up with Brad and Steve to their next gig. I got the immediate impression that Dennis, Frankie and Lenny did not get along with Brad and Steve as well as they all got along with themselves. That could have been influenced by the idea that like I’ve said Steve’s house was an almost communal, open house and none of those three had appeared there over the few days I was there. If that was the case it was cemented by the way they worked almost as two separate groups. Still it was not my place to question, I was employed by Daphne not by the other three.
“Ask him to do anything, he’s here to help all of us. Teach him the ropes, show him how things work, don’t just expect him to know things and then bitch when the job is not done properly. If he doesn’t do the job properly see me and I’ll sort him out.” were the words Steve used when all six of us stood at the back of the trucks waiting for the rear doors of the venue to open.
I have to admit I felt like a bit of a prick standing there and hearing those words. I kind of felt like Steve was both protecting me and throwing me in the deep end at the same time. But I also understood why he was doing it, he was the supervisor, he was the person on site who the buck stopped with, but he was also making sure that the other guys didn’t just walk all over me and use me as a scapegoat.
I would find out the following day that the three men’s biggest problem was that Brad was sleeping with the boss and therefore they felt he was getting a better deal than they were. It was a theory both unproven and untrue but it’s what they believed and the reason the group almost worked as two separate groups.
“He’s too fucking young to be working in a pub!” Dennis said after Steve’s speech,, it wasn’t an angry tone in which he used but even without knowing any of the stories between them I could tell he wasn’t worried about my welfare in an adult’s only venue.
“That only stops him from being front of house and from drinking. Neither of which he’ll be doing tonight.” Steve said. “While we are setting up, he’s able to be wherever we are.”
“What are you, his fucking guardian?” Dennis asked, then laughed to mask his tone.
“No, he’s an employee of the company and as such has the rights of the company. This is not the first time we’ve done this Dennis and you know it. So once those fucking doors open I expect to hear no more about it.”
I hadn’t ever been employed and therefore didn’t know how a leader stood up for his workers but it seemed to me Steve was doing a perfect job. He was not loosing his cool but he was getting his point across. It didn’t make me feel better, I still felt like the proverbial shag on a rock, but I guess I understood why he was doing it, he didn’t want trouble and he didn’t want things to flare up during the job.
In the end most of the speech turned out to be unneeded because after the initial outburst Dennis mellowed and less than half an hour into setting up the gear he was treating me fine and even giving me orders rather than demands. I wont say everything was fixed up seamlessly because like I mentioned there was tension between the three men and my two new friends, but things just seemed to operate on automatic.
As I expected I became a bit of a gofer for the set up, not that it worried me because I wanted to learn everything I could and being a gofer was an excellent way of learning what things were.
“Go and get me a roll of gaffa tape, short arse!”
“Get me the red handled phillips head from the toolbox.”
“I need three red and two blue filters on each of the front cans.”
“Get us the ladder Stony.”
Were just some of the calls I heard as we set the sound and lighting gear up on stage. It only took me one mistake to learn the different between duct tape and gaffa tape, the later being thicker and wider. And I already knew what things like ladders, wire cutters and screw drivers were, but cans was a new one to me. Without too much effort I quickly learnt new terms like cans being the lighting cans and they came in both flash and spot and the filters changed their colours. I also learnt terms like XLR3 and RCA and jack which were types of plugs on cables.
It was an amazing experience and as I sat back stage sipping a coke once all the set up and testing had been done I felt like there wasn’t another single time in my life where I had learnt so much in such a short time. Of course I would forget some of the terms and names by the end of the night when it was time to take it all down again but that didn’t seem to matter because some where in my mind all those terms were recorded they just needed a prompt to get them back.