Don’t Screw with the Crew

I rather doubt that it’s made international headlines, but there’s a furore over a fracas going on here in the U of K over a certain TV presenter being suspended for alleged abusive behaviour towards an assistant producer while out on shoot.

Jeremy Clarkson is a celebrity star and the show he presents, Top Gear, is a major moneyspinner. It’s a petrolhead paradise basically, with other stuff weaved in. The presenters are blokey, larky, tell it like it is, totally un-PC and ride their horses hard and put them away wet. Many have leapt to Clarkson’s defence because… well, he’s an unrepentant unreconstructed blokey bloke who takes no prisoners. The whole thing’s been elevated into quite a spat.

The details of the incident aren’t established yet – but I’d like to take the opportunity to make a few points about how musicians should treat each other and “the help”. I’m pretty outspoken myself (perhaps you’ve noticed), but…


I would never dream of saying this to anyone. For so many reasons, but consider this – the question immediately defeats itself. If I don’t know who you are, you obviously aren’t as famous as you think you are. If I do, the only reason you’re asking is that you’re being a stroppy, arrogant git by trying to make a point.

In fact, it’s never really a question at all – it’s just the sound of toys flying out of a pram occupied by an adult…

There’s always an element of “runner” to any production job, no matter how senior. In many fields – acting, music, journalism, etc. “My chair doesn’t flatter my hips – you there, drive across town and buy another.” “I’m the unit director, but okay I’ll get the car keys. Bob, take over will you…”

Their job is to make you look and sound good, and they generally really want to do it. Even the ones who really are idiots, but you’ll have to work out your own radar for that (and shouting at an idiot doesn’t un-idiot them).

Be a human being with them and they’ll do everything they can for you – it’s good for everyone. But stomp around and paw the ground like Lord Snorting Muck and when unfortunate mishaps occur (as they inevitably do), you’ll deserve them. Or at very least, you won’t get much sympathy – don’t care how much pressure you’re under. Worse yet, you’ll get a reputation. And am I suggesting deliberate sabotage goes on? Perish the thought…

When Roger Moore (0087 and still going) was starting to become really hot film property he still used to do a lot of stage work. He was occasionally admonished by his management for popping down to have a cup of tea with the wardrobe and stagehand gang (I have this from a reliable source – one of the wardrobe mistresses in question*). Come now, Roger, it’s bad for morale, mixing with the hoi polloi, and all that. But he ignored the bigwigs, carried on doing it, and it was excellent for morale. He appreciated what they did, enjoyed their company and didn’t see himself as being somehow above them.

Got to go now, because the serving wench is late with my mead and venison, so I must have a couple of the scullions horsewhipped pour encourager les autres. I’ve other plans for the wench…

* Another little Moore anecdote for you.
He was once uncharacteristically late for work. Apparently he was all ready to leave home on time, but had to dive into the pool, fully clothed (and as was his wont, expensively clothed), to rescue the new kitten.
Now, if there’s any reason for throwing a filming schedule back by an hour or two, that’s a pretty fine one in my book.
It’s so very Bond, don’t you think? Eat your heart out, Blofeld.

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Posted in c) Musicianship, e) Rants & Ramblings, j) Sound & Vision

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