First of all, a very Happy New Year! I hope that all the Christmas parties went well and that you managed to get some time off to relax with loved ones; that is, if you are able to relax. One of the strange things that I have found in this business is that we get so used to working when others are partying that, if a job gets cancelled and a free night presents itself, we don’t know what to do with ourselves!
Some years ago, having been booked for a New Year’s Eve party at a hotel, it was cancelled very much at the last minute. I decided that as it was probably too late to book a restaurant or hotel, my wife and I would spend a quiet night indoors. What a disaster! I spent the night expecting a call at any moment begging me to save someone’s party from being a total flop and my wife (who doesn’t really like NYE) spent the evening getting more and more morose. In the end, my mobile rang at about two minutes past twelve and a rather drunk young lady proceeded to scream that she loved me and wanted to be with me so that the New Year could be started properly! Of course, in truth, it must have been a wrong number, but my wife was in no mood to listen to my protestations of innocence! The one thing we agreed on the following morning was that, if necessary, the next NYE I would work for nothing if required, but would definitely work.
Christmas Day is another on which I have regularly worked, but normally on radio. One year though, an agent asked me if I would be interested in providing a disco for the residents of a hotel to give them a chance to work off some of the large amounts of food they were certain to have eaten. We agreed a price and, after spending about two hours at home, having already been up early to present Breakfast on radio, I drove off to my second job of the day. When I arrived at the hotel, following a journey which on Christmas Day took about half the time it would normally, I found out where the staff wanted me to set up and proceeded to do so. One of the guests soon came over and greeted me warmly with Christmas wishes and, shaking my hand, welcomed me with the chilling words, “Oh, you must be our sing-a-long man?”!
I read the programme of events that the guest was holding and realised that the residents were expecting an old fashioned sing-a-long evening with me leading it! Now although I do sing a bit, I certainly hadn’t got enough songs to cover a whole evening and most of the ones I knew were made famous by people like Sinatra and Dean Martin. Fine for a Rat-Pack evening but not for a family sing-song. It was far too late to call anyone else, so I ‘bit the bullet’ and gave it my best attempt. One advantage of working on a day like Christmas is that most people are in a relaxed and forgiving frame of mind. Most of them are also pi***d! Driving home after that job I thanked someone (being an atheist I can’t thank God!) for saving my neck once again. I’d got away with it. I managed to complete the evening and, although I say it myself, everyone had a great time.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 75, Pages 62 - 63.