We’ve all done it at one stage in our life .Some say it’s inevitable,others unavoidable:Doublebooked ourself.Yes,That blissful feeling in many ways of being popular,of a diary entry put in the wrong place,or the old brain letting us down when we thought that we had our own unique filing system able to cope with any amount of information.
That description ,brief but salient is the quandary that Frank found himself in Today.It affected him more than most because when he was working,he was a “time and motion officer for EMI “ in their Hayes plant in London.He knew exactly the time it should take to press copies of 45 rpms,and 33and a third rpms.People said that you could rely on Frank and if the production fell by just a few u it’s,then Frank was in it.He worked for EMI for over 35 years,that is,until the advent of digital technology with the redundancy of the cassette,the single and the LP as a production line entity.Now,Of course,Frank had many a story of doom and gloom for the music companies following the march of Apple and the plethora of on line music platforms where ,at best,their activities were regulated but never entirely controlled.
As Frank mulled over what he should do,the two people who had phoned to check about their lunch club partner represented two different characters.They had one thing in common though:They were both life long friends ,the salt of the Earth as was often said.It might seem easy for the more socially mobile to just book another place at the lunch club,after all,they were a charity,and his contributions were always gratefully received,but that would mean Frank confronting his mistake ,having to admit to one of his friends that he had got it wrong.Having prided himself on absolute precision in his oversight of the EMI plant,it had carried over way into retirement.Frank ,on his own since tHe death of his wife 5years ago,relied on the lunch club and lately ,the meals on wheels provision.He would be ready with his knife and fork ready on the dot of 12:30 when his lunch would arrive.Frank worked to the time and to him precision was the name of the game.
He always struggled to the artists whom he would press for,as they were often free spirits,long haired,with beards,all things that Frank thought didn’t belong to order and precision.He remembered one day pressing “Dark side of the moon” and the affect of a visit to the line had on those working there.He just couldn’t get why these people were so important and they were late.Now,I might think that Frank was totally over the top,and he should have been honoured that Dave Gilmour,Roger Walters and co deigned to visit his precious pressing plant at all but we are all different.
As a company,EMI knew that Frank would get the job done and although new technology might now repudiate such men ,considered going them to the dinosaur fossil pile,back then Frank was indespensible to them.
As he picked up the phone ,his planned written out explanation neatly written on an A4 sheet in front of him,he rang the number.After a few rings,Gillian picked up.Her soft voice in that brief mixture of syllable and timbre alarmed him.”Oh,….its….a…Frank “
“Oh Frank,I’m so glad that you rang me because I was just going to ring you:You see,I’ve realised that I promised Madge that I would cat sit for her as her riddles has had an operation and she is at the hospital this morning,and I’m so terribly sorry but I’m going to have to cancel our date at the lunch club,I really am sorry”
Frank stunned by this fortuitous conincidence paused,then thought.He knew what he should say ,but somehow he couldn’t ,he just couldn’t .
“Oh let’s alright Gillian,perhaps another time,and I hope that you find Madge as well as possible”
“Shall we make it next Tuesday Frank”.
As Frank put the phone down,he should have felt releiF,but ,even for a man such as Frank,this deception wasn’t his proudest moment!
As this cautionary tale might be put down to sheer good luck on Franks part,but it also alerts us all to the pressures we often find ourselves in ,and that is the forces of ego and personality.