The what? I hear you ask. What sort of employer is that? Well, it's not an employer as such but was the name of the little band for
which I was the guitarist. The reason it's here is because I earned money from it so it was work!
Now I'd love to report that we were a good old rock band or that we were influenced by Pink Floyd or that we played in the style of Country Joe
and The Fish. But I cannot as we were the sort of band that played at weddings and working men's clubs. We played foxtrots and waltzes. We wore frilly
white shirts and bow ties. We played from sheet music.
I had sold my soul to the devil.
So why did I do it? At first it was good experience playing in fromnt of a real audience of strangers. It was also good practice with the guitar
(especially the Arbiter. If I could hold a chord on that I could do it on anything; despite my short sausage-like fingers), but in the end I
liked the money. I started while at McIlwee's. I saw an ad in the music shop in Uxbridge where I used to spend most of Saturday. If the boss
wasn't around we (me and bugger-another-forgotten-name but he worked there) would play whatever instrument we fancied. If the boss was in, we could still
play a guitar but not for long. Anyway "b-a-f-n" said I should go for it as it would be good experience. So I did. We tended to play either a Friday
or a Saturday night. Then Friday and Saturday nights became the norm. By the time I left (I was at Xerox now) we usually played Friday,
Saturday and Sunday. I was earning as much with the Barry Trio as I was at Xerox. And for a lot less effort. But eventually my artistic
conscience could bear it no longer and I left. My earnings dropped by more than half while my expenditure increased as I was now going
to the pub and buying drinks every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A financial disaster that took years to overcome.
The band was:
Barry Dowsett - at the beginning Barry played the accordian (yes, really!). He was bloody good and had won loads of
competitions and stuff. Fairly certain that he started the band, By the end he was playing something that looked like an accordian
but was in fact an electric organ. Long
after leaving the band (20 years-ish) I was flicking through the channels late at night when I thought "I recognise that person"
it was Barry being interviewed for Open University or something. He was MD of Bees Transport. I meant to contact Bees
to say hello but my usual inability to do anything other than think what I ought to do meant that I didn't.
Barry ??? - another Barry, this time the drummer. He and Barry D used to get gigs as the Barry Duo even when I first joined I
think they were still playing as a duo. I remember that Barry drove a Morris Minor which became very cramped if either Barry D
or I were in the car. I couldn't offer either Barry a lift as I had the MG.
Barry was a good steady drummer but had no concept of playing rock. So when we played a gig at a youth club I had to provide
some younger music. Somehow we didn't think that Moon River or Tie A Yellow Ribbon would be the sort of stuff they'd like.
So I sorted out some Hendrix (always the optimist) and we played it.
Picture the scene, 3 guys in frilly shirts and bow ties, one of whom was me with my Arbiter (remember its high action) and a 10 or 15 watt amp
that would become overloaded and would just emit a loud buzz. There I stood singing "Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire" and doing
my best to play a solo and behind me were Barry D just busking the best he could and the other Barry playing strict 4/4 beat. It was a f*cking
disaster. it's a wonder I ever played the guitar again!