UA-116782038-1 What People Say

What People Say

Updated: Jul 9, 2018

When our daughter, Rebecca, was a two-year-old I was in town with her. Suddenly she pointed across the road and said: "Look, daddy. There's a policeman with a dog." As I was looking at the cop who had an Alsatian on a lead, she added. "Isn't that sad." I said "Sad? Why do you think that's sad?" to which she replied "A blind policeman."


So we’re looking at the things that people say... like the man returning some laundry to my Qatar hotel room when I was there for three weeks to work as a writer-in-schools. As I took the hangers of neatly ironed clothes from him, he said in careful English "You wish company, sir?" Slightly taken aback by this offer, I paused. He repeated his question: "You wish company, sir?" I said “No thanks, I'm fine." He looked puzzled before saying even more deliberately: "You wish company, sir?" I looked at him, thought through his question a couple of times and then slowly realised that what he wanted to know was which company I was with.

Ulterior Motives with John Nelson on drums

When our daughter, Rebecca, was a two-year-old I was in town with her. Suddenly she pointed across the road and said: "Look, daddy. There's a policeman with a dog." As I was looking at the cop who had an Alsatian on a lead, she added. "Isn't that sad." I said "Sad? Why do you think that's sad?" to which she replied "A blind policeman."


So we’re looking at the things that people say... like the man returning some laundry to my Qatar hotel room when I was there for three weeks to work as a writer-in-schools. As I took the hangers of neatly ironed clothes from him, he said in careful English "You wish company, sir?" Slightly taken aback by this offer, I paused. He repeated his question: "You wish company, sir?" I said “No thanks, I'm fine." He looked puzzled before saying even more deliberately: "You wish company, sir?" I looked at him, thought through his question a couple of times and then slowly realised that what he wanted to know was which company I was with.


Sometimes however, it's the clarity of the statement that leaves you with no easy answer. When I was in the band Ulterior Motives we’d rehearse on a regular basis. At one of these, our then drummer, John Nelson, failed to turn up. Next day, I phoned him to see if he was okay. He said "Yeah, I'm fine". When I then asked him why he wasn’t at the rehearsal he said: "I've left the band." "Left ...?” I asked him, “Why's that?" "Because you play shit music and you bore me." L-o-n-g pause... and then I realised he was waiting for my reaction. I said "Good reason for leaving, John." After waiting for a few moments - during which time he said nothing more - I put the phone down. Decades later, we’re still on speaking terms. How can you fall out with someone simply because they tell you their truth?


Leaving a band is a two-way street. A friend of mine had been the bassist in a group for several years. They’d just finished a gig and were in a crowded dressing room along with assorted friends, fans and family members when their manager announced: “Okay, lads, meeting in the room next-door. Band members only.” Along with his fellow musicians, my friend got up and headed for the door. As he did so, the manager turned to him and said: "Where the hell do you think you're going? I said band members only." ...which is how he found out that he’d been chucked out of that band.


And that leaves me with my all-time favourite response. Credit where it's due, this was Joseph Porter who is/was variously a fanatical train-spotter, a British history buff, singer-songwriter, solo artist, all-round nice guy, one half of the duo Red Wedding, and drummer-singer with the band Blyth Power. He was sound-checking for a solo gig and, being a consummate professional, was keen to get everything just right. The promoter, conscious of the fact that there was an audience to get into the venue and a gig to get started, was losing patience with him. Eventually the exasperated man exclaimed "You know what your problem is? You're a prima donna."


Without batting an eyelid, Joseph replied "Prima donna? What do you mean by Prima donna? I'm pre-f***ing Beatles!"

Nick Toczek .com

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Google+ Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
email: nick.toczek@gmail.com
Contact Nick on 07985 514409
The works, news and views of Yorkshire's Motormouth!

© 2020 Nick Toczek

A Mutiny 2000 Production