Saturday, 10 September 2016

The strange case of Tim, Richard and Alf

While I'm still in the mood to exploit the bountiful vein of workplace characters I've encountered, let me tell you about Tim. How can I describe Tim I wonder? Not an easy task because he was something of self parody but he was Pete's immediate successor as the workplace oddball. If Pete was annoying, Tim was insufferable, he was a bit of a new age moralist, continually pressing his judgements on those around him. So he dug himself into the same hole Pete had, only rather more quickly and more profoundly than Pete ever had. Despite his protestations about women's issues, together with his other right on views, he found himself particularly unpopular with the women in the studio. It was for this reason he was exiled to an annex adjacent to the dark room, so the rest of the staff could gain respite from the continual offence he so blithely aroused.

Tim was hard to completely dislike though, he had something about him a kind of naivety that mitigated his peremptory attitude and his arrogance which annoyed the girls so much, seemed ironic in the light of his meagre ability. He was active in political life, always going on marches to protest the fascist threat, educating those around him about Thatcher's menace; all the while of course, taking home about four times the average wage packet under her terrible regime.

Alf was something different, not an oddball at all, in fact I was the oddball in relation to him. Alf had arrived and taken up a prime position in the studio, a position that I'd been trying to manoeuvre into. They chose to go with Alf  because he was, you know qualified and had the relevant experience, while I was a complete chancer. Alf wasn't as demonstrative about his political leanings as Tim but I gathered enough to infer there was some common ground between them. Alf was something of a character too, he had an equity card so you'd see him in front of the camera on occasion and he also had a minor but reasonably lucrative musical career.

Enter Richard, the third player in this little drama, Richard was someone you wouldn't want to be around for any length of time. He was a bit of child catcher in looks and demeanour. He worked quite closely with Alf and had regular contact with Tim, myself I never had much to do with him and Alf but it seemed that Richard was reasonably competent at his job.

Things had moved on a bit from Tim's arrival and the whole studio had been re-organised. Alf and Richard had moved to a separate site and they took Tim with them. Partly, I think because Tim was so universally loathed and Alf was the only one who'd work with him. We'd get news across the grapevine of Tim's outrageous behaviour and his constant attention seeking, culminating in the episode were he came out as LGBT; which wasn't much of a surprise to anyone except me, I thought he was a vegetarian and wouldn't touch McDonald's.

One day the news arrived that Tim had been let go and while I though it was news that was well passed its due date, there was some surprise that he'd actually been fired. He'd spent so much of his time being a total prick, the natural assumption was the he'd remain because people had just got used to tolerating him. Not long after this news, there was an after work beano, a chance to meet and greet the new boss, some bint from Utah, who could've done with some plastic surgery, I think it must be the climate there that shrivels up faces like that. Anyway her prune like features didn't stop me trying to chat her up, and while under the influence I even got matey with Richard which was something I really wouldn't normally consider.

Richard seemed to be responding to the attention I was giving him quite well and even went so far as to let his guard down regarding his love life; which I would discover was conducted mostly during weekend ferry trips to Amsterdam. And so it with some regret, I must confess that what happened next, was again partially my fault. I'd made such a good job of buttering Dick up that he started to open up about matters of policy at work. It was while in this mood, he announced with some hubris, that his voice had been the important factor in the dismissal of Tim. Apparently the Tim problem had surfaced on the agenda of a weekly meeting and he'd been the one to insist that Tim should go. Better buy him another drink I thought, after that news.

Troubled ensued when the pub whispers carried the news to Alf's ears and when I say trouble, I mean the fist into face kind of trouble. It all flared up while I was back trying to chat the boss up, I was doing quite well too only to find we were both being chucked out the pub because of the disorder our party had been responsible for stirring. Being a yank, it was all too much for her and she was off in her Merc in a flash. Dick and Alf were still at it but it's fair to say that Richard was never coming out of that contest without a few bruises.

Alf was lucky, he was on staff so they couldn't get rid of him without a tribunal but he spent some time on probation over the incident. It wasn't until months later I learned that it was the news about Tim that had caused it, Alf told me himself while we were in the pub again. Then two French bints enter the pub, 'Que heure tile?' I says.

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