Homage to Malcolm DaviesHomage to Malcolm Davies.

This week passed has marked the funeral of Malcolm, a recordist of repute. Deepest condolences to his friends and family.

I got to know Malcolm, like many others, through various Sound Forums online. Malcolm was always a voice of reason and help when needed. He’d done the hard yakka and was ready to pass on advice to anyone who came asking. He wasn’t one of the “RTMF” brigade.
Malcolm was a great storyteller and started a “Friday Funny” thread on one of the forums and would regularly pitch in with one story or another from back in the day. What was great was that it was a very even-handed approach. He was as much the brunt of the joke as the hero in the stories and this marked then man for me, we’ll all need to remember that we don’t always have the all the answers and to not take ourselves too seriously.

With that in mind. My Homage to Malcolm comes out at the start of the week. Got to be different haven’t I! But in true MD style, I’m bear the brunt in this one.

When I was a Cub recordist at Magpie Films in Birmingham my main Cameraman was Jamie Knights. We are both about the same age, at that time, both in similar stages of our careers. We were all about the work and moving on to bigger and better things. It was a genuinely an exciting time for me in the industry. It was all new and fresh and the prospects were endless I thought. You getting the picture of the pair of us?
To add another layer to this picture, Magpie had brought in a uniform. Well Maybe uniform is too strong a word. It was branded clothing. Powder blue Crew or Timberland Oxford shirts and dark blue fleeces. The shirts at that time were easily the most expensive shirts in my wardrobe. Did Magpie bring in the uniform/branded clothes to smarten me up? Its not beyond the pale to suggest it.

So backstory covered.

Jay and I were doing a lot of work on the VTs for ITV’s This Morning when this story unfolds, we got the call from them to film at London Fashion week. Bit of a long day they said, late start, late finish. Being young and enthusiastic we say yes and the jobs on.

We bowl up mid afternoon at the V&A where the show is happening. Well, Shows in fact. We’ll be covering 3.
The day will run as follows, Camera into the press enclosure, lewis find something to do as there is no room for you in there. At the end of the show, get backstage, plug into camera and get the behind the scenes stuff.
Then once we’ve done that, reposition for the next Catwalk and repeat.
Back to the press pit etc etc etc.

Can you imagine. A twenty something Welsh ex rugby lad farmers boy backstage at London Fashion week! It’s the stuff dreams are made of isn’t it!

So it starts, not to long on the Catwalk for show one, we bob backstage, its brilliant.
Back out for Catwalk number 2. This is longer. I get on the coffees for Jay and me.
Go backstage. Again its brilliant.
Reset for the final major show of the day. Do more coffee runs.
I think, time for a comfort break to be ready for the run in to the end of the shoot. Its about 2100 now and we are a little jaded.
Coffee and comfort break done I'm back in position.
Final catwalk show finishes.
We go backstage, we are there for ages, interviewing the designer, interviewing the models, interviewing the Make Up Artist in charge of this whole show. Great stuff.
Load the van.
Take the director to the edit where she’ll be cutting the VT’s through the night to go in the following days programme.
Collect Pizza ordered for us by production.
Stop of pop at a garage on the A40 out of London.
Stop for a comfort break at Oxford Services – about an hour and half has elapsed since we were at the show.
I need a wee.
As I’m at the urinal I start to think I’ve managed to rip my trousers or something. There’s a lot of fabric getting in the way of the fabric.

Hang on.

Oh God.

Yup. When I had the final pre-show pee at the V&A I hadn’t been concentrating and had left the toilet without making sure everything was where it should be.
My modesty was covered but the reason why my modesty was covered? I’d be bowling round with my shirt tails sticking out of my flies! For hours! In the main hall of London fashion week! Backstage with the big hitters! In the Van with the director.
What a bloody bumpkin!

There isn’t really a moral to this story, other than maybe, if you’ve got a farmers boy working for you, you can spend all you want on smartening him up but at the end of the day, underneath it all, the Country bumpkin will come out in the end.

Needless to say, the shirt out of the flies didn’t become the next big thing in fashion, I wasn’t seen as a fashion influencer and rather than being courted by the biggest fashion houses in the World I’m still a plain old location sound recordist. Now, however, I’m a plain old location sound recordist whose flies are always flying high.



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