Friday, 26 March 2010

the scorpion king

more stories from the dark end of the audio/visual world

“the first thing i’ll do is tell you that you won’t be able to read anything on the powerpoint slides. we’ve purposefully put loads of data on there, lots of number charts and things, so all the text is far too small to read.
but what i will say is this... it doesn’t matter.”

that’s how he started his presentation. he actually started by declaring that the information he was going to present “didn’t matter.” it was unimportant. it has no use. it could be ignored completely and there would be no loss or any ramifications.

... why put it on screen then?

i’m sure the 100 people in the room who were about to sit and listen to him for the next 6 hours were pretty excited by the prospect of a day without value. i know i was.

this was the same guy that came to me an hour earlier to have a microphone fitted. in the AV industry we call them ‘lavaliers’ and they’re the ones that clip to news reader’s neck-ties. words with more than 3 syllables tend to confuse a lot of the people I work with, so we end up calling them ‘tie-clip mics’ quite a lot. here’s the conversation:

HIM: hi, i’ve come to get a tie-clip mic please.
ME: yep, sure. let me put that on for you.

i begin fitting his lavalier mic by running the head (the mic bit) up through the loop in his tie; it helps keep it tidy. so far, so good.
i get to the suitable place, a couple of inches below his tie knot. normally i’d prefer to go a bit further down, but my work-place has piece-of-shit mic heads and a badly designed P.A. so you have to get as close as possible.

i start to clip the mic to his tie.

HIM: oh, you can’t clip it there!
ME: really? why’s that?
HIM: that’s my hermes tie.

this means fuck all to me.

HIM: it cost me a lot of money.
ME: oh, okay. in that case i can just place it on your lapel.
HIM: no, not there!
ME: an expensive suit, right?
HIM: yes. tell you what, i’ll put it on myself.
ME: no problem.

he lowers the mic head and begins to clip it to his belt buckle.

ME: sorry, i’m afraid it won’t work from there. It needs to be a lot closer to your mouth.
HIM: why’s that?
ME: that’s where the sound comes from.

he raises the mic again, and attempts to place it on his shirt, underneath the garishly patterned hermes tie

ME: oh sorry. that won’t work either i’m afraid. your hermes tie will just rub on the mic all day and all the audience will hear will be a scratching sound.
HIM: it’s a silk tie!
ME: yes. but it will be amplified through a large speaker system.
HIM: okay, i’ll just move the tie over to one side.

he does so… for a moment it looks a bit weird, his tie hanging to one side. not even worth the $180 dollars (i looked it up) it must have cost him.
then it slips back over the mic. i guess he expected gravity to bow down before his over-priced couture.

ME: hmmm.
HIM: well that won’t work.
ME: no. you’re right.
HIM: tell you what, i’ll just shout.

so here i am. listening to a shouty man present an illegible powerpoint presentation about something difficult to hear.
these are the days that make me proud to be an Audio/Visual technician. or if you remove the bits that I’m not really doing today… a technician. although i’m not really doing an awful lot of technicianing. except sitting here writing this blog.

never mind. it’s not like i actually bring a lot to the quality of the society we live in, doing this job. what i will say is, in the words of a great business man i recently worked with – “it doesn’t matter.”

i originally wrote this at about 9.30am.
at about 11.00am, the guy came over to me and asked for a tie-clip microphone. and i could put it on his hermes tie.

all he said was, "everyone will take the piss out of me if i don't."

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