Wednesday, 10 December 2008

136. Steve The Bodyguard

I guess that film with Whitney
got one thing right; in this game

the safety of your client is paramount.
It’s your job to make sure they’re OK

at all times. You also have to comport
yourself with discretion, not get phased

and you have to tread a fine line between
following what you’re meant to do

and what the client wants you to do; with
rock stars there’s definitely a difference.

Typical example: Sweden, August 1992.
I’m asked to stick to my client like glue.

His management tells me he’s been
getting a little wacky of late; unpredictable.

So it’s show time and we’re due to leave
Outside the hotel the limo is waiting.

I’m suited, in shades, smelling like roses.
I’m alert, I’m primed, I’m ready for anything.

“I’m due on in twenty minutes,” says my client
fixing his hair. “Let’s get this thing rolling.”

We hit the elevator, down from the penthouse,
then glide across the smooth floor of the foyer.

“Oh wait,” he says. “I want to play some roulette.”
and with that he hits the casino for an hour.

Meanwhile, the phone is ringing off the hook
with people flipping out “Yo, where is he, Steve?

What have you done with him? Is everything alright?”.
On and on, down through all tiers of the organisation.

So I’m, like, OK, you gotta chill on this. Right now
he’s gambling, but I’m gonna bring him over very soon.

This is when a bit of diplomacy comes in handy.
I speak to the guy and gently suggest we should get going.

Finally he cashes in his chips and agrees, “Yeah.
Let’s get this thing rolling,” and we’re on our way.

Only it doesn’t end there. We’re ten minutes from
the venue where 13,000 Swedes are drunk and bored

and my client suddenly snaps alert. “Stop the car!
Stop the car now!”. I’m like, what’s up brother?

Is everything OK? What can I do? And he’s, like,
“Look – over there: fireworks” and I’m thinking

yeah, and?, and he’s like “They’re awesome.
I love fireworks. Let’s go see them close up”

so next thing I know we’re taking a diversion
to go see some stinking firework display when

we should be halfway through a show and though
I want to say, dude, get a grip, I can’t because

the safety and happiness of the client comes first
and besides he could fire me on the spot and

then what do you have? A rock star lost in Stockholm
and me stranded, jobless, the cold shoulder treatment

and, furthermore, you’d have 13,000 pissed off Swedes
and four very annoyed musicians ready to tear you a new ass.

See, you have to think professionally, so I’m like:
Sure buddy, let’s go see some fireworks,

and all the while I’m thinking ahead
trying to maintain, remembering procedure.

So that’s exactly what we do: we go watch
some fireworks until the client gets bored or

psyched or whatever it is he needs to do to
play a show and eventually we’re pulling away

and speeding to the venue at 100mph and the client
is sitting looking out the window, totally unphased

We drive straight down a ramp and through a
loading bay and park up twenty feet from the stage

where the band are in the middle of some sort
of shitty blues jam dirge and though everyone

backstage is losing their minds no-one dares
rag on my client because, after, all, this whole

thing still hinges on him, even though, deep down,
I know, none of this would possible without

guys like me. The bodyguards. The drivers. The techs
The caterers. All the assholes you see straight through

when you’re too busying idolising the latest pipsqueak
ego-tripping little fuckhead who I’m paid to serve.

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