Long John Silver
Robert Louis Stevenson
Do you know I am sure I have written this before; I looked and looked but it seems I haven't. If you have seen it somewhere let me know but I can't believe I left it till now; maybe it's just one of those stories I have bored people with in the past.
I was sitting in a pub in Wolverhampton with a film director, a cameraman and a sound guy; in the corner was a one legged man. He wasn't a frail looking thing and he made a lot of noise with the mouth, with the chat, and with the big piss taking laugh.
He was a rough looking customer and you would think by looking at him, with his tattoo patterned shirt and scruffy demeanour, that he lost his leg in a fight or had it sawn off for a bet or even lost it in a game of poker.
We were touring the country, the bare bones of a film crew, visiting wonderful locations like Leighton Buzzard, London Docks and Gravesend; to name a few of the places. The cameraman had taken time off from working a camera when he reached his thirties and went to study wine, becoming a wine expert in the process. As we sat eating dinner one evening in the Gravesend hotel, drinking his chosen wine, he suddenly went off and ordered another bottle of red.
Delightedly he poured, after a decent wait for the wine to breath, a glass for each of us. We didn't know that it was a special vintage as we drank and after we drank, our expert looked at us and asked what we thought; well it tasted a bit smoky with a gentle hint of sulphur and a slight bouquet of a six month old baby's poo.
He looked at us; we pulled faces and he got the message: “Don't you find it interesting?” he said.
We were touring because we were making a film for a fork lift company called – I think – Lancer Boss. Their headquarters were in Leighton Buzzard, which is why we were there, and other locations where there were companies using the Lancer Boss fork lift trucks. I had to drive one at each place and then go in to the studio, with the director, and work in a blue screen studio – that is being superimposed into each scene.
His studio was in Buckinghamshire and when I worked with him I had to stay over night at an hotel near by; he came and had a drink with me, told me he was also a pilot and I told him that I could never be a pilot, as I am too slap dash and would never have the patience to check things three times. “Oh it's easy” he said.
That's when I made the mistake of saying “Why? What do you have to do?”
He went through everything he had to do when sitting in the cockpit and I was wondering when he was going to stop.
“I'm not boring you, am I?” he said.
“No no!” I said, and on he continued.
When we sat in the pub in Wolverhampton that day, a small dingy hotel really, I didn't know what I was going to have to listen to after the studio day but I should have.
As we sat there in Wolverhampton – and he didn't talk quietly – he explained to us what his job as a director involved: “I direct the actor; he is in the charge of the photography” he said as he referred to the cameraman, then pointing at the sound guy he said “and he is in charge of the sound.”
Everybody in the bar could hear him pontificating away as if he was giving a lecture. He was smoking a pipe and said his doctor had told him it was okay to smoke as it relaxed him because if he didn't relax he would probably have a heart attack – heaven forbid.
Word got about in the bar that porn videos were to be shown in one of the other bars after the pub closed to the public for residents. The one legged man asked if he would be able to stay and our director asked the landlord if he had a licence.
“What for?” said the landlord.
“You can't show videos without a licence” the director said.
I went off to the loo and left them to it. When I came back, the director had trickles of blood on the outside of his nose “what happened?” I asked.
“Long John Silver dropped the nut on him” said the sound guy.
I looked around and the one legged man had disappeared.
“Yeh; he just hopped over here and head butted the big mouthed sod.”
Can you imagine it?