First Person - with Allan Crow

Allan Crow
Allan Crow

I’M going to launch a new award in recognition of a truly British institution - our jobsworths.

They are the very backbone of our country. Without them we would never fill out a form correctly or have any order in our humdrum lives.

They deserve a special award - a golden clipboard mounted on a plinth, with, perhaps, name badges cast in bronze for the runners-up.

At our jobsworth awards ceremony we shall dress appropriately - beige polyester shirt with nondescript tie, and three pens clipped into the top pocket.

And it goes without saying said event shall run to schedule from start to finish.

At this ceremony, there shall be an award for dedication beyond the call of duty - the jobsworths’ jobsworth - and I have already found him. Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding, whilst tucking your chairs in as you rise, for the man who silenced not one, but two - TWO! - rock legends. The King Of Jobsworths. The Supreme ‘Sorry Son, These Are The Rules, Nowt I Can Do’ Emperor of Middle Management.

Picture the scene. Hyde Park, London, and 70,000 people, including yours truly, have just witnessed an epic three-hour set from Bruce Springsteen.

Living legend

It’s chucking it down, the mud is ankle deep, and for an encore, The Boss brings out Sir Paul McCartney. Macca! A living legend! A Beatle for goodness sake!

Together they rip into ‘Twist And Shout’ and ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and the whole place goes utterly doo-lally dancing in the mud, thrilled at witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime duet.

‘‘I’ve waited 51 years for this’’ Springsteen tells us.

Aye well, that might be half a century, but there’s an agreed curfew, it’s been breached, rules are rules m’boy. The sound is cut.

The Boss speaks but all we get is silence. Show over. Please disperse in an orderly manner and nae shouting in case you upset the local millionaires in their penthooses. Truly, you couldn’t make it up.

On the eve of the Olympics, London was shown to be a city governed by rules which, when applied, seemed mean-spirited and petty. Imagine chopping ‘Rule Britannia’ out of the Proms because time was up, or slicing the finale from a west end show - unthinkable. That’d be deemed an act of cultural vandalism. This was no different.

Rules are rules

Yes, it was outdoors, yes there are clear issues between the residents, the park owners and Westminster Council over how many gigs should be staged and how long should they run, but the end result was just a farce from which no-one emerged with any credit. There had been two complaints regarding noise and the ‘‘health and safety’’ excuse floated was shredded when the CEO of that organisation tweeted to say he was at the gig!

In a nutshell, the rules were applied - common sense was not.

I’d like to think that, come Monday morning, in an office somwehere in London, a senior manager popped his head round the door and said ‘‘Geoff, a word... got the Mayor on the blower, talk me through your thinking at Hyde Park’’ but I suspect not, Jobsworths do what the rule book says. Nothing more. Nothing less. If it isn’t written down (in triplicate), then it’s not relevant.

Ater all, it’s more than their job is worth to budge an inch, and we meekly comply. At Hyde Park we shuffled out into the night, and formed the longest, most orderly queue you’ll ever see at a tube station.

If two rock legends can’t defeat a jobsworth, what hope for 70,000 cheesed off music fans?