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P.A.: everyone needs a Rhodri

I’ve always appreciated the importance of the P.A. operator’s job, and now that our system is on its last legs, I’m even more convinced that those who work the sound are real unsung heroes and heroines.

The Music Exchange Richard Simpkin

P.A. operators (real ones — like those who wear dark clothes and black trainers) are always there. They pick up all the balls that have been dropped by everyone else, and they have the wonderful inability to say ‘no’. They’re like AA men — if there’s a problem, it’s more than their pride’s worth to give up on the job. I was speaking at a jazz event last year, where, with an hour to go, there was no P.A. system, no drum kit and, of course, no musicians, as they don’t ‘do’ setting up. All the shops had closed, so there was no chance of hiring any equipment. Enter Rhodri (yes, the real article — all in black, long hair and beard), who single-handedly rigged up a whole system by banging on the sound shop door till the manager opened up. He then found bits of drum kit from around the place, and with five minutes to spare we were ready to go. Everybody needs a Rhodri.