I Work For: Alan McGee

Kle Boutis is PA to the founder and chairman of Creation Records
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The Independent Culture
Eight years ago, while on holiday in London from Canada, I rang Creation to find out about a gig. The woman who answered the phone asked if I knew anyone who wanted be a receptionist. I said I was interested and she said, "OK then, start on Monday." Coming from North America where everything is so organised I thought that the office, which was above a sweatshop in Hackney and full of Alan's friends, was the wildest, most fun place. Streamlining the place was the first project I gave myself and I think Alan noticed because after three months he asked me to be his personal assistant. It took me about two weeks to understand his broad Glaswegian accent, but I was too nervous to tell him so I just winged it.

At first my work was secretarial, now I have a more rounded role. Basically when Alan gets into something, so do I. Luckily he's got brilliant taste and his enthusiasm is totally infectious. For example, I redesigned and decorated his box at the Chelsea football ground and became a big fan. I love taking his guests to matches now, including members of bands like Three Colours Red who have become great friends.

I get involved in a lot of Alan's outside projects, like organising the Creation gig for the Labour Party conference. I worked with equipment hire companies, liaised with the band managers, made sure that they got to the gig on time and generally organised stuff while having a bit of a boogie with Mo Mowlem on the night.

One of the best things about my job is its diversity; one moment I'm liaising with the Labour party and the next I'm renovating Alan's house or organising a bed-in for Teenage Fanclub. I've even sung backing vocals on records. Being thrown in at the deep and can be daunting, but I love projects and helping Alan to realise his vision. I'm going to start up a special projects division to look at thinks like getting our music into films.

I also do a lot of A&R. Alan is very hands-on with the bands, so if they don't already have managers the two of us will take a more managerial role. Nine times out of 10 we sign bands who haven't become famous yet and it's great to see them grow. Of course it was exciting for everyone in the office to see Oasis achieve a whole new level of success and accompanying Creation to the Brits is a crowning moment. Both Alan and Oasis have become so famous on their own terms that they are free to go up on stage and speak for themselves rather than give a showbiz spiel like the Spice Girls.

Actually people don't change that much with fame - everyone remains quite down-to-earth because the kind of bands we sign are in it for the music. But Alan has changed as a person. When I first started there was plenty of partying in the office, whereas now Alan is in the gym all the time and only drinks Perrier. At the end of the day if you are going to be a successful company you have to work hard at it. He's done it all his own way and if he sees that someone has a particular talent in the office he will nurture it. He is also very aware of the fact that I am a perfectionist and supports me if I get panicky because things aren't going right. He rarely says no to my suggestions because I don't ask for things which are too outrageous. I know that he sees my being a "people" person as one of my strengths. Next week he's sending me to chaperone a band to Japan. The fact that others find it easy to talk to me is important because Alan can't see everyone who wants to meet him.

Creation has been through it's ups and downs, including being in financial trouble, but we've pulled through. There's a lot more glamour now that Alan's joined the government's Cultural Task Force. I really feel I'm living through an important time both for British music and for London, there's such vibrancy around.

Alan is Creation and Creation is my England: I have met 95 per cent of my friends through my job. Alan has become a friend too - I will never leave him, he'll have to kick me out first.

I think my job has affected my outside life in a lot of positive ways, particularly in terms of building my confidence and giving me the feeling that everything is possible. I guess you could put it all down to beginner's luck, but I feel it was somehow written in my stars that I would stay here and, besides, as Alan says, you make your own luck. It will be fun to talk to my grandchildren about this time one day, but to me and my friends back home I am still old Kle from Toronto.

Interview by Katie Sampson