I work for: Goldie
Wednesday 03 December 1997
Part of being a personal assistant to someone is deciding how personal the relationship is between you and your boss. For me this wasn't difficult because Goldie was already a kind of brother-in-law to me long before I worked for him.
My husband's father Gus "adopted" Goldie in the early Seventies while making a film about him and other graffiti artists called Bummin'.
Goldie was a little kid whose talent for graffiti was so great that he was commissioned to graffiti a whole estate. After the film he went to live with Gus, who became his "Pops".
When I met Goldie he struck me as a phenomenon, a human hand grenade, a whirlwind of a person, extremely entertaining and talented, surrounded by friends, giving out more warmth and energy than you thought was possible. I would be sitting at Gus's flat and Goldie would bound in with the most incredible stories. He has always been involved in so many things - at the moment he is signed to one record company whilst running another; he's also a musician, a DJ and a club promoter.
Two years ago I was fired from my job at Virgin because I absolutely loathed the work I was doing. I was preparing to have a month off when Goldie's PA left him and I was asked to go and see Goldie. He was living in a one-bedroom flat on the 18th floor of a council estate and the flat was full of journalists, family, Trenton his manager, his dog Massive and a ringing phone. In the middle of all of this was Goldie trying to make tea for everyone. He turned to me and said: "Meredith, I'm in trouble, work for me".
I became totally involved from day one, working out of Goldie's flat because at that stage everything was being channelled through his personal number. It wasn't long before I was asked to run Goldie's Drum and Bass club Metalheadz, which was already hugely popular, but experiencing teething problems. Then his record label moved to my fiat. A few weeks after he employed me he performed his first live gig and I would get back at five in the morning, deal with what I could then and there and then go to bed and get up again at nine. Already my answering machine would be full of messages and I quickly learnt never to switch my mobile off.
After the initial panic things achieved an equilibrium as we developed a system. I became a combination of nanny, mum and little sister to Goldie. Looking after him is very much a family affair - if you are involved with him you have to be prepared to do anything, including being woken up at 4am to walk Massive because Goldie's stuck somewhere.
When you are new to it all, the best that you can do is be as helpful as you can. I can't be Goldie's protective guardian angel, because Goldie wants to know what's going on. He responds to anyone he's interested in, including young kids who send their music in for him to listen to, asking for his advice.
But it is my job to tell people that they should be dealing with his manager Trenton if the call isn't urgent or personal. Trenton is the only person who could deal with all Goldie's business and he's on call if ever I need help. If someone is being difficult, I pass them on to Trenton.
I have enormous energy myself and being around others who are so active fuels me if I am flagging. If someone calls me in the middle of the night with a problem I would rather deal with it there and then than wait until the morning. I see the pace of my work as a good training for motherhood, not that I have any intention of becoming a mother at the moment, but I do think that women can make good PAs because they have this natural aptitude for nurturing. My husband runs a record company and luckily he understands the nature of my work.
I work with Goldie on conferences, music festivals and tours, but I don't necessarily travel with him. I manage all the Metalheadz tours, travelling with the DJs, lighting people and technicians, but Goldie isn't always with us, he is often somewhere else DJ'ing or touring on his own , but we keep in contact by mobile.
There is a certain level in Goldie's life which doesn't reach me, for example social or celebrity occasions that have been inspired by Goldie's circle of friends. When he modelled for Tommy Hilfiger, for example, it was as a favour to a friend and arranged between the two of them. Goldie has been a personality on the scene for so long that his network of friends and contacts is huge.
Although Goldie is one of the most compassionate people I've met he also happens to have a notoriously fiery temper. But if people get out of hand or begin arguing Goldie is very good at standing back until he announces "right, time to get the iron out". He sits everyone down and in a calm way smoothes everything out again.
The best thing in the world is knowing that you have your boss's faith and support when the going gets tough. Although this is a business where there is a lot of elbow pushing, no one can get away with being a prima donna for very long. As I said, it's a family situation and you have to fit into that.
Although running a club represents 50 per cent of my work, I see it as my leisure time because I enjoy it enormously. But when I need to unwind completely, I just curl up and go to sleep. Mind you, I think the day will come when I will have to have my own PA.
- Katie Sampson
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