Letter:We roadies are a sober, sensible lot

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The Independent Online
From Mr G. H. Williams Sir: I have been involved within the touring industry since 1983 and have seen a continuing increase in technical skills and the standards of personal behaviour. A touring artist or band, sometimes using highly complicated electronic and computer equipment to present a show, does not seek to employ those who are either unprofessional or irresponsible. A high level of commitment is demanded at all times, and any problem arising has to be solved quickly, efficiently and safely. Times have changed, even in the entertainment industry. Far be it from me to deny the excitement and the aura of the rock'n'roll business, but very little is left to improvisation. An employee guilty of wilfully damaging a hotel room nowadays would not be considered a hero, but would receive his marching orders and a bill for the damage in the post.

Surprising as it may seem, very little scope is left for "bird chasing" when all your days off are spent on a bus travelling for miles on end, without even considering the subsequent reactions of our wives and children to this behaviour; and if we sleep until midday it is probably because we did not finish work until 5am that same morning.

Accidents are a tragic fact, as in any other industrial venture, and obviously the risk of such incidents increase for those of us who work high above the ground or with high voltage electricity. However, safety is always uppermost in our minds; not justour own safety, but that of everyone around us.

Marianne Macdonald might be amazed to learn that most touring productions are not organised or staffed by semi-literate morons. The fact is that accountants, engineering graduates, highly dedicated managers and technicians work side-by-side to achieve a common goal: that of providing entertainment to people throughout the world.

Sincerely, GARETH H. WILLIAMS Fleet, Hampshire 6 January