My old boss and I once shared a long motorway drive from Hemel Hempstead to Derby listening to this songs parent album.
I’d just started working for Bob a few days earlier. I was in my mid twenties Bob was soon to be sixty. We were going up to visit the companies biggest customer so Bob could introduce me as their new account manager and as the answer to all of the problems they’d been having. I was nervous-ish. I’d been temping for a while now and needed a solid gig.
Bob was trying to get to know me and impress upon me his best experience in business. He told me he had a no bullshit approach and that had earned him the nickname Bob The Bastard. I didn’t believe a word of it. He came across as a lovely chap.
The usual questions flowed, What was my football team? OK if I didn’t like football what about rugby? Motorsports? This was getting tough, what were we going to talk about?
I told Bob I was into live music and he asked who the last band I’d been to see were. I told him it was TSOOL. He then waxed on about the time he saw Jethro Tull in the 70’s and how he now fully understood ‘Too old to rock and roll too young to die‘.
He then went on a twenty minute diversion into Sci Fi and Movies. Now we had some common ground.
The traffic was merciless. We were static for another hour.
I told him I thought he’d like TSOOL if he gave them a listen and put the CD in his stereo. He loved it right away, he loved every track. He thought they sounded like a load of bands from the Sixties and Seventies with proggy names I’d never heard of. By the end of the drive up there we’d played Mind The Gap half a dozen times.
Turns out Bob kept his ears open his whole life. He was into Tori Amos, Robyn Hitchcock, Cat Power and Mercury Rev. Quite the groovy boss really.
The meeting went well. The job went great. It was the start of my career as a fixer in manufacturing and the first time strangers took me seriously.
Poor Bob didn’t last long after that meeting. A shocking turn of events and an aneurism killed him less than six weeks later. He had a pile of my CD’s in his house when he died and I had a pile of his.
I didn’t know his family or attend his funeral. But I still thank him for taking me seriously and giving me a chance. And when I hear Mind The Gap, I think of him and us singing along on one of our first days of work together.
“Mind the gap, mind your head, mind the things that you have said, Mind the future, mind the past If you think we go to fast”