As a change from always having other writers as my guests, today the Bingergread Cottage is going to welcome The Pun King himself, Gordon Johnson.
Hi Gordon, grab a chair and give me your drinks order (Cameron will rush up anything you like, being our resident barman or barmaid if he is in a dressing up mood).
Gordon grabs chair and orders a large scotch on the rocks from the inimitable Cameron in his pink suit
Now – I know that like me you have had a lot of different hats to wear in your life. Tell us about some of them.
My working life started the day after I left school. Travelling up to London to work at MCA/Universal Pictures as a motorcycle courier delivering and collecting urgent messages, using a Royal Enfield 350. Various deliveries to film stars could include anything from film scripts to pay cheques. Deliveries to music stars could be anything from demo discs to recording studio agendas. I remember one particular time being called into the office and handed a music score that was needed in Dublin that same evening. I was wondering how I was going to ride there in time when, the boss handed me air tickets with the order to ride to Heathrow immediately.
Wow! That sounds glamourous – give ma a list…what else? And outside of work, you have other passions, come on, spill the beans about them (remember this is not an adults-only site!)
Moving forward a few years, found me married with a young son and in a proper job, a draftsman at a fuel gauge manufacturing company in Basingstoke in Hampshire.
My love of music was always prominent in my life from a child playing organ in the church, where my father was the minister. Even through the mundane draftsman years I was playing piano where and whenever I could in venues around Basingstoke. The breakthrough in my music career came when a music shop opened in the new shopping centre and needed someone who could play piano to run the organ and piano department.
This was the start of 39 years of managing various music stores around Berkshire, Hampshire, and Surrey. During this time I had sold everything from a Penny Whistle to a Concert Grand Piano and travelled the world on dealer trips.
I sold American, Japanese and Italian organs, synths and pianos. One trip that was outstanding was to Osaka to the Technic/Panasonic factory. This was a V.I.P. trip all the way from a hotel near Heathrow, collected by limousine and including 1st class air travel and again luxury travel around
Japan. We toured Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka sight seeing and eating at the finest restaurants.
During these years I was (and still am) playing with various bands around Berkshire, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey and London. Mainly hotel, club and bar work and for many years backing cabaret.
10 years ago saw a change in career. For various reasons I decided that I would jump ship and do something that I wanted to do as a child . . be a Bus Driver! I contacted the local bus company in Reading, had a driving assessment and was accepted for the Bus Driving Academy.
I could still play with the band at the weekends while enjoying a different career during the week.
As for other passions out of work (bus driving and playing piano) I am intrigued by the very thing that changed my career . . “The Internet”. . . but, will not buy anything online in principle.
Social networking is my passion. I have met some lovely people on Twitter and Facebook and use the two applications in very different ways.
Twitter, for general chat, a little banter, and keeping up with the latest news and gossip.
Facebook, for more in depth conversations, keeping in touch with family, saving and sharing photos and albums, and trying to cheer all my friends up with jokes and puns. The latter has become my greatest love. Not everybody has the same sense of humour. I find it fascinating how different friends “like” different types of jokes and other friends will groan at other types. Interestingly, other friends who never have an opinion either way will very often comment (or complement) when I see them face to face, which is very nice (usually).
My other social enjoyment is a trip to the “Nags Head”. These are usually lunchtime soirees after early shifts, when around half a dozen of us meet up to put the world right and generally make fun of everyone, in the nicest possible way.
Now let’s play the superlative game – best/worst/funniest/most embarrassing/nicest… give me a list of things from your life using superlatives.
Best . . too many to mention, but meeting Ailsa and Cameron have to be among them.
Worst . . my first divorce.
Funniest . . apart from my second divorce, being with my best friend Ade Holland who just cracks me up.
Most Embarrassing . . calling the Lodge Worshipful Master “Worshipful Mother” at a very important installation meeting (thank you Ade)
Nicest . . times are meeting up with old friends and that “catching up” time.
I understand that you also worked down a mine in Germany. I tell you what, Gordon, if you ever decide to write your autobiography, I’ll happily help you as your ghost writer, I’m sure it would be a best-seller. How about “Hold Very Tight Please” as a title – linking your bus-driving job to the rollercoaster ride that has been your life so far?
Thanks so much for coming to see us at the Bingergread Cottage, Gordon and sharing things with us. I hope Lily hasn’t left too much dog hair on your trousers and you can stop feeding Titch that cake, I can see you, you know. Perhaps you can come back and tell us about the mine in Germany another time