After complaints about his 'comforting bass line', the bastard makes sure the boss gets the message...very loud and clear

Year 1998 - Episode 44

The boss comes in with a pasty look on his face which can only mean one thing - he's got to do something he doesn't want to.

"Er, I've had a complaint about you," he mumbles unhappily.

"Really?" I respond politely, while reaching under the table for the 2-wood golf club which I keep for special occasions.

"Yes, yes, but I'm not sure it's valid," he blurts, trying to hide himself deep in the rough.

"Really?" I ask, foregoing the 2-wood for a 6-iron, considering the lie of the conversation.

"Errm, no. You see, he's complained about your music."

"What music?" the PFY asks. "That music," he replies, indicating the surrounding air.

"That music?" I ask, waving a hand around in a similar manner while reconsidering my options.

"Yes, he's complaining that it's too loud."

"Too loud?" the PFY counters disgustedly. "But we can hardly hear it."

"I use it for relaxation," I murmur. "It keeps me calm in the face of adversity."

Now that the implied threat is on the table, there's nothing left for the boss to do but back down. Or risk life and limb in the pursuit of an unattainable goal.

"I know that you can hardly hear it, but the same doesn't go for the people downstairs. Anyway, I can't believe that it's relaxing."

So it's life and limb on the line then.

"Offspring is a very relaxing band," I say. "Yeah, it's the comforting bass line," the PFY chirps. "Besides," I add, "it's at a low level."

"NOT IN THE BLOODY COMPUTER ROOM IT ISN'T!" the boss shouts, losing patience.

"Well, no, but if we turned it down we wouldn't be able to hear it through the soundproof wall." "The people on the floor below bloody well can, though! Why don't you put your stereo in here?"

"We tried that, but it kept popping the circuit breaker when we turned the volume past 3."


"It IS a normal stereo," I gasp.


"Yes, Notting Hill Carnival normal."

"Well it's not good enough.

I want it TURNED DOWN!"

This just won't do. The PFY and I are relying on the 'comforting bass line' to work its magic on a rack of disks that should have been retired, but for the stupidity of management who want both zero downtime and reliable service.

So it's back to the drawing board again. I slap a set of airport-issue ear protectors on, having learnt from the PFY's mistakes (the poor bastard set off the water leak detector circuits when he wet his pants after pressing the 'play' button with the volume set at 6).

Entering the computer room, I notice the error of his ways - he'd left the volume at 6 when he stepped in his own by-products AND he hadn't switched the bass expand circuits on.

I note that the amp's power supply is 'running a little hot', as we in the trade say. Not good. I break off the volume knob (now pointing at the infamous '11' setting, then slip back into the control room, just in time to see a wild-eyed boss burst through the door.


"I tried to turn it down," I blurt, "but the knob broke off!"

"Why didn't you turn it off then?!"

"Because the amp was so warm I thought it might trigger the heat sensors and release the halon."

So, of course, he is screwed. He KNOWS this is a 'tragic workplace accident' with his name scribbled all over it, and he's not going to bite.

"Well can't you switch the power off from the breakers outside?" he asks.

What a wimp. "We can try!" I cry, rushing to the breaker cupboard. "All the ceiling outlets in the front are on red phase, so it's got to be one of these."

30 seconds later..."Red?

I thought they were blue," the PFY chips in.

A further 30 seconds later..."So, it's yellow then," the boss cries, in the face of a cacophony of outage alarms.

"Worth a crack!" I cry, flipping a switch.

"No, that's the old disk rack," the PFY cries from the observation window.

CLACK! "Disk rack again!"

"My mistake!" I blurt, innocently, then flip the next switch.

"Right, let's see what the damage is," the boss cries, pushing past me to the computer room.

"I wouldn't..." I cry, but too late.

"You see the problem with kit like that," I explain to the PFY at the window, "is that turning off the power also shuts off the cooling fan, whereas switching it off at its power switch will leave the fan on until the unit has finished cooling."

"So the kit gets hotter?"

"Let's see what the judges have to say," I respond, nodding at one of the heat sensors.

A couple of short, and fairly muffled 'whoop-whoops' later...

"Is the halon hold-off button still broken?" the PFY asks.

"Well, the judges' decision on that one, by the looks of things. Still time for a quick wave though," I cry.

Of course, we let him out... eventually. After all, he's only new.