The on-line world generally is a scary place. For me, one of many web’s most dismaying corners is a members-only discussion board on Fb known as Bandwiches. It’s a portmanteau phrase, the crashing collectively of “band” and “sandwiches”, coined by the saxophonist Stan Harrison after a very dismal expertise. It celebrates or, to be extra actual, bemoans the grim high quality of a lot of the meals supplied to musicians on gigs in UK hospitality settings. Listed below are quite a few photographs of horrible, chilly mini sausage rolls the color of yesterday’s porridge. There’s a meagre plate of biscuits alongside some orange juice with a handwritten word saying: “Old-fashioned. Assist your self at your individual peril.” There are polystyrene containers stuffed with a tiny variety of indeterminate deep-fried issues. And, in fact, heaps and plenty of horrible, floppy sandwiches made with the pappiest of pappy white bread. It’s all so rattling beige. And the parts! So small!
This may very well be dismissed because the nichest of area of interest issues. Then once more, the Bandwiches Fb group has 4,300 members. That’s a major slab of the UK’s gigging musicians. And even when it’s a facet situation, it’s my facet situation. I’m each a jazz musician and a journalist who writes about meals. If I don’t complain about this, who the hell will? Folks within the hospitality business do their jobs round meal instances. For a few years the meals supplied each to waiters and kitchen employees was a serious situation. Too many eating places merely didn’t appear to care. Fortunately, that’s typically no longer the case (though there are nonetheless exceptions). Musicians, those who work in bars and eating places, inns and occasions resembling weddings, are too usually the forgotten hospitality staff.
There are good tales. Let’s hear it for the Pig Lodge and the magnificent unfold they laid on not too long ago for the Jools Holland Massive Band. I do know from expertise that devoted London music venues resembling Brasserie Zedel, Boisdale and Ronnie Scott’s take care of their performers. However there are such a lot of different really awful tales. The worst offenders are sometimes on the very prime finish. A pianist pal not too long ago performed a four-hour solo piano marriage ceremony gig at probably the most garlanded and costly resort eating places within the nation. (I want I may identify and disgrace, however legal professionals get twitchy.) His lunch: a single, clingfilm-wrapped sandwich.
One other musician posted a picture of an empty desk at a major London restaurant world occasion. They’d supplied him exactly nothing. Then there are the horror tales from weddings, particularly when you have the audacity to be, say, a non-meat eater. At finest it may be a case of: you’ll be able to have a go on the buffet however solely as soon as everybody else has completed at 11pm. As one musician put it: “We value lower than the flowers, however we’re the factor your visitors will bear in mind. Present us somewhat respect.”
We’ve all heard of the gig financial system, with the implied problems with persistent job insecurity. Musicians know all in regards to the gig financial system, as a result of that’s what being a musician is. It signifies that complaining about shoddy therapy is hard as a result of they want the work. Therefore, I’m complaining for them. Please god, let’s abandon bandwiches. Away with the beige. Provide a sizzling meal. In brief, in case you are reserving musicians for an occasion don’t neglect to feed the piper. And the guitarist. And the pianist and the remainder. They’re there to convey your visitors important pleasure; don’t make their lives a distress. In any case, it’s known as the hospitality enterprise. Which means being hospitable to everybody.