The Fat Controller calypso
for Graham Churchill, May 1997, celebrating 20 years as an Executive of MCPS (and lately PRS)
the story is a legend
so I’m going to write it down
of that day now twenty years ago
when a man rode into town
with a Brylcreem quiff and an Elvis voice
and black shoes and white sox—
he was nothing but a Hound Dog
on the trail of Harry Fox.
was slim and mean and
and looking for a fight
and he knew enough to make life hard
for Mechanical Copyright.
So one day there came the showdown
with the boss Montgomery
who said “I don't know how to deal with you
so you’d better come and work for me”.
Mr Churchill (the Fat Controller)
it was only the proof of the old motif
to stop piracy and payola
then set a thief to catch a thief.
he moved into an office
and he sat there all alone,
he put his feet up on the desk
and he picked up the telephone
and twenty years now further on
and we’re here all waiting yet
for him to finish the call, put his feet on the floor,
and come out to have a cigarette.
mess with the Fat
you’ll take a lot of heat,
you need deep deep pockets and a real good brief
when you go off down that street.
Yes I know he’s got a lot of balls,
cos when he sends someone a writ
there’s a pretty good chance it’ll come right back
with Bollocks written over it.
when you’re playing on
he’ll keep you up to speed,
you can never be sure which tactical
response you’re going to need.
When he says he’s playing Devil’s advocate
then you’ll be right to lose some sleep,
but if he spreads his arms and says “Trust me!”
then you know you’re in trouble deep.
Mr Churchill (the Fat Controller)
he’s got a nose for a commercial wheeze
so when something smells like gorgonzola
you gotta call in the big cheese.
But Graham he’s a mild mannered man,
as gentle as a child
and I have to say there’s only once or twice
I’ve seen him just a little riled.
When’s the going’s tough in the
he can always keep his cool
even under the torrid questioning
of Sarah Rodgers and Tony Pool.
was a time he met with
and he was tempted something sore
but the art of keeping self-control’s
a case of Murphy’s law.
Yet the greatest test of character,
and of this there is no doubt,
was the fateful day on the cricket pitch
when Colin Fraser gave him OUT
Mr Churchill (the demon bowler)
stood his ground and did not budge:
he knows it would be safer just to roll a
dice than let a lawyer be a judge.
C he got a way with words
I can surely testify
and if something’s not nefarious
then it’s anathema that’s why.
He knows the power of language
when he’s got a point to win—
it doesn’t matter too much just what it means
but if it sounds right then put it in.
he knows to turn the magic
in everything he do,
he use the outrage of Crispin Evans
and the charm of mon ami Jean-Loup.
He deals with Constant irritation
with an appropriate amount of bull
(though he stays away from Roger Brighten
whenever the moon is full).
some people got a special gift
that when a clanger they first drop,
they dig themselves into a hole,
and they just can’t seem to stop,
and when it comes to excavation,
I gotta say Big G’s the Prince:
just mark the spot, hand him the spade,
and mention "Russell Flints".
Mr Churchill (the Fat Controller)
these days is a little more smart,
so if you don't want to dig a hole a
rule is never talk to him about art.
if you want a smart
education is the way,
you gotta get O level English
(or at least an MBA),
but the Fat Controller’s alma mater
save an awful lot of study and strife
because he got his education in
the University of Life.
some people they are
most everywhere they pass
and the Fat Controller he takes good care
to mix with every rank and class.
He could turn up to a reception
for Mother Theresa or Saddam Hussein
and they would say O Mr Churchill,
how nice to see you again...
been celebrated (the Fat Controller),
his health is drunk and appetites gorged,
his career is feted from Hong Kong to
where’er an AP Licence is forged.
MIDEM is his bailiwick,
he’s the King of the Palais!
He knows every dodgy midprice company
and gives them all AP2A.
They all ask him for favours,
some he won’t and some he will,
and then he’ll dine with the men from Telstar
but doesn't spoof for the bill.
a legend in his lunchtime
(power breakfasts he doesn’t do)—
“Hey Controller, how are you?”
And then for four hours every evening,
he takes his exercise regimen—
he’ll leave the Palais sharp at six o’clock
and he’s reached the
always talking (the Fat Controller)
so if you need to get to bed
don't go walking with the Croisette stroller
but stay with Frans de Wit instead.
the Controller he a
and he can pick a rising star,
it's a gift he’s had from his bygone days
as a music publishah.
But I have to say his recent signings
are rather lacking in finesse—
Brandon Hannan in a suit can’t quite compare
with Joni Mitchell in a yellow dress.
he’s battled with Warner and Polygram
and BMG and BEL,
(he’s not a Euro-sceptic but
he knows about EC-Hell)
and after ten long years of fighting
at last we drink this poisoned cup
for Crispin drew his Direct Distribution, and said
“Reach for SGAE, the GEMA’s up”.
Mr Churchill didn’t go to
to see the Germans surrender then—
it’s somehow fitting that that the final deal
should be made in a gambling den.
you gotta be computer
and some people they find it tough,
but the Controller him a demon for technology
& he just can’t get enough.
The day they brought his PC in
he was grinning like a Cheshire Cat,
he reached across to the monitor
and switched it on—just like that!
mastered the complex
that are on his screen’s menu
and he’s working through his emails now,
and he’s reached 1992.
And some say its because of his Draconian style
and some say it’s only hype
that they call him the Great Dictator,
but it’s only cos he doesn’t type.
Mr Churchill (the Great Dictator)
he says he’s yesterday’s man all right.
But with his skills as a negotiator
It looks like yesterday’s future is bright.
of this you can be sure,
you need a role that’s indispensable
if you want to be secure.
So his latest job description
is a stroke of genius—
for the members of the PRS.
say the change won’t
but Graham he just smile,
for the role is simply perfect
for the Fat Controller’s style.
If he hears you making music now
he just walk up to you and say
"I’m not sure what right you’re using
but here’s a invoice anyway".
Mr Churchill, the new
will surely bring him even wider fame:
he can now enforce the maximum compliance
for anything you care to name.
now we’re all into
and Graham has a strategy
to ensure the growth of business
through increasing productivity.
So now you never make a single deal
where ten will surely do—
he’s going for a century of AP schemes
and he’s already up to 82.
Execs they come and Execs
the 5th floor its seen a crowd,
some may make a Bob or two,
and some they’re just too Lowde,
some will Rowe too hard or Rust away,
or have Les-ter do to fall
but the Fat Controller plays a waiting game—
he’s got De Wit to outlast them all
after twenty years you’d
that everything would now be plain to see
but his name it means “the Mysterious one”,
and a mystery remains to me—
but when the scheme of life is over
and we face the great audit in the sky
we will learn at last the name of Graham’s first group,
and who recorded them—and why!
Mr Churchill (the Fat
when we look back on these 20 years
you’ve made a loss to rock and roll a
gain for music without frontiers.
Performed in the boardroom at MCPS in Streatham on May 1st, 1997.