wordsout by Godfrey Rust                                                Occasional pieces for colleagues  HOME  

Wingco, RIP

for Tom Bradley, on his departure from MCPS to EMI Music, July 1995

Well there’s silence in the mess today, the squadron’s sunk in gloom
and along the fifth floor curtains have been drawn in every room,
and the smiles die on their lips with every joke they try to crack,
for WingCo took his chopper* out and never brought it back.

No more the skies of Europe will be darkened by the drone
of WingCo dropping EMROs over Paris or Cologne.
Messrs Tournier and Kreile have a lightening of their load
since WingCo went and bought it over Charing Cross Road. 

In Lorenzo’s now the crew can only sit and mourn his fate
as they push their parma ham and Carbonaras round the plate
and wonder how it is that members should have done their worst
to the man you could be sure would always put his member first.

And the squadrons feeling squiffy when there’s battle to be done
and there’s Crispins nine o’clock high coming at you from the sun
for the Callenders change daily and their fire goes anywhere
but no firm hand’s on the trigger now that WingCo won’t be there.

Perhaps it was the risk of starting ServiceCo again,
or perhaps it was the pressure of beginning work at ten,
or perhaps it was those talks about PCs with Barry Hitchin
but he couldn’t take the heat and so he got out of the kitchen.

But though he’s gone, the lesson that he taught will surely stick,
that only one thing counts, to which we all say “That’s a tick”:
Resources? Training? Expertise? No, WingCo’s legacy
is that everything was just a matter of priority. 

So his friends all shake their heads and say they’ll surely miss him badly,
and his managers admit they’d have him any day, and gladly,
and downstairs they wait for walkabouts that never came, as sadly
on each floor of Elgar House the cries goes up: Who was Tom Bradley?

Read at a restaurant somewhere in London at Tom's farewell lunch, July 27th 1995. 

*One of Tom's hobbies was flying helicopters.