In which Tony is visited by band manager and 'executive producer' George Lyttleton.
I awoke to the sound of the doorbell with a deep sense of dread. This was normal. Today it was doubly normal as I knew who was outside ringing it.
Band managers aren’t normally able to show their face in the same place twice due to the likelihood of them having done something embarrassing there in the past. But Lyttleton had no shame. He’d show up anywhere. He sauntered in and sat by the window. There wasn’t a chair there but he managed to perch on the sill, and in his slightly-too-small lime suit he looked like an over-stuffed parrot.
A relic from a bygone era – the 1970’s – Lyttleton was a man who had built a music industry career around doing nothing remotely musical. Short, stocky and wildly over-confident, he was never going to allow the fact that he had no interest in music stop him from being a success in the music industry.
It wasn’t that he actively disliked music. He just didn’t understand it. Consequently, he had no appreciation of musical skill or performing ability and actually considered himself the talent. “Anybody can be in a band,” he once told me. “The real skill is management.” Lyttleton’s actual skill was in projecting the idea that his time was invaluable. Anyone granted an audience should feel humbled.
He had epic delusions of grandeur. Despite the fact he was strictly a small-time operator, he insisted on giving his company overblown, grandiose names and having ‘associate executives’ who were other no-talent suits he had picked up on his way. There were few surprises for me when he outlined his plans.
“I’m about to announce the formation of a new arm of the business,” he began. “An executive production company called ‘Overhead Communications.’”
“Why Overhead?” I asked.
“It’s an umbrella group,” he replied. That’s what I get for asking. “A holding company for the other divisions.”
“How many divisions do you have there?” I asked, and regretted this question too as he rattled off a list of probably fictitious company names making frequent use of the words ‘incorporated’, ‘conglommerates’ and ‘united.’
It turns out an executive production company is one that doesn't produce anything, which is quite a feat for a production company. I couldn't wait to see what he had lined up for me.