Our Logistics Department received a new team member this year in Dave Ford. Logistics look after everything once the account management team books the speaker. When not working, Dave DJ's, buy's expensive African Jazz records and practices Buddhism.
So how is it going Dave; settling into logistics?
Yes, it’s good but it’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. There's always a lot to learn in a new job, but there is a mountain of information one has to absorb and understand in doing this job. Once the speaker is booked, we sort out the speaker and client contracts; arrange travel; liaise with both parties on any prep’ for the event; carry out briefing calls while ironing out issues that come in the form of severe weather conditions, strikes and threats.
Busy then. What's been the most challenging aspect of your new role?
It’s climbing that mountain while dealing with the volume of work. In a way, it’s a good thing as I’m learning a lot in the process but it can be a bit intense bringing these two together. I’m sure in 3 months I won’t be phased by the things I am now. Thankfully, I have the support of a great team with Helena, next to me, and Rebecca opposite. They’ve been brilliant!
Dave taking a much-needed tea break
You hail from Bristol, what brought you East to London?
Speakers Corner, when I was offered the job; London had been a place I’d wanted to move to as it’s such an exciting place. I’d worked in music promotion in Nottingham (while studying there) and enjoyed that so wanted to continue my career in this direction, or in something similar. London seems to be the epicentre for the majority of ‘entertainment’ jobs so it’s here I came.
And how are those visits going to London’s art galleries and museums? You said it was something you intended to do when you first moved to the capital.
Not as many as I would’ve liked. I haven’t been to any yet.
The National Gallery: Dave's not been yet
It’s a recognised London affliction Dave; you are not alone. So what do you do when not at Speakers Corner?
I regularly DJ so I’m always on the lookout for music. Most of my time is spent going to London’s many record stores.
What kind of music do you look for?
Anything really, but at the moment, I’m well into African Jazz and records by the likes of Pharoah Sanders, Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics and Mohammed Guinia – I’m just loving these guys. Their records though are stupidly expensive so I’m not buying much at the moment.
Mulatu Astatke: still touring in his 70s
If you could see anybody – living or someone who’s died – who would that be?
It would have to be Bowie; I was distraught over his departing. He’d be the one person I’d have loved to have seen him around the Ziggy Stardust time.
And finally, you’re responsible for arranging travel for the speakers we book, often sending them around the world to events; is there anywhere you would like to visit yourself?
I want to go to India. I’ve been a Buddhist for two years now and I want to go to Bodh Gaya [where Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment]. So I will get there at some point. I just need the money first to do that. It’s considered to be the home of Kadampa Buddhism, which is the doctrine I follow. It has the most beautiful building there called the Mahabodhi Temple and the descendant of the Bodhi Tree under which Buddha gained enlightenment.
The Bodhi Tree at the Sri Mahabodhi Temple
Well, Dave, that was truly fascinating; we’ve covered Bristol, London, African Jazz, India and Buddhism. Thanks for your time, we'll let you get back to logistics.