Alex was one of those contractor legends.
I have come across some unusual people in my time in IT. However, even beside the other ones, Alex was just about the craziest.
He was a Chinese guy from Hong Kong and he later told me that the reason that he was in the UK was at the suggestion of his mother.
I asked him if his mother would not like to see him back again.
He replied that she had said that she would move if he did.
Working On Contract in Kingston
He was already working on contract there when I got a contract in Kingston-Upon-Thames.
I sat close to him and I made a joke when I first spoke to him.
He laughed manically for a few seconds and then stopped dead and said with a serious face ‘I‘m going to have to keep my eyes on you’.
We ended up on the same team in one room together. There were only three of us. There was a girl who was an analyst, I was an analyst / programmer and Alex was a straight programmer.
To say he was sexist was an understatement and it completely nonplussed the girl (let‘s call her Jane, especially as I forget her name).
Any time she wrote any specs for him, or tested his programs, he took offence when she pointed out any mistakes that he made.
He once told her ‘You‘re not my mother, you‘re not my girlfriend. You can‘t tell me what to do’.
And this was just to make a simple change to his program at the walkthrough.
He asked me afterwards ‘Have you ever worked for a woman before?’
When I said that I had quite often, he seemed a mixture of bemused and sympathetic.
He appeared to think that there was something intrinsically wrong in this.
I got on pretty well with him though, as I like people who are a little wacky and off-beat.
Good Night Out in London
He once asked me if I knew any good places to go out at night in London, as he hadn‘t found any, so I suggested Covent Garden.
I told him about all the pubs and restaurants there and the street performers.
He said he would give it a try.
Covent Garden Visit
He came back on Monday and asked me if Covent Garden had been busy when I was there. I told him it had.
He said that everything was shut when he was there and there weren‘t many people about.
I asked hem when he went. ‘Saturday night’, he replied.
I wondered incredulously how this could be. Had there been a bomb alert? Did they clear the area?
No, the answer was much more simple.
He had been to New Covent Garden on the Saturday night, which is just a vegetable market.
He must have been most surprised and disappointed at how few Londoners were out enjoying themselves there on a Saturday night.
Party Night in Maida Vale
I remember inviting him to a party at my flat in Maida Vale in London. It was more of a get together than a party.
There were people there from various countries, so someone suggested that we went round the room and we should all sing songs about our own countries, which we all did in turn.
Turn to Sing
When it came to Alex‘s turn, he wasn‘t sure which song to sing. After several times of almost starting, we said we‘d come back to him.
After someone else had finished theirs, he suddenly announced in a loud voice ‘I‘ve got it now’.
He cleared his throat and the audience waited in anticipation to hear a song from his native Hong Kong.
He opened his tonsils and proceeded to sing ‘Home, Home on the Range’ at the top of his voice. I looked around the room at the other guests, who seemed more than a little taken aback.
I‘m sure that they wondered how the deer and the antelope could roam the plains of Hong Kong.
I don‘t think he got invites to too many parties.
Guy Fawkes Night
A little later in the year, we were all discussing at work that it would be a good idea if someone could have a Guy Fawkes night party. The big problem for us, as with many who live in London was that many of us lived in flats, whilst others had neighbours who might not be too keen.
Alex immediately piped up and volunteered.
It was on.
The fireworks party was going to be at his place. He invited everyone and we were all looking forward to it.
It was only on the day before the party when I started questioning him about the logistics that he revealed that he actually lived in a flat on the second floor which had no garden.
‘How will we be able to let off the fireworks?’ I asked.
‘Hmmm. That‘ll be a problem’, he said before one of his manic laughs.
Contractor Legends Stories
If you have any stories about contractor legends you have worked with, please email them to us.
We’ll be glad to publish them. We have further stories of Alex the Crazy Man, King of the contractor legends coming up.
For more great contractors stories click on Contractor Stories.
Ad – Contractor Services
If you do need an umbrella company you could try one of the following:-
Or would you prefer to get expert advice about which umbrella company is right for your specific needs? If so fill in the form below and they will be in touch.
For all necessary business insurance, including IR35, try Business Insurance for Contractors
Join our Contractor Dragons Investment Club to hear of money making opportunities before companies come to market.