The Hector Crawford centenary article, recently published by the NFSA, brought back many memories. Not just to me, of course, but of a huge proportion of those who sustained the Australian film industry as freelance technicians (and in actual employment, on occasion) and went through the Crawfords portals in their careers’ formative years.
Garry Hardman’s marvellous Crawford Productions tribute website for all of us Crawfords tragics, presents as much as anyone has ever – and will ever! – amass in one place on the topic; and the rest of us can do no more than relate anecdotes from our time there. I should like, personally, to see many more people write themselves up under ‘My time at Crawfords’ – I honestly doubt there’s a single person whose memories wouldn’t be interesting, at the very least to the others they knew when there.
My own memories of the great HC are restricted to those few times I was summoned by Ian Crawford to talk with the two of them about… I don’t actually remember! This is due to my brain’s having decided that there’s so much goddamn junk inside it that it’s just going to chuck out anything it feels like, and be damned to me. It doesn’t sit down calmly and write lists of what’s important and what can best be discarded; it doesn’t enter into any discussion with me, its landlord, about what I would like to retain and what eject: it makes unilateral decisions as to rissoling whatever it feels like and then does it. No negotiations entered into.
So I’m obliged to admit that this is one such instance, and I don’t recall what we used to discuss, but logic tells me that it would’ve been along operational lines of some kind. There the three of us would sit, the two blokes looking so like each other as to make me want to smile, upstairs in the Abbotsford building in those end offices, talking away … Oh, if only this infuriating brain wouldn’t lose stuff! I’ve written a book – And Then Like My Dreams – that includes my time at Crawfords, but not in infinite detail. None of your actual anecdotes: just a kind of relating of my behaviour, really – and I don’t mean on crew, like this: