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I started on ‘Song & Dance' at the Palace Theatre Shaftsbury Avenue in 1982 as a production lighting electrician for Designer David Hersey. ( Complementary lighting Gobo)
The set was a large series of screens with various and changing projected Picture slides on them creating wonderful background views of New York and LA for the 'Song' part ( taken from a photographic artist's book which I couldn't then afford to buy and which I can't now remember the title of.)
And there were fast changing stills of the dancers for the Dance part of the Show.

An Apple II computer arrived which was going to control and harmonise the complex array of projectors and images along with a large instruction manual.
As rehearsals progressed David and the Director John Caird wanted to try out different images, cross fades, timings and also to see the projector equipment working but it just sat there on a trolley in the corner.
Nobody arrived or it seemed was available to set it all up.
Having worked for several years with sound consoles and lighting boards the Apple II seemed to me to be just another control system, an unusual and unfamiliar one, but hey? how hard could it be?

I picked up the manual and began reading.
I hauled up the projectors, loaded up the slide trays and
laboriously typed the code into the Apple II computer with my plunk plonk one finger typing which appropriately complemented the speed of my thinking.
Now at least
though we could put the images up for rehearsal and lighting.
Gradually I learnt how it all worked and could do more and more with the computer system.
It was fun watching the magic happen and to see the show as a whole come together.

I changed and retyped the code more and more as the show developed and changed.

Even my typing improved, but
come opening night I was still sat in the prompt corner typing in and altering the code for the final version of the show.
20 minutes after the curtain should have gone up I was still typing in the code accompanied by the shuffles and coughs of the restless audience.
I daren't look across the Stage to the Orchestra and the Cast but hunkered down to the task in hand.
The front of house manager popped through the auditorium door, ‘another five minutes'
Then I noticed the drumming fingers on the back of my chair had stopped and I heard Andrew's (Lloyed Webber) calm voice beside me say, 'an Apple?'

Obviously noticing I was using an Apple Computer. He then anecdoted that he'd been out walking one day when he had met a friend who had suggested Apple stock might be a good investment for him.
Andrew had
apparently though forgotten this suggestion and so unfortunately didn't make the investment he'd planned, only later to discover that an opportunity for a £100,000 windfall had passed through and slipped his mind.
Finished!
The code was in and it all ran without the dastardly 'syntax error.'
The show went up and came down to rapturous applause and I stood in the wings with
my long time friend Bob West as he quietly said, 'I think we've got a hit'
I was kept on 'Song & Dance' as an ASM as I understood the Apple II and Projection System.
It was a great show with lovely people and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Meeting lyricist Don Black was a highlight for me.
The rumor was that he had actually supplied some extra additional lyrics written on the mythical, 'back of a piece of a cigarette packet'. Isn't that a lovely thought.