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This is a question Strange things you've been paid to do

I once spent two years being paid by the UK government to play Quake.

What's the strangest thing you've been paid to do?

(, Thu 30 Sep 2004, 10:13)
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The first one that comes to mind ... oh wait ... two ...
I'm a classical musician in Germany.

I once got a call to play in the backing band for one song with some one-minute-wonder pop starlet whose career peaked when she sang the theme song to professional ski-jumping on TV (the big time!) and whose name I have completely forgotten. I got given the dates for our TV taping and got the music as a fax (these people are too important to use the mail). STRICT INSTRUCTIONS: "You must have this memorized for the job, you will be on camera etc." I got to the studios and we got dressed by the producers in identical *beige* kit - including beige shoes and socks - and were then called for rehearsal. We tuned up, played the number a few times, made some adjustments ... waited three hours. Pigged out at the giant *FU* TV studio buffet put on for us. Rehearsed again. Waited. Went into studio - no microphones in sight ... ? ... turns out we were hired for Top of the Pops and we had to fake the whole thing for the cameras, but the producers wanted us to "look authentic." The money was bloody good though and I'm sure I ate and drank my fee a second time by the end. Funny note: the German word for lip-synching and air-guitar playing is "Playback" - they don't even have their own for it ...

Another time a mildly-famous-German-person gave me and some mates a gig playing chamber music at the house of a very-famous-former-German-prime-minister (the house even has a mini police station built into it!) ... our employer for the evening wanted to show up with a little something to contribute to the festivities ... or something. We showed up and played maybe 10-15 minutes tops and then got shuffled off into the next room while the big-wigs went on chatting. The next room turned out to be the bar and came equipped with a bartender and multiple enormous gift-for-state-visit boxes of cigars ... barman gave us a nod and a wink and we left an hour later drunk as the proverbial and with our instrument cases bulging with finest tobacco products ... this is what we call "work."
(, Sat 2 Oct 2004, 9:48, Reply)

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