In these hard times freelance people like me are looking for new ways to make a bit of cash; having discarded the idea of being a George Clooney Barnsley Lookalike (in certain lights only), a naked Yorkshire butler (in certain lights only) and a ballet dancer (in certain tights only) I’ve hit upon the idea of a Young Ian McMillan minibus tour, visiting significant places from my childhood.
It came to mind when I recalled a similar trip I’d taken in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s with my mates Bob and Dave.
We signed up for something called “The Kolossal Krawl To The Homes of the Stars!” It was the Ks that sealed it for us; it turned out to be a Kramped little bus with no air-conditioning Kreeping around the suburbs of Hollywood as a bored lad droned through a Krackly tannoy, telling us that we were passing the home of Robert Redford, or Liza Minnelli, or the place where Errol Flynn had lived for a month. We didn’t see any of them mowing the lawn or gambolling in a pool, although we’d been told that we might. We saw a lot of shuttered windows, some barking dogs and an upturned golf trolley. It was, frankly, more of a B-movie than an epic. And it cost us $20 each!
But now many years later on the back of that overheated experience I’ve devised The Jolly Journey Through Ian McMillan’s Early Life. I reckon I could charge £25.00. More for people from Surrey, obviously.
The Jolly Journey would begin at North Street, where I was born in 1956, the Year of the Whippet. A trained actor resting between walk-on parts on Emmerdale would play the part of the midwife who, according to my mother (who was there at the time) ran through the snow to deliver me. Then the Jolly Journey would rumble over to Great Houghton where the same actor would recreate the great Falling Off the Wall Incident when the young Ian fell off his Grandma (not his real Grandma) Fullilove’s wall, banged his head and had to start school three days late. The actor would play the part of Grandma as well as me and would shout her famous shout “Our Ian’s got a reyt lump on!” The customers would then clamber back on the minibus and go to Low Valley County Primary School where Ian’s first day in September 1961 was three days after everybody else.
The actor would then recreate Mrs Hinchliffe’s remark to the young Ian which set him on the educational road that he’s still striding confidently along all this time later. The participants on the Jolly Journey would crowd into a mock-up of Class One. A child actor playing Young Ian would walk into the class with a plaster on his head, point at a picture of a ship on the wall and say: “That ship’s got three funnels because it’s the Queen Elizabeth!’ and the actor playing Mrs Hinchliffe would say: “Here’s a sticker, young man. Now go and sit near the sand tray.”
We’d then get back in the bus and go to Darfield Park where the child actor would recreate that terrible day when young Ian got his head stuck in the guard rail at the top of the slide.
Now I’d pay £25 to see that, and I was there!