I’ve had an idea; no, more than that, I’ve had a great idea. I had the (great, marvellous, tremendous) idea the other day when I was sitting on a train from Huddersfield to Barnsley. I was gazing at the back gardens we were passing, marvelling at the way some were neatly manicured, some were scattered with children’s toys and some featured wheelbarrows like they were part of an exhibition of wheelbarrow art.
The most common objects I saw time and time again in these gardens, though, were trampolines. Big ones and small ones, vast ones the size of swimming pools and trampettes so tiny they must have been used by hamsters for exercise as an alternative to going round and round in that blooming wheel all day.
And that’s when I had the idea. And, like all the ideas I have, I knew I had to write it down straight away. The thing was, I’d left my notebook in a café so I had nowhere to scribe my wonderful multi-million pound idea. So I scribbled it on my train ticket and because the ticket was a little bit laminated the pen only just worked and so when I got home I could hardly make out what I’d written. It looked like ancient runes or cracks on an Artexed wall but luckily I remembered what I’d written because I’ve found that the act of writing down an idea makes me recall it.
And here’s the idea: The Bouncer. Yes, The Bouncer. Years ago I read a story by the American writer John Cheever: it was called The Swimmer and it was about a bloke who decided to make his way across the small town he lived in just by swimming from back garden pool to back garden pool, from pond to pond. It was made into a film starring either Burt Lancaster or Kirk Douglas. I always get mixed up with those two, so let’s say it starred Burt Douglas. And, if you swapped the US for Yorkshire, if you swapped swimming pools and ponds for garden trampolines, if you swapped Kirk Lancaster for, well, me, you’ve got a hit film on your hands.
It would be a comedy, obviously. It would be about a man from Barnsley who decided he would make his way from one end of town to the other by way of trampolines. Perhaps it would be a dare; maybe his mates would tell him he’d never do it. Maybe they’d lay bets, and there would be the potential for financial reward as well as glory.
He would sneak into a garden late at night and begin, quietly and tentatively at first, to bounce. He would bounce and bounce and then suddenly he would be up in the air, tumbling like an acrobat, only to land on next door’s trampoline, then next door’s, and on and on down the street.
There would be plot twists, of course. He would almost get discovered. A trampoline would break as he bounced on it. He would get chased by a dog that was driven crazy by the sound of bouncing. At times he would come to areas with no trampolines and he’d have to take a risk and bounce off some washing stretched on a line and a child’s play tent in a garden.
The Bouncer: coming to a cinema near you soon. Very soon. Boing!