Thursday, November 13, 2003
| posted by Simon |
10:15 pm |
#3 was false.
I was actually six when my dad took me into an illegal gambling den.
The film starred Richard Gere and Vanessa Redgrave. It was directed by John Schlesenger and was filmed in and around Stalybridge, which is where I went to school. One lunchtime we heard a rumour that they were auditioning for extras and they wanted kids for a scene on a golf course. Me and a couple of mates went down to the old school building in Stalybridge town centre and asked if we could audition. We were all herded into a room and some bloke had a look at us and said “sorry lads, you’re all too old”. On the scrap heap at thirteen, and after my magnificent Herod in the nativity not two years previous. Show business can be very cruel.
After winning the school sports day two-hundred metres final I was asked to run for the school at the Greater Manchester schools athletics championships. I absolutely pissed my heat, setting a new school record of twenty-five seconds dead, not bad for a fourteen-year-old. The final came around and I was up against some serious athletes, they had blocks and fancy running shoes. I had a pair of old spikes and I wasn’t wearing any socks. I actually surprised myself because I was up with the leaders until about forty metres to go, the three quickest then moved into top gear and left me behind. I came in fourth out of six and I have the photos to prove it.
One night my dad took me down to Hyde lads club, I think it was supposed to be a meeting of the local modeling club. The room was dominated by a huge eight lane industrial Scalextric set. There was a group of blokes in the middle, obviously the drivers, and masses of blokes around the outside of the track betting on the outcome of the races. It was very smokey and very noisy and absolutely fantastic.
When I was about fifteen I spent a week on a RAF base in the midlands, I think it was RAF Newton. As well as using the running track at RAF Cosford and shooting paper men at RAF Cirencester we got to fly a Chipmunk at RAF Newton. Spookily enough, the pilot who took me up that day was flight lieutenant (pronounced left-ten-ant) Simon Morris. We took off and did a bit of arsing about and then he let me take over the controls. I had my go and we did a bit of aerobatics then landed safely back on terra firma. Top week.
I come from the same town that the Moors murderers and Dr Shipman come from, so it’s no surprise that there were other murders in the area when I was growing up. One night while everyone slept, a couple were bludgeoned in their beds by person or persons unknown. In a bid to catch the killer the police interviewed every male between the ages of thirteen and sixty. So one Sunday evening me and my dad went to the incident room on the car park of our local pub (Hallbottom Gate Inn). There we were questioned by a weary detective who obviously though he had far better things to do than chat to us. Incidentally, they never did catch the killer.