I used to make films pretending to be Alan Whicker.
I’ve been going through some ancient cine films, deciding which ones are worthy of transferring to digital format before they crumble away. To make it easier I’m using a small reel-to-reel editing thingy bought about 30 years ago and retrieved from an attic.
So it came to pass that today I began playing one reel and suddenly encountered my 11-year-old self, complete with fake moustache and sub-Yarwood impersonation, presenting an edition of Whicker’s World from our back garden. I then interviewed my real self, which was a wondrous feat of editing in those days but, like Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression, hampered by a frankly poor script.
Other reels, silent and noisy, contained:
- Parodies of contemporary adverts. I don’t remember any TV adverts for Refreshers, but there must have been one as I parodied it with my brother.
- A half-hearted attempt to commentate on a game of football played across the road in our mates’ driveway. The commentary temporarily gave way to some slow-motion and later fast-motion action.
- Some embarrassing singing and dancing to finish off a reel. In hindsight, this was probably a sign.
- Time-lapse photography of the tide going out and a candle burning down.
- Tedious squirrel, sparrow, robin and crow action.
- Water skiing on holiday, both alone and in a row of three. This includes the memorable moment as we headed for the beach in which I fell over and whoever was to my left apparently skied over my head. I may have to perform Zapruder-style analysis to determine the facts.
- Stop-motion animation by the bucketload (my brother’s forté, some of it very good given age, equipment, etc).
- Special effects extravaganzas of the stop-the-camera-do-something-and-restart variety. These include the genre classic “The Man from Mars” (starring Kelvin from over the road).
- Pointless filming of whatever was on the TV. There’s about 30 seconds of a random football match introduced by a flared Des Lynam, and another 30 seconds of what appears to be a Huckleberry Finn cartoon. The pointlessness is enhanced by the shoddy camerawork and lack of sound.
The plan is to entrust these historical artifacts to Special Delivery and have a Man transfer them to Mini DV, after which I can suck them into Adobe Premiere to edit and eventually create a DVD of the more interesting bits. One or two items may appear on YouTube, once the embarrassment has dulled to a low hum.