It was 1996 and I had heard it on the grapevine that a certain Mr Milligan would be
in town signing his new book Black Beauty according to Spike Milligan.
Now if there was one person that headed my, "I would love to meet them" list, it was
Spike. The wife was a fan as well but I was in town, I had the money to buy the book, so what the hell I'd tell her after.
I arrived early, having sneaked off from work, to find myself at the wrong end of a
long winding queue of people. All intent apparently in spoiling my long awaited meeting. What could I do? I started queuing.
Now I would like to point out that Waterstones in Manchester is quite a large shop,
with plenty of shelving space. The queue meandered in and out of the shelving, round corners and back on itself several times.
I stood and I waited, the wife wouldn't mind, would she?
Then out came his Manager, "No flash photography please!" Then some garbled reason,
which I couldn't quite catch at the time, I believe it was to do with Spikes health, understandable then.
Out came Spike, he greeted people generally with a smile and a wave then got down to
He spoke politely to people, smiled and signed a dedication. Please remember that even
in 1996 Spike wasnt in the best of health and that the queue I was in would have put some at Alton Towers to shame, things
went at a slow pace.
I stood, I moved forward slowly every so often, the wife wouldn,t mind, would she?
In 1996 I didn't have a mobile phone, my kids were young, the wife worried a lot. I
had been in the queue for hours, the wife wouldnt mind, would she?
Yeah right! I was for the high jump and I knew it! But I had to stay. This was Spike
Milligan after all!!
Anyway many hours passed and faces too and there he was just a couple of people away.
It wouldnt be long now.
Then I was there, front of the queue, my turn. Spike looked up at me and smiled then
said, "You look like a rugby man to me? Do you play?", "No" I replied "I'm more of a football man, well more watching it
than playing", "Football!" Said Spike, "That's a game for cissies," "one kick in the ankles and the bloody ambulance
comes on to get them."
He continued, "Who's name would you like on this?" I replied, "To Clare please", then "its
a name I've had to live with." Spike looked up at me again, "Really?" he asked. "No I said", "it's for the wife."" Oh"
said Spike, which said it all really.
So there it was, Id met and spoken to my hero. He'd signed the book for my wife. I'd
got myself out of the doggy doo for being so late 'cos I did it for the wife! Now I knew she wouldnt mind. And she didn't,
once she had stopped swearing at me!
One of my girls met Tony Blair the other day when he visited her school in Manchester
absolutley no comparison!
Thanks for reading my brief encounter I had with Spike Milligan, I'll never forget
it. He's missed but will never be forgotten.