Sunday, 22 January 2017

THE DAILY PLANET - PRINTED AND PUBLISHED IN MILTON KEYNES...



Following on from the previous post, let me expand a
little on the subject of 'Bob Billens' and my brief mention
of SUPERMAN IV.  One evening, sometime in 1986 or early
'87, I got a 'phone call from Bob, saying that he'd snapped some
photos of CHRISTOPHER REEVE dressed as Superman on
location in MILTON KEYNES, where the 4th (and worst)
film of the series was being shot, and where Bob and his
wife were then (and may yet be) living.

"How much are they worth to you?" he suddenly
enquired, which took me somewhat by surprise as, had
the situation been reversed, I'd have had extra prints made
and sent them to him at my own expense.  I hesitated while I
tried to come up with a diplomatic response. "I'd be interested
in seeing them because you took them," I said, "but they're
not really worth anything to me over and above the cost of
printing."  A moment of silence followed as he pondered
this clearly unexpected development.  (No photo-
graphic pun intended by the way.)

"Do you know anyone else who might buy them?
he asked, sounding almost desperate.  I doubt he'd have
needed money, but he'd never shown any interest in being
recognised as a photographer before, so I wondered why he
seemed so eager to sell them.  "I'll 'phone a couple of places,"
I said, "and get back to you."  As we drew our conversation
to a close, he told me he'd get a spare set of photos made
and post them to me.  "I'll reimburse all your costs,"
I said, "so that you won't be out of pocket!"

Once I got off the 'phone, I called two people.  One
was the guy who ran Wonderworld Comics in Bourne-
mouth and the other was one of the guys in charge at AKA
Books & Comics in Glasgow.  Both calls were short ones,
as neither of them could see the photographs being of any
commercial value on account of there being no end of 
images of Chris Reeve in his Superman togs.

I felt slightly disappointed on Bob's behalf as I
rang him with the bad news.  He sounded annoyed, but
I naturally assumed it was at the shortsighted thinking (as
he would've seen it) of the two comics shop proprietors, not
with me;  after all, I'd done my best.  As I was saying my good-
byes, my father opened the living-room door (the 'phone was
in the hall), letting out the sound of the TV, while at the same
time continuing a conversation with my mother as he passed
me.  The combined volume of telly and parents made it
difficult to hear what Bob was saying, but we were
in the closing seconds of our chat anyway.

"I'll call you when the pics arrive," I said, " 'Bye."
I was in a fair bit of haste to hang up and spare us from
the cacophony of TV and parents, so didn't quite catch his
reply, but I got the distinct impression he'd raised his voice.  I
assumed he'd done so only to compensate for the sudden burst
of sound emanating from his receiver, but on reflection, I now
wonder if he was being stroppy, thinking I had been bullsh*t-
ting about ringing anyone regarding the photos.  You see, I'd
called him back within about 15 minutes, and perhaps he
considered that too soon to have fully investigated
all the potential possibilities.

Anyway, never heard from him again, though I
later learned he'd dropped into our former workplace
a couple of times while back in town to visit his inlaws.  I
once considered him a top bloke, but when I became surplus
to the requirements of his everyday life, I was jettisoned like
so much 'excess baggage'.  However, my philosophy is who
the hell needs 'friends' like that anyway, so no great loss.  So
why bore you all with this reminiscence now, you may be
wondering.  Am I acting under a bizarre compulsion to
indulge in some sort of cathartic 'exorcism' ?

The explanation is simpler than that.  When one
has a blog, one often has to plumbs the depths of one's
personal experiences to provide material to write about,
otherwise you lot would have to go without - and that'd
never do.  So - consider the depths plumbed.

Any of your pals ever proved to be 'fairweather'
friends?  Tell your Criv-ite chums all about it in our
ever-so-interesting comments section.

Next - another rambling (but riveting) repost.

2 comments:

SUBZERO said...

Hey, thanks for commenting. Better late than never. And I also forgot to add you to my blogroll. I guess we both got lost in doing the blog which can distract you from other things.

Oh, and keep up the good work. I´ll try to swing by here more often.

Kid said...

Ta, SZ. I'm adding you to my blog list right now.

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