Friday, 2 September 2011


Actor Robbie Coltrane

Isn't it funny the things that stick in your head as the years go by?  I remember one day, back in the late 1960s, my brother asking our parents about his middle name.  It turned out that he shared the same middle name as our grandfather on my mother's side.  This led me to ask from whom mine had come.  "You're named after Doctor McMillan", I was told.

DOCTOR McMILLAN - Doctor IAN McMillan - (now sadly deceased) was our family doctor whose Practice was in Rutherglen. I remember him as a tall, thin, kindly-faced gentleman, with grey or white receding hair and spectacles.  I also recall sitting in his waiting room on occasion, and, before that, him coming out to our house to attend to me when my mother splashed a kettle of boiling water on me when I was an infant.  Don't worry, it was an accident.  (Well... that first time anyway.)

Doctor McMillan was the kind of doctor that older people often lament doesn't exist anymore.  On many an occasion, I'd hear my mother extolling his virtues as a doctor and as a person to her friends.  Both my parents thought very highly of him, and were much saddened when he died.  They held him in such genuine regard and affection that he must've been a very fine man indeed.  It's safe to say that, as far as my parents (and doubtless his other patients) were concerned, a lot of doctors have since been measured against him - with no doubt quite a few found to be severely wanting.

Imagine my surprise then, when, sometime in the early '80s, I read a profile about actor ROBBIE COLTRANE in a local newspaper, and discovered that he was the son of our old family doctor.  Robbie's real surname is actually McMillan - he took the name Coltrane from the famous Jazz saxophonist JOHN COLTRANE.  I wonder if John put up much of a fight?  (Little joke there.)

So there you go.  I'm named after Robbie Coltrane's dad.  What's even more strange is that my father was called Robbie.  Thoughts of a NEW GENESIS-APOKOLIPS 'pact' spring to mind, but as to which one of us is ORION and which is MISTER MIRACLE I'll leave for others to decide.

(You must've known I'd squeeze some kind of tenuous comicbook link in there somehow.)

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