1972, Aged 12, Secondary school:
IT WAS ONLY in secondary school that I started to flourish. It was there that I began to act in some minor roles—Tom Thumb, Gullivers travels, Snow White, Streeb Grubling.
I always got cast as the small guy, but God I loved it. There under the spotlight, the spotlight shining down on me I knew I belonged. The skills I learned there stayed with me the rest of my life, and were particularly useful in my later spell on the boards during the 1992 to 1993 pantomime season in Tass.
My other ephany, epiphanany, epiphany (c’mon Gareth) came when I went on a school trip to Berlin, Germany. The field trip involved a tour around the most famous of the city’s Reichsmuseums but it was one location in particular that grabbed me.
I couldn’t quite explain it, diary, but walking in to Hitler’s bunker that day I felt a thrill of excitement so strong that it coursed through my veins and left my node standing to attention. Sieg Heil! was a phrase I saw etched into the walls there. I always wondered what it meant, but never having found out, I used it as a source of mystical inspiration and carried it with me for several years after.
Ze school trip awakened a sense of myself in me and showed me the possibilities of life. Indeed walking around der Fuhrer’s bunker I realised my second passion in life (after acting) would be the army! Yes, seeing those uniforms hanging up on the Kriegs Museum walls I knew that my destiny would be inextruc-, inextracib-, (Gareth!) strongly linked with that of a soldier. I took that experience with me and used it in my later programme, Kemp on Guns.