Philip Collins 1955-1961

I quit VI Arts Lower around May 1961 under a somewhat hazy cloud; something to do with being reported to KD by a new young German master who had yet to shave, but had a good eye and ear for disdain. I left as a rebellious schoolboy, and happily, the rebellious schoolboy never left me. Becoming a young Head of Production for EMI Films, a good slice of my latter School days  and teenage fairground background is reflected in a film I green-lighted, “That’ll be the Day”, with David Puttnam producing before he found Sainthood.

(To green-light is to give permission or a go ahead to move forward with a project. The term is a reference to the green traffic signal, indicating “go ahead”. In the context of the film and television industries, to green-light something is to formally approve its production finance and to commit to this financing, thereby allowing the project to move forward from the development phase to pre-production and photography. The power to green-light a project is generally reserved to those in a project or financial management role within an organisation)

A big fish in the small pond of British film production, I left for Hollywood in the late 1970s and instantly became a tadpole in an ocean. After stints acting as an agent for writers and an executive at Columbia, I wrote a few original screenplays that were never produced, but were well compensated, then stepped down the financial ladder to author a few coffee table books on Popular Culture and Art-Déco collectables. Then, the Great American Novel -“Jesus’ Toolbox”, available at all fine book stores and some pretty dubious ones

I refer to my time at School as an informal education. Eric (Smedley) insisted that the only thing High School teaches is how to read a book. Fond memories of him and many of the eccentric bunch of sages who swanned round the place in a flurry of chalk dust and wafts of tobacco smoke. Spiv, TD, Horse, Dutch, Mobby, Dizzy, Gert, Claude, Titch, Burph, Tinker, Baldy, Bogey, Adolf, Sam, Kate, Sobbo, Buckets….you couldn’t make it up.

On reflection, mainly happy times, but the occasional day when the place made Tom Brown’s Schooldays look like a stroll in the park.

I remain in the Hollywood Hills with my long suffering significant other, one jump ahead of the Sheriff, and dying every time Chelsea lose.

Never marry, volunteer or play the accordion!