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The European Minibus Tour 1972 Eileen Larkin

The 1972 European Minibus Tour

Produced by Mike Kilcooley and Chris Robinson, a silent movie of 23 Venture Scouts and Ranger Guides' tour of Europe from back in the days when trips abroad were a novelty - hence the predominance of scenes over people :-)

Back in 1972 very few people had been abroad. So when it was proposed that the 8th Venture Scouts team up with the Ranger Guides and tour Europe in two mini buses everyone jumped at the chance.

Under the leadership of John and Pat Lomax and Bill and Lesley Brooks 23 of us set off from St Johns Wood on track for Dover.

Back then I was interested(ish) in photography but I had just bought a Bolex P4 - 8mm cine camera. (I still have it) which was my pride and joy so the opportunity to document a trip around Europe, on film, could not be missed. Even better, Chris Robinson had persuaded his dad to let him borrow the family cine camera so we were, by any standard, a 'film crew'.

By the time we had returned, two weeks later we had a few hours of footage which we spent weeks and weeks editing down to a 25 minute epic.

If you watch the film you'll notice that there are far more images of cars, towns, buildings, scenery etc. than there are shots of people. This is because we (Binky and me) 'knew' that this is what people wanted to see. We could see our mates every Wednesday and Friday, why would we want to waste valuable film on them? Such was our flawed reasoning.

Aspen beer bottling factory Germany 1972

We toured the whole of the Aspen brewery - Chris Robinson & Mike Kilcooley (above) seen here filming inside the beer bottling plant - saw the French Fire Brigade in action, a steam train, a massive river barge with a car on top, grapes on the vine, cars, shops, a supermarket, the list goes on (watch the film).

Fifty years later, when re-watching that film, the memories of where we travelled come flooding back but, without doubt, the most valuable scenes are the ones which show people - us.

Weren't we different back then? Where is what's-his-name now? Has anyone ever heard from so-and-so? Oh I remember her - what was her name?

In today's camera rich world our film may look a little bit dated, even a bit boring. But it started me on a career in television in which every day has been a joy. I turned a hobby into a career.

They say find a job you love to do and you'll never work again. I did and I haven't.

Mike Kilcooley, Seconder - Yellow Six 1964 - 1966; Patrol Leader - Peckers Patrol 1969 - 1971; Venture Scout - 1971 - 1975; Old Scouts Chairman 2021.

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8th St Marylebone Scouts' distinctive neckerchief
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