The year has ended on a sour note with the news that Alan Marsh from Kilmarnock, better known as Big Al, has passed away. He was a big chap but an even bigger character and Ayrshire will be very much the quieter for his passing.
He was as well known in rallying, and the wider motorsport community, as some of the top drivers and yet he wasn’t a competitor himself. He was a fan and fervent supporter and just appeared at events in spectator areas or service parks. His arrival was heard long before it was seen and he chatted to everybody like long lost pals whether he knew them or not.
Long before ‘selfies’ were ‘a thing’, Big Al was a regular on the red carpet at film and theatre premieres and big sporting occasions meeting and being photographed with stars of stage and sporting arena. No one was safe from his approach, not even Donald Trump.
Denise Van Outen plus hundreds more.
His early career was in the motor trade although he worked latterly as a film and TV extra. He also made wee films for his YouTube channel which had something of a cult following, so his fame, or rather, notoriety was widespread.
The most obvious trait of Big Al’s character was the fact that the word ‘No’ was not recognised in his vocabulary or his brain. If anyone said ‘No’ to him it was not taken as an insult, it was a challenge. That is, if he heard the word at all. No matter how many times the word was uttered in a conversation the big chap carried on unabashed till his victims succumbed through sheer exasperation.
One such encounter took place in Kilmarnock a couple of months back when Jaggy Bunnet walked into Moorfield Garage Services where Big Al was Head Receptionist, Gatekeeper and Mascot.
Big Al’s opening gambit was: “That’s great we’ll just make a wee film.”
Big Al: Whit ah want ye tae dae is jist walk roon the corner into the office and say a few words.”
Big Al: “A few comments in your own words about the pictures on the wall.”
Big Al then proceeded on a walkthrough of the part: “Jist like this.”
Big Al: “Right don’t start till I shout ‘Action’ then walk in just natural.”
Big Al: “Then we’ll do a wee interview”………
And so on, and on. The end result is on his YouTube channel !!
Whit a man, whit a character.