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15 December 2017


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Bitterne Parker: Colin McAllister
Sunday, 27 July 2014 00:00

Colin McAllister sleepy
Originally from Ayr, Scotland, Colin McAllister moved to Southampton in 1990 for a three-month acting job – and never got away. He has been a Bitterne Parker for the last 12 years. After studying Community Theatre Arts in the late 1980s and enjoying a productive acting career, Colin became a drug worker in 2002 and now helps commission and coordinate drug and alcohol services for Southampton. In 2008 Colin co-founded Southampton Ukulele Jam. Also one half of what he describes as “the superstar DJ duo Al-X & MC Uke”, he’s married and childrened.

The Qs & the As

What’s your link with Bitterne Park?  

I live and love here.

What’s your earliest memory of the area?

Walking with my prospective wife in Riverside Park before we moved here.

I was trying to make a good impression which was not helped by the missing bolt at the far end of the plank that formed the seat of the bench I leapt on causing it to flip up and smack me in the forehead.

She still married me.

How could it be better?

I think it’s finding its identity. The Butcher’s Hook has helped. I like the idea of more independent, successful businesses. I’d personally like to lose the Tesco Express and open up the Bitterne Park Hotel more. It is a great building with more potential that it seems to achieve.

What’s good about the wider city?

The people and its potential. I enjoy being part of a community of people who make their own fun. unit11studios, Element Arts, Sofa City Band Collective, Southampton Ukulele Jam, Food Not Bombs++…

‘Life is my passion in life...’

Southampton: points for improvement?


Better support for grassroot arts and local music, not just from the funders but from the people. There are so many things happening.

Less big shops ~ more fun

What’s your passion in life?

Life is my passion in life

Playing music with strangers

Playing music with friends

Talking with strangers

Talking with friends

Having fun

Helping others when I can

How do you put bread on your table?

I currently work for Southampton City Council helping to commission and coordinate services for people concerned by their or someone else’s drug or alcohol use.

I also, when I can, still perform/ facilitate workshops/ do play readings for love and money.

What has your career taught you?

I’ve been lucky enough to have two main careers, so far:

Acting – If you don’t understand a piece of writing you have to perform… say it slowly and loudly and let the audience make up their own minds

Substance Misuse – Don’t judge people until you know them.

What really gets your goat?

Prejudice and Ignorance – Usually linked

How do you relax?

I love playing with Southampton Ukulele Jam. I can’t say it’s always relaxing but it’s a great way to spend time. There is nothing like the feeling you get when you’re part of a large group of people singing and playing their hearts out.

What’s your favourite dish?

Melanzane Parmigiana

Which is your favourite pub?

Talking Heads – Home of SUJ and the place I’ve seen the most live music (Highlights Band of Skulls and Mumford and Sons before they were famous)

Southwestern Arms – I love the big pub garden and the pool table and table football upstairs

The Butchers Hook – A brilliant Idea fantastically well executed. The buzz of conversation is something to hear.

headphones rotated under CC2 by Matti MattilaWhat do you listen to?

I listen to both kinds of Music – Country AND Western

Can you recommend a really good read?

Das Boot by Lothar-Günther Buchheim

What’s a great day out?

The beach at Highcliffe Castle ~ hot day, family and friends, picnic, swimming

Tell us a secret

No – It wouldn’t be a secret then, would it?

Tell us a joke

Why do Marxists drink herbal tea?

Because all proper tea is theft.

Finally, what would be another great question for other Bitterne Parkers?

What would you most like to change - in the world and in yourself?

Thanks so much for taking part!

Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions. But before then, do you know a Bitterne Parker we really should feature? If so, please nominate them by emailing us using the contact form, and we'll do our best. No promises, mind. 

Southampton Ukulele Jam's website is here. 

Read about other Bitterne Parkers

Earphones pic under CC2 by Matti Mattila 


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