Kicking off our new feature, in which the great and the good, the good, the bad and the ugly and the people behind, underneath and above the news get to answer a few probing questions is Drayton Manor Theme Park‘s MD Colin Bryan…
Who do you think you are?
I don’t think, as I know who I am. Managing Director of the theme park I have developed with my father and mother, who founded the park in 1949, over the last 40 years. Drayton Manor Theme Park started in 1950 and is now the 5th largest and privately run park in the UK.
How many roads must a man walk down? Many. The roads to ruin and purgatory are the ones to avoid. Through thick and thin times there has always been a light at the end of the road tunnel. Let me explain. To always think ahead about what is needed in business and to take the gamble and go with it. Here it’s taking on a newly designed amusement ride and quite literally, by the seat of my pants, introducing a unique ride to the large collection of theme park rides there are at the park. None of those decisions have been bad and ruin has been avoided as the rides in question have been a great success.
The road to Purgatory is only one of too much red tape in business, especially over the last 10 years, unnecessary wasted energy, fraught employment rules and tax regulations, business complications and darn right piffle spouting from the Government and the ever overpowering EU. The road to ruin seems to forever being made more complicated.
What shall we do with the drunken sailor?
Let the person involved sort themselves out. Why should it be the government’s responsibility? Rules and more rules will not change a Drunken
Sailor [ read underage drinkers]. Parental control with two parents, instead of single families unable to cope.
One thing the government, or in fact any government, should do is raise the family allowances, thus enabling the return of the family to its rightful status of looking after its own.
How long has this been going on?
10 years. Ever since the government started to think about ruling us via Red Tape and the taxation of everything we work hard for.
Where have all the good times gone?
Abroad. All the good car companies are now in the hands of companies from abroad. Latest is Land Rover/Jaguar [India]. MG/Rover [China], TVR [Russia], Rolls and Bentley [Germany]. Awful! When will it end and when will this government stop allowing our heritage to be sold off. What next, fresh air?
Do you know the way to San Jose?
Been there – only in the song though. It is the same as being away on holiday and you do not want to leave. Find the right partner, job, home and family and the way is a lot clearer through life.
Is there life on Mars?
Maybe. Maybe not. Is this a bit like things being unattainable. Items one dreams of. Although I have a collection of two vintage Austin Sevens, two classics in a TVR 400 Griffith and a Cortina Mk1 race car, and one Hot Rod with a V8 engine, life on Mars represents the cars I dream about which are perhaps not yet attainable. An Aston Martin Vantage [maybe not in these days of high petrol prices], a Bentley GT, attainable now as the years go by, a Ferrari or an AC Cobra 289. Or as my wife would say, a holiday home in the Caribbean or an apartment in Florida, as she adores Disney and its entertainment.
What difference does it make? The difference is, without doubt, pay attention to detail and the rewards will come. Personal intervention within business will make the difference to one’s life and family life. I believe in the family, both in my job and with my family around me. Both my sons work with me and we understand more about that difference than others who struggle without a family around.
Do you realise?
Same as “Don’t you know who I am”. Or as Jasper Carrot puts it “Did you know”? a line which appears in most of his sketches. Or as Michael Caine says in his hilarious book, “Not a lot of people know that.”
It’s so easy to say “Do you realize that if” you do this or that another way it is better. Then they still do it their way. So you end up not taking notice again when they do. But isn’t that realizing that you are in submission of not being in charge of their improvement and ultimately your own company and destiny.
Do you believe in magic?
When the chance came of being able to obtain a character in the name of Thomas the Tank Engine for our family business, it occurred when we were wanting a touch of magic to come to the park that is Drayton Manor Theme Park, Tamworth, Staffordshire, celebrating 60 years this October.
When we garnered the contract to be allocated the rights to the UK’s only Thomas Land with 12 rides and attractions for children to be in awe of the sight of Thomas coming through Knapford Station was “do I believe in Magic” – you bet. Do come and see those kids being entertained by a blue engine called Thomas. He’s worth a million tons of magic dust.
So yes, and also the song sung by Queen. Every line of the song is MAGIC.