Mick Ilka

Mick Ilka

Mick with Louie Martin in 1976
leaning on Paul Gray's car

That UFO in the night sky could well be Mick's old searchlight

If you see a great white light swinging across the sky over Dunstable Downs on a Saturday evening, look again before reporting an unidentified flying object. It most probably means there's a pop concert on at Dunstable's California Leisure complex, and the light is promoter Mick Ilka's latest idea for publicising the shows.

Mick has bought a genuine original wartime searchlight and the huge beam can be seen for miles around arcing across the sky. "It's a fantastic tube of light three foot in diameter and it's unique in this country," says Mick. "People have told me they can see it from Leighton Buzzard and one night a man drove down specially from Milton Keynes just to ask what it was. "He looked at it and then drove all the way back Local people come hand in hand with their youngsters to see it."

editorial

The editorial and photos of Mick's searchlight

Mick got the idea on a recent trip to America and he had to search high and low for a searchlight before finding one in Hull. It was in a bad condition and needed a lot of work. The light element has been replaced by carbon rods which shoot out smoke through an exhaust while operating. The light is so powerful that Mick had to clear it with aviation authorities. He has to tell them he is going to use it in writing so that they can notify all aircraft in the vicinity.

At present, its operation is restricted to an hour from 8pm on Saturdays when Mick runs a concert. The light can be set to a concentrated beam or to a wide spread.

 

the pink Lincoln

Mick's pink Lincoln

Excerpts from Mick Ilka's diary

23rd July 1979

Phone MCA records re press - Crusaders
Get electric piano for Grover - Yamaha
Book piano tuner

24 Aug 1979 Freak with Kev + Louie

26 Apr 1979 Tony Prince + Louie disco

22 Sept 1979 Tony Prince + Sister Sledge?