Too Pure to be Pink

Ah, how many times in my life have I watched Grease since first seeing it in 1978 at the Regal Cinema in Nairn, closed long ago? Every time the opening credits roll it takes me straight back to that place, to that time, to that teenage world of hopes and dreams.

It’s always been one of my favourite movies – I know it’s cheesy and ridiculously unbelievable but I remember so well being part of a group of giggly schoolgirls who took a bus together from the village where we lived through to the nearest town just to go to the cinema to see that particular movie, we had such a great time and I have such fun memories of it all, so for various reasons it always hold a special place in my heart.

Grease was on TV again today, so of course I had to watch it and sing along with every song as if I was 15 years old again… Back then everyone wanted to be Sandy, who was definitely too pure to be pink, but secretly I always felt drawn to Rizzo’s more rebellious nature…Quiet little people-pleasing me who would never say boo to a goose and would certainly never dream of rebelling against doing exactly what was expected of me – well at that stage in my life, anyway!

And now? Well perhaps at 15 I too might have been considered too pure to be pink, but by 18 I was pregnant and getting married (yes, in that order!) so maybe more of Rizzo rubbed off on me than I’d thought… 🙂

Starsky and Hutch in 2021? Nope…!

Oooh, when I was growing up I just loved watching Starsky and Hutch every week, my sister and I never missed an episode and we never ceased discussing it in great detail with all our friends at school the next day… So when I saw the original pilot episode from 1975 was showing on TV today, I thought – yes, result! Blast from my teenage past to indulge in – woo-hoo!

Except… Nope… Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul looked as sexy as ever, Captain Dobey was shouting just as loudly as I remember, and Huggy Bear was… well… still the same old chilled-out denim-clad Huggy Bear. But seriously guys, how totally dated can a TV show be? It’s a bit like watching the old re-runs of ‘The Professionals’ starring Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw from a few years later – swoon!

Except… Nope… I can’t seem to get beyond the blatant sexism, the out-moded, out-dated smart-ass male-privilege attitudes, and it’s seriously spoiled the storylines for me. For both Starsky and Hutch and The Professionals, sadly neither translate well into the 21st Century. Why did I never notice it at the time? Why did it not stick out like a cartoon sore thumb after being hit with a giant hammer?

I guess because at the time it was all entirely normal for men – and women – to behave that way… Somewhere in the deepest darkest recesses of the farthest corners of my mind I still feel drawn to the magical memory of both shows, in spite of the main protagonists so clearly examplifying such sexist views about their female co-stars.

And somehow that sad realisation makes me feel very, very old… 😦

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: In the Corner

Five Fave Movies of 2020

I’ve watched so many old movies this year, re-run upon re-run upen re-run, and I’d love to say I’ve loved them all but… well…OK, maybe not all. Not all have survived my continued enjoyment, some have fallen by the wayside and some have simply become lost in translation across the years. But some have definitely stood the test of time and certainly deserve a special mention, so here is a very non-comprehensive list of five British-made oldies-but-goodies from my past I’ve watched on TV in the last few weeks…

This Happy Breed (1944) starring Celia Johnson. It’s based on an ordinary terraced house, on a working class family living in the house in the years between the two wars. It follows their fortunes and misfortunes, their lives and loves and the history that happened during those years. The story starts when they first move in, and ends when they leave. There is no huge plot, no amazing denuement, just family life in one house. I was ill a lot as a child, and watched a lot of old movies, and this one is just lovely.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) starring Maggie Smith and Gordon Jackson, set in an Edinburgh girls school in the 1930s. Actually, come to think of it Celia Johnson is in this movie too. I’ve loved this movie since childhood – well, teenagehood, anyway – and I watch it every time it’s on TV. It’s about… well amongst other things, it’s about the dangers of impressionable childhood and burgeoning womanhood and sex and love… And schooldays, it’s about schooldays. Did I mention I love this movie?

The Italian Job (1969) starring Michale Caine and the good old British Mini, is about the planning and execution of a robbery in Italy by a two-bit crook trying to make it big. And after a spectacular extended car chase sequence it has the perfect ending where they neither quite get away with it, nor quite get caught… You could say it ends on a complete cliffhanger… 🙂

Restless Natives (1985) starring Vincent Friell, Joe Mulaney and Terri Lally, is set in Edinburgh, but also in the beautiful landscape of the Scottish Highlands, telling the tale of the Clown and the Wolfman, two young men with no real future to look forward to who take to robbing tourist coaches on their motorbike… Then becoming temporary modern-day Robin Hoods before disappearing off a cliff… Hmmm, my description really doesn’t do it justice!

Shirley Valentine (1989) starring Pauline Collins and Tom Conti, is about a bored middle-aged housewife who on the spur of the moment agrees to go on holiday to Greece with a girlfriend, leaving her taking-her-for-granted husband Joe at home alone. She has a little holiday romance, decides to stay for a while and ultimately she finds herself, becomes Shirley Valentine again… And in the end, when her husband Joe comes out to Greece to find her too, initially he doesn’t even recognise her…

So there we go, five old movies I’ve watched and enjoyed over the last few weeks, written in response to a ‘Five Things‘ prompt by Salted Caramel 🙂

Hidden Figures – Facts and Fiction

We watched the movie ‘Hidden Figures’ on TV the other night, and we really enjoyed it, in an uncomfortable sort of way.

The movie tells the story of three black women who worked for NASA in the early 1960s, whose work effectively helped US astronaut John Glenn orbit the earth and return safely. It may or may not have represented an exact representation of reality, and of course the script was sanitised and smoothed over and given the usual glitzy movie-glamour treatment, but for me overall it represented an awkward, embarrassing time in history in a positively entertaining way. The storyline was based on a true story, but it was also a movie, not a docu-drama, and to my mind it did the job reasonably well.

Because the point is, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson were real people – that is an undisputable fact. And they were clearly top class mathematicians and scientists who did indeed work for NASA – another indisputable fact. That they would have met with the inherent societal prejudice of Jim Crow at that time is also a matter of historical record. But had it not been for the movie, I might never have heard of them, and that would have been my loss. So whatever people’s opinions on the narrative accuracy of the movie, I’ve learned something factually important from it and surely that has to be a good thing?

So who won the week for me this week (albeit retrospectively by about half a century) is without doubt, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Pioneers of their time. Thank you ladies, and I raise a toast to you 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Century

Don’t Stop Me Now…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge today is ‘ecstatic’ – hmmm, not much ecstatic feeling about my life right now, but yet… a fragment of an old song lyric comes immediately to mind – ‘floating around in ecstasy…’

The day before I came home from Scotland, myself and my eldest daughter (and youngest granddaughter, aged 12 weeks!) watched the 2018 movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ about the rise and demise of Freddie Mercury of Queen fame, and oh, I absolutely loved it!

The movie soundtrack, of course, is excellent – plenty of old favourites to sing along to – and the main characters are wonderfully cast. It’s quite tastefully done, considering the rather gritty sex, drugs and rock’n’roll narrative portrayed throughout, and to my mind Rami Malek inhabited Mercury’s over-the-top mannerisms perfectly.

So on to my fragment of song lyric, from ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ – I don’t necessarily have one favourite Queen track, whichever track I’m listening to at any moment feels like my favourite. And there’s something about all Queen tracks that makes them the perfect accompaniment to driving – so as my daughter drove me to the station to catch my train home we had a Queen CD playing, and we both sang along at the top of our voices.

The particular track that was playing as we reached the station was ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ so inevitably this is the song that stuck firmly in my head all the way home… goodbyes are always difficult and tearful occasions, so to have a fun vibrant memory of saying goodbye rather than a sad one was very special… ❤

"Tonight I'm gonna have myself a real good time
I feel alive
And the world - I'll turn it inside out, yeah!
I'm floating around in ecstasy..."

Crocodile Dundee and Me

I’m sitting here alone on my sofa on a Sunday evening watching TV, and Crocodile Dundee is on. I remember watching it at the cinema when it first came out way back when, and I just loved it! The humour is great, even if the styles and the themes are more than a little corny and outdated, but yet still it makes me cry. And inevitably it’s making me think about difficult stuff from my past.

It’s also making me think of other old movies I love, and why I still love them so much. Pulp Fiction and True Lies, Working Girl and Mona Lisa Smile. Going back even further, there’s Grease, and Dirty Dancing, and Strictly Ballroom. And never forgetting Saturday Night Fever. They all touched something in me in their own way; a hurt to be salved, a need to be fulfilled, a desire for something more in life.

Perhaps I’m more of a romantic than I think, yearning to be loved and taken care of. And perhaps I’m more of an extrovert in my imaginitive spiritual soul than I am in my fearful introvert heart, dreaming deep down of daring to be brave, be wild, be so much more than I am or ever can be in real life. These movies were my fantasy, my alternative future, my escape from unhappiness.

Thankfully I no longer feel that same agonising need for change, but somehow watching these old movies today still touches that little kernel of magical memories that grew into a precious germ of hope all those years ago, and for that I shall always be eternally grateful… ❤

If you got it, flaunt it…

Somebody up there has a seriously wierd sense of humour giving an introverted depressive like me blonde hair, blue eyes and a well-endowed chest. (Oh, and to cap it all, I have B+ blood – be positive, ha bloody ha, very funny I’m sure.) If you got it, flaunt it, they all say. But however my outside form may present to the world, my inside always remains far more fragile than flamboyant.

When people tell me to ‘be myself’ they usually mean ‘live up to our blondes-have-more-fun party-girl expectation’ rather than my preferred ‘curl up quietly on the sofa in your pyjamas with only a cup of tea and a good book for company’ way of being. The amount of times over my lifetime that various people in varying situations have labelled me ‘reserved’, and have complained disappointingly to my face ‘Awww… you’re no fun…’

The thing is, I don’t want to have to wear deliberately frumpy clothes to hide my somewhat voluptuous figure, and I really don’t like the restrictive feeling of things being buttoned up tight to my neck. So if a glimpse of my cleavage is on show, if my jeans sit comfortably snug across my curvaceous bum, if my skirt hemline sometimes sits above my knee, don’t necessarily assume I’m nothing more than a dumb blonde.

Sometimes I feel a little bit like Jesssica Rabbit in ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, who reminds Eddie Valiant that she’s not bad, she was just drawn that way. Not because I’ve ever looked in any way as gorgeously drop-dead sexy as Jessica, but because the outward perception of her inward character due simply to visual expectation resonates deeply with me. I guess underneath it all I’m just not a flaunting it kind of girl… 🙂

Daily Prompt: Flaunt

More Haste, Less Speed

One of the benefits of having grandchildren is that I get to watch a lot of kids’ movies!

My blog friend Fandango posted today about waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew his driver’s licence, and it reminded me of the scene in ‘Zootropolis’ where Officer Judy Hops has to run a licence plate in a hurry – unfortunately for her, the DMV is run by sloths, and the not-so-aptly named Flash diligently carries out his duties at a sloth-like pace – enjoy! 🙂

Daily Prompt: Rush