Seven Days of Positive – Day 108

In Dance, FIlms on January 21, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Continuing the dance theme, I watched Fame – the original 1980 Alan Parker film – with Peggy.

It was such a joy, because she totally loved it and I’m sure other parents – and anyone who’s tried sharing much loved films with friends – will be all too familiar with the sinking feeling when they just don’t ‘get’ it.

It’s so easy to oversell a film you love, so the other person approaches it with expectations raised to heights nothing could live up to. With kids you add in an element of them being contrarily predisposed to hate it, precisely because you love it.

I had that experience at Christmas with West Side Story. She hardly looked at it, finding the whole thing a huge drag and I was gutted because I was so transported by that film when I watched it at the same age.

But she loved Fame from the opening frame. Fully appreciating all the key moments, including Leroy’s memorable audition…

(Not the greatest quality, but still heaven.)

It was so satisfying and it was an adventure for us both, because I haven’t seen it since 1980 and appreciated it with a fresh eye for Alan Parker’s beautiful direction.

The cinematography is wonderful, such interesting compositions with a lot of diagonals, which had gone right over my head when I first saw it.


And I was glad I hadn’t told her the very specific circumstances in which I saw it first, which is why it means so much to me.

It was August 1980 and I was appearing in a very successful show on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which had transferred there from the original production put on at the university theatre in St Andrews.

‘Mouthpieces’ was written by Scottish playwright Marcella Evaristi and directed by an up and coming theatre director called Michael Boyd. He is now Sir Michael Boyd and was until recently artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

So it was a pretty special thing to be part of.

On our night off the entire cast went to see Fame together and we came out dancing. You can imagine how that felt. To be twenty years old, in a successful show at the Edinburgh Festival and watching Fame… Glorious times.


So that all came flooding back to me as I watched it again, but I’m glad I didn’t burden her with it. That was my thing. She loved Fame on her own terms and even declared the clothes ‘cool’.

I’ve downloaded the soundtrack. There will be dancing – and not just her.

Here’s one of my favourite scenes.

  1. Has she seen Flashdance?

  2. You’ve opened my eyes to so many new things…, I’ve never watched Fame. I must try and get the DVD for Olivia, my dancing grand daughter.

  3. Sir Michael Boyd, wow!!

    I know what you mean about not loading your own expectations of enjoyment on Peggy: I find Chloe will rather perversely set out to NOT appreciate things I love, so I stay schtumm now… I think it’s about the ownership of discovery.

    It is strange coming back to something that has had a huge impact on you early on. I was in the Lake District a few years ago, visiting Dove Cottage for the first time. In the next door museum, they have a selection of poems you can listen to. I plugged into Ian McKellan reading “Tintern Abbey” and disgraced myself by dripping tears ( it’s about looking back when you’re older). What wasn’t poignant for me in my bullet proof late teens hit me like a ton of bricks then.

  4. Ha, we’ve been subjecting our fifteenster to lots of old beloved movies. I will have to be very, very poker faced before Repo Man because I so so loved it… They do like to keep you on your toes; she loved Brigadoon, go figure.

    • Oh I loved Repo Man too! Jane (Wattleflat) makes a very good point below about ‘the ownership of discovery’. I understand now how I put Peggy off the books I loved as a child, she loves the ones which are ‘hers’, like Diary of a WImpy Kid.

  5. My mum is coming to stay with us for this Australia Day long weekend so last night I searched our local DVD store for ‘Fame’. Imagine my horror when the copy I picked up was a remake !! No way !! The original version was hidden in some obscure section. Phew ! I watched the series of Fame in c1983, loving Leroy and all of the cast. I am so excited that mum and I can watch it together this weekend. It is pouring with rain (typical north coast deluge) it’s a perfect excuse to watch movies indoors. Thanks, Maggie. Sending good thoughts to your beautiful mum xx

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