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.