Earlier this year I was chatting with my mum about the scene in Shirley Valentine where Milandra the daughter comes back home to live and expects her mum to pick up just as things were before….Milandra: “Ah mam, make us a hot chocolate and bring it up to my room”.…..Shirley dutifully makes the chocolate before realising what she’s doing. My mum (who did look a bit like Shirley in the 80’s with her permed hair……. a-hem we actually had matching perms, my mum and me) tells me she has never seen this film!
With matching perms long gone we watched the film together; it came out in 1989 so I must have been around 18 or 19 when I first saw it…….I can remember thinking how old Shirley looked, how odd but funny is was to talk to a wall or rock, what on earth was calamari and I would Never Ever go swimming naked in the sea and where were the nightclubs on that Mykonos? I laughed in all the right places but could only imagine what Shirley was feeling…… fast forward 27 years and this time the film made me cry……
So many things in the film resonated with me, the fact that I was now older than the character herself and just like Shirley was looking back, where had the 27 years between seeing the film gone?
“Shirley Valentine: I have allowed myself to lead this little life, when inside me there was so much more. And it’s all gone unused. And now it never will be. Why do we get all this life if we don’t ever use it? Why do we get all these feelings and dreams and hopes if we don’t ever use them?”
It’s all too easy to get onto the hamster wheel of life and suddenly find yourself talking to a wall and making the same things for dinner the same day of the week and eating at the same time every night……..
Shirley Valentine: “So, just think how exciting it’ll be if for once you had it at a quarter past six. It’d make headlines. “World exclusive: Joe eats late.”
I’m not knocking routine but it’s as if we get sucked into existing and not living.
Routine gives our lives structure but I feel it can keep us “safe” and veer us away from the reality of the life we have come to live, like we live life blind.
I love calamari, swimming naked in the sea and Greek islands that have nothing other than a taverna on the beach; I have not lived a bored housewives life but there have been many times where my dreams and hopes have been scuppered or should I say I have not pursued them and that I just knew I was not truly being me and being brave enough to admit it and do something about it…..what stops us from taking a different route? Jim Carey gets to the nub of it “All that will ever be is what is happening here, right now and the decisions we make in this moment which are based in love or fear”.
So, with the summer supposedly upon us I’m going to take Baz Luhrmann’s advice (this is a track I’d not heard for some years until recently and the lyrics stand out so much more for me now)….so, for 2016 I’ll mostly be wearing sunscreen, singing, dancing, enjoying my body and being kind to my knees (thanks to Somatics and Therapeutic Yoga).
I’d love to hear of any film, book or song that now takes on new meanings for you as the
years go by.