Thursday, 22 September 2011

Useful Movie Trivia

‘You know Gene Kelly got the flu, right?’

I’d like to pretend I didn’t notice the slight grin in the back of the room, the polite nod, eyes twinkling incandescently, as we acknowledged that we were the only two people on Earth who understood our little inside joke. I quickly turned away continuing on the conversation as though nothing had happened. But the blinds had finally lifted. I could see inside.

We had only known each other for a few weeks at that time, You could count the number of hours we spent together with your fingers, and yet it seemed we had already created a shorthand only the two of us could understand.

Singin’ in the Rain was one of my favourite movies. Hell, I thought that if you felt nothing while you were watching the movie, you had no soul. But she didn't know that. One day out of the blue I’d asked my new friend what her favourite movie was. She said without hesitation ‘Singin In The Rain’. Well, at least this new friend had a soul. But I was the eternal provocateur. ‘Don’t tell me you like the title song?!’ I said.

You know Gene Kelly got the flu, right?’

It’s a little known fact that Gene Kelly and his co-director Stanley Donan spent three days filming the choreography for that title sequence, by which time Kelly got so sick he had to spend a week in bed. I like to think that this is a neat metaphor for life. You can’t be that happy without suffering the consequences of the mindless bliss soon after.

Of course I presented this theory to her: ‘You’re too pragmatic for your own good. Enjoy the highs while you can, otherwise you will be waiting for the lows your entire life.’ This was why I liked her.

That was two weeks ago.

We turn up to that party together as a couple for the first time. Nobody I know is here, and I hate going to parties. It is like everybody knew my life story before I arrived. I would be greeted not with a hello, but always with a slight pause ‘So you’re the famous guy who talks politics and teaches at University that we keep hearing about?’ That question always sounded the same, the tone was almost condescending with a hint of surprise. I knew that it was going to be a long night.

‘We’ve also been told you’re a movie buff?’
‘I am indeed’ I nod
‘Have you been subjected to Singin’ in the Rain yet? You know it is her favourite movie of all time? She makes everyone watch it’
I smile widely, taking a slight pause for effect.
‘You know Gene Kelly got the flu, right?’ I add

There she was in the back of the room with that grin of hers, trying to suppress laughter. Somehow I knew that grin that meant we would be more than friends. That even though I could not sing in the rain for fear of damage to my wheelchair, the song, the music and the words would stay with me forever.

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