Thursday, November 22, 2007
I was gutted. I couldn't go. I had students to teach. And while I sat in my William Morris chair, with my students heads bowed over a passage by Barry Lopez about a Quechan stone horse, the clock on the mantelpiece ticking away, my old friends Jon Reed and Julie Howell were up at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank, watching a film I haven't seen for years; a film that half the sixth-form at Collingwood College ended up being able to quote, line for line. Oh, it was all I could do not to burst into tears.
The film was Smashing Time. A 1967 send-up of Swinging London of enormous silliness. Jon's written about the screening and the film itself here. Now I'm even more gutted. I shall have to get it on dvd. Even now, my brother and I come out with lines from this movie at opportune moments.
Should I see it again, I know I won't be mired in that faintly ghastly snows-of-yesteryear feeling that you get viewing once-treasured shows from one's childhood. That sickening "Oh. This is terrible!" feeling that opens up the same, poignant gap in your heart as seeing how tiny the chairs were at primary school; how small in reality its once-cavernous assembly hall.
Smashing Time was always rubbish. That's why everyone I know loved it so much. Damn, I wish I'd gone to see it.
Random fact: in that first clip on Jon's page, those session musicians in their psychedelic garb are in fact members of the great and good group Tomorrow, which morphed, later, into Yes. Da da!