My love of movies can be traced back to a juvenile series of transgressions. It was, in many ways, a serendipitous chance acquaintance motivated by an insatiable thirst to develop my recently discovered and all-consuming love of the opposite sex.
At impossible late hours like 11.30 (the Seymour family retires early) I used to painstakingly creep downstairs, spending minutes navigating the stairs and slowly opening wooden doors, impotently attempting to muffle every grind and creak. My 13 year-old self had an almost pathological fear of being caught by a somnambulist parent who would find me crouched, eyes-wide and pyjama-clad, bathed in the flickering grey halo of Television X’s 10 minute preview. Always wondered where the phrase red-handed originated.
There were tests and challenges along the way. If the cat managed to run between your legs as you entered the living room, she’d make a fee-line (get it?) for the comfort of my parent’s duvet. In this scenario, you would have to very quickly take one of two available options:
Option 1) chase the cat.
Option 2) as silently as possible, leg it.
Secret option number three, which I tried only once, was to hide outside in the winter’s air until the cat had been redeposited. Unfortunately, the sound of me coming in again through the front door justifiably led my progenitors to believe they were the recipients of a break in. On that occasion, I was at a loss.
Within this youthful journey of discovery, I accidently exposed myself to a lot of dreadful films (thankyou Channel 5) and a few very good films (mostly Channel 4). I also gained a more detailed knowledge of the numerous plot-lines in Sex and the City than a 13 year-old should because, to put it bluntly, it had the word ‘sex’ in the title. I was experiencing more tension than a G20 rally and we only had five channels, so try not to judge me.
On one of my midnight journeys, this time with rogue cat safely pacified, I became ensconced in what I now know to be The Graduate, the 1967 cult movie that launched Dustin Hoffman’s unlikely career as a sex symbol.
“Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me… aren’t you?” mutters young college graduate Benjamin to middle-aged Mrs Robinson (played by Anne Bancroft, only six years older than Hoffman in real life). Unwittingly, I was witness to one of the most famous seduction scenes in the movies. A recent child of juvenile and confused sexuality, I did not know what to do with myself.
I love it when art seems to aline with reality, so the sad news of Peter Robinson’s demise as Northern Ireland’s first minister was for me tainted by a little tit-bit of comedy. Thanks to Mrs Robinson’s midnight discoveries, I’m assuming a young, ruddy-faced Dustin Hoffman won’t be appearing on RTE’s channels anytime soon.