You Are A Part of My Being
My first memory of film wasn’t the most romantic of introductions. There was no being blown away by the opening crawl of Star Wars in 1977 (I wouldn’t be born for another eleven years for a start.) There was no adrenaline rush of excitement as I witnessed Robocop burst into a Cocaine plant and lay waste to a bunch of bad guys as his theme music played out. No overwhelming sense of pride (no pun intended) at seeing Simba defeat Scar and take his rightful place as king.
My first memory of film was of watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as nothing but an innocent, little, wide-eyed ragamuffin. The world was pretty normal until that point. My days consisted of playing with toy robots and losing my frustration every time my car sped off the Scalextric track. Then one night I witnessed some evil dude drink from a golden chalice and subsequently age an entire lifetime in a matter of seconds. The terror I felt at seeing a man’s face disintegrate and hair grow out into straggly, grey wisps as he tightly grasped a hollering woman in his ever-dwindling hands was nothing short of horrific.
What followed was the deafening scream of a young child running out of the living room and diving into a big cardboard box of polystyrene pellets in the hallway. (We had just moved into our new home. That’s not something our family has as a permanent fixture.) Suffice it to say, I cried for about twenty minutes straight. Or at least, that’s what my mum tells me.
Suddenly life wasn’t just the humdrum of monotonous routine interspersed with the occasional joyous moment (like finding a lost picture book behind the sofa or having a load of sweets to devour after making my way through a tedious meal of broccoli and carrots (both of which I like now, I’m happy to report).) In the matter of a few mentally scarring minutes, my world had expanded to include limitless possibilities. I no longer had to settle for just sitting in my room and drawing over my brothers’ favourite books for amusement. Instead, I could be whatever I wanted to be, go wherever I wanted to go. All I had to do was pop a VHS in the cassette player and sit back, ready to be transported to somewhere magical.
My first memory of film may have been like a crash course in how to soil oneself, but since then cinema has become a part of my being. Another aspect to my personality that wasn’t there before. Since that fateful day cowering amongst a plethora of polystyrene pellets, my memories of film have been a matrix-like slew of data flowing through my mind – a collage of cinematic marvels imprinted on me forever. Whether it was of Ray Stantz dangling below a Manhattan street over a river of slime (I saw Ghostbusters 2 before I ever saw the first one) or watching a Tyrannosaurs Rex scoop up a Velociraptor in its mouth as a Jurassic Park banner gently falls down in front of it, cinema has continued to inform me as a person on this often great, often terrible planet we all call home.
So, for all that you’ve given me, and everything yet to come, I say thank you cinema.
I love you.