Not A Film Club

“Who else is gonna bring you a broken arrow
Who else is gonna bring you a bottle of rain
There he goes moving across the water
There he goes turning my whole world around”

  • Robbie Robertson

  It all started last year when Glenn, Benny, Gerry, and Trevor called to visit me one sunny afternoon while I was in the Chemolympics. We were sitting out the back and Glenn said  “This would be a great wee spot to have an outdoor cinema.” We all agreed and this then led to a conversation about what movie we should watch.

We bandied about classics like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Harvey, and then someone suggested ‘The Last Waltz’ , The Band’s final concert filmed by Martin Scorsese and featuring guest appearances by Muddy Waters, Dr. John, Van Morrisson, Neil Young, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. Trevor said he’d never seen it, so that was that. We’d arrange a showing of The Last Waltz with popcorn, wine and beer soon…

Operations, life, and laziness got in the way and before we knew, it was New Year’s Eve, and we were all sending each other messages and Trevor said “…can someone just book The Pig for a Thursday evening in January ?”

I said we’d go the very next Thursday, the 5th, and I’d arrange a screen to show ‘The Last Waltz’, in the snug and dinner.

Everyone said ‘Yes’.

On the Tuesday Trevor asked to postpone due to a Covid scare. So we rescheduled for the 12th.

On the 9th I got a hospital appointment and we changed it to the 19th.

Benny introduced a penalty for any future postponements of a bottle of Rioja.

Gerry had to attend a funeral on the 20th , so we postponed it to the 26th…and finally got to meet up last night, February 9th. My brothers John and Stephen agreed to join us.

We met at 7pm and as we made our way to the snug I said hello to Fred, a distinguished gentleman of leisure, whom I hadn’t seen in a while.

“What are you lot up to ?”

We’re having a bite to eat and watching The Last Waltz.

“The Band ??? They split up before punk started !”

Still good though.

“Is there no football on ?”

I wished him, and his long suffering better half, well and followed the gang into the snug. I was just sitting down when I remembered that Fred had previously caused me huge embarrassment when I was 10 and in Mr.McCagues class in the CBS boys school. Mr. McCague had asked us to write some limericks about sport for homework.

Fred’s mother, Mrs.C, maker of very fine foosies, had worked in Hallidays’ shoe factory in Dundalk with my Mum, so when we moved to Monaghan when I was 9, the Cliffords were the only people we knew. Mark went to the same school and I regularly went home with him after school and was collected my Mum or Dad on their way home from work.

Mrs.C would have some buns, lemon meringue or cream sponge cake ready for us, and then we’d play Subbuteo, or play outside. Mark’s older siblings Anne, Peter and Fred tolerated us, and on one occasion I was given almost 100 old ‘Shoot’ magazines. Shoot was a weekly English football magazine, full of interviews, match commentaries and colour team photographs. I devoured them.

So when I got the homework assignment I knew already that I was going to write about football. I flicked through the magazines and focused on Charlie George, Arsenal forward and regular feature of interviews and photos in Shoot.

I can still remember the start of it :

Charlie George, what a name,

He plays for Arsenal all the same,

His hair is long,

He’s very strong,

And he scores in every game.

I was asked to read it out loud in front of the class and got the sense that my classmates and teacher were laughing at me, not with me.

“Who’s Charlie George ?” my teacher asked.

‘He plays for Arsenal.’ I answered.

“Are you sure ?”

‘Yes, I read it in Shoot. They won the double, and he scored a goal in the final.’

“That was 8 years ago. Sit down.”

I went neon pink as I looked at the floor and made my way to desk, avoiding the mocking stares of my classmates.

It was only when I went home and checked that I realised that Fred had given me his copies of Shoot from 1970/71, and to my surprise found out after speaking to Dad that Huddersfield Town, Southampton and Blackpool were no longer in the First Division.

Anyway, we ordered food, and chatted about everything and nothing.

We were having great craic and had to be reminded by our host, Ray, that we had a movie to watch.

We had more craic watching it, so much in fact that we watched it twice…and would have watched it a third time only Ray chased us out.

We agreed to go if he gave us tequila, which seemed like a wise and sensible transaction at the time, but on mournful reflection all day today, wasn’t.

BUT we’re all set to do it again in six weeks…with Super Troopers.



Author: paul

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