Saturday, June 20, 2009
not sure you should know this
Im not sure anybody should really know this. Im not sure because it doesn't paint me in a very good light.I first saw this amazing film 'Billy Liar' when I was 11 and it changed (to say the very least) my entire life.I will let the film trailer (above) tell you what this movie is about, and its about a lot.What I can tell you, or try to, is tell you what it means to me. I was a very very shy boy (I still am) I would blush and hide at the drop of a hat. As a boy I couldn't stand to be in a room full of people.I couldn't stand to read aloud in class (and that was before I was slapped across the face by a witch who pretended to be an English teacher) What Im trying to say is, my life up till seeing the movie 'Billy Liar' was a self imposed nightmare.Why? because everything as a child was so mentally harsh. Everything was cold, and in your face and direct, it all left very little room to roam in and out of colours and smells and warm stories. It was in fact, very grey with a slight chance of early afternoon thunderstorms. It was always the deadly three o'clock on a sunday afternoon, with the strong oder of someone else's bad English boiled cooking. It was always low wattage light bulbs hiding behind gaudy net lace curtains. It was garden gnomes dripping with the constant drizzle that seemed to last a lifetime.Damp nylon sheets...It was my life , it was England, it was death.
Then by chance or divine intervention, I was a little under the weather and stayed home from school (a rare treat).At the time there were only 3 channels BBC BBC2 and ITV. T.V. during the day usually consisted of 'How to make cheese' or a show about farm dogs. So when this jewel of a film appeared, I was lost...and found.
Its not that I suddenly developed an amazing talent for lying (I was already working on that, as all 11 year olds do,and I was bad at it, I still am) It was that this film taught me to invent, to make the best of a dreadful situation, and there were many. As a young artist, I needed this, I needed to know it was alright to break away from the normal constraints of every day mundane life.That it was alright to dream and use my young imagination to its fullest. Suddenly I had colour paints to play with, instead of one giant grey tube.It was a bigger canvass a bigger set of paints and a lot more brushes. I could go on and on about the impact this film had on me but I wont, I think you get the point.I watch this film at least twice a year to remind myself its o.k. to invent, its o.k. to see things in a different light. It is not alright though to hurt people , and I have. The influence of this film had nothing to do with that. In fact I wish it had, I would have an excuse.Im sorry about what happened and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you. Maybe one day I can tell you everything. I think about what 'Billy' would have said and in fact he did in the film' If I can get to the bottom of the road with my eyes shut, everything will be o.k.' If only that was true. After all its only a movie.