On Mondays, I host Movie Night at the Legion.
I hadn’t long been on the Committee, the youngest one there, and I was struggling to find my feet. I didn’t have the experience of bars or the military charities to really add anything to the discussion. I was the spectator at the feast.
At the time, the Club was failing. We’d lost some of our local skittles teams, so many locals thought of the place as an old man pub, all our staff were paid, and the pipes weren’t cleaned until they were ready to slither through the door.
I have always loved films, and discovered that this was a way I could contribute to the better running of the Club. It didn’t hurt that knowing about films made me seem a lot more intelligent.
Somehow, there are people who read a decent memory as intelligence. I used to watch the quiz shows in the afternoons with my mother. One day, my uncle said a contestant, on something fairly cheap, was very clever to know who invented the hovercraft.
My mother replied, “We’re all blessed with certain gifts. Remembering the achievements of others is not a skill to envy.”
To my mother’s chagrin, I can remember a vast amount of trivia. None of it is even remotely useful, but I can remember it. It is, by no means, a life-skill. It’s not like knowing the symptoms of diverticulitis, or reciting pi to two-hundred decimal places; who redubbed Andie MacDowell’s lines in ‘Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan’ (1984), is more my level.
Anywho, six years and three-hundred films later, Movie Night is firmly entrenched as part of the ebb and flow of Club life.
Due to the relative success of Movie Night there have, inevitably, been imitators. I promise, I say this without a smidgeon of self-satisfaction because, frankly, I haven’t liked many of them.
Incidentally, I don’t pretend to be the first ever to have come up with the concept of a Movie Night for charitable purposes. I am just the first in this village, at this time, with all appropriate licenses, and a bar.
Of the others who have tried to follow, the best has been hosted by the Twinning Committee. This is the thing, you see. If you get to thirty without children, or sixty-and-change with grown children, you have to join a committee. It’s just the way of things.
(It was Glenn Close. If you’re anything like me, that Andie MacDowell question has been driving you mad. Andie MacDowell’s accent was deemed too heavy, so they brought in Glenn Close.)
The Twinning Committee are the people who travel to other, generally European, towns and marry our local area to theirs. It seems to me that it’s rather like taking on a pen pal. Who you go on holiday and stay with. And because we all have a little bit of town-pride, we all try and make our area seem wonderful. As such, the Twinners have a brilliant time, trying fine French cheeses in Normandy and great German beers in Stuttgart. And on their one or two tries at Movie Night, they have brought great titles starring Franke Potente. As such, I have time for the Twinners.
Other notable attempts at Movie Night have been under the direction of the PTFA. These too have taken place at the Club. The difference is, at my Movie Night, there are adults and they watch the film. At the PTFA ones, the kids take selfies at the bar to look grown-up, and text each other. All the way through. Start to finish. We could have a power cut. They would never know.
Back to my world. On Monday, I showed ‘Hidden Figures’. Brand-new and out on the day, I had a good crowd. They loved the film. I love anything with Octavia Spencer in it.
‘Hidden Figures’ was exceptional. If you haven’t, you really must watch it. Not being American, I have no idea if this story has been known over the pond for quite some time. Somehow, I doubt it. But it’s a hell of a film, about working hard in the face of adversity and discrimination, and it’s a true story. Nothing can beat a true story.
The proof that my Movie Nighters loved it: they applauded. They never applaud. Not since the very early days of Movie Night, when my dear friend and near-enough Granddad Ivor used to come up, has anyone applauded. Ivor might not have liked the film. Might even have grown bored of it, but he’d always applaud. He even clapped for ‘Supersize Me’, and I know for a fact that he didn’t like that one. We lost Ivor a couple of months ago, and I can’t tell you how much I miss him. He was my dearest friend.
One of the lads from the shop came up and had a couple of beers. He hadn’t been to the Club before, but he works with Aimée, and many of the former shop workers have somehow gravitated towards the Club. It helps that we have booze.
I had a good, long talk with him. I think it might have been a little strange for him to see his shop customers in a more relaxed setting. He’s terribly polite and friendly, so I think he’ll like the Club a lot. An awfully nice chap, he reminds me of a young Jimmy Stewart.
As it happens, he’s quite new to the area. I think I may have ruined him. He didn’t even know about the wife swappers.