One of the truly enjoyable things about having kids is that you get to torment them with tales of what life was like when YOU were young. And one of the very best parts of this, is that you can make them watch movies and TV shows from your youth.
Last night I sat down with my son (let’s call him ‘Jacob’) and made him watch Pink Floyd’s 1982 release of The Wall – the film of the album. I was younger than Jake is now when I saw it for the first time, and I wasn’t sure whether the intervening years would have softened its impact for me, OR how he would view it, as a child of the 21st century.
I spent (as far as I can recall) pretty much the whole of my 6th form year lying alone in the lounge with giant headphones on, listening to the album on vinyl, and feeling incredibly earnest and angry and disenfranchised, not an easy task, given my happy 1970s and ’80s suburban childhood and completely normal middle-class Kiwi upbringing.
Watching The Wall (I was fascinated to find) took me straight back to being 16 again, and I found the movie just as disturbing and unsettling as that very first time. Then, I thought it was all about the power of yoof, and rage against the machine, and all that stuff (did I mention I was a little naive?) Now I can see that it’s all about Pink’s personal descent into psychosis. Now I’m a real grown-up, the flaws in the movie are all apparent, but still it gave me goosebumps. And again I had to cover my eyes during that scene: the one where he shaves … I know you know what I’m talking about.
At the very end of the movie, I looked at the boy-child, and he looked at me, and he said, “So, how am I supposed to feel about this movie?” I had no answer for this. What would you have said? Do you have memories of movies that you watched as a child, or a teen, that rocked your world? Do you torment your own children in this way too?
(Also, a cry for help – where on earth did I watch the movie, and what year did it actually screen here? I’m thinking 1983 or 1984, and am picking the old Metro in Worcester Street. Several skilled librarians have set their minds to confirming this, but to no avail thus far. All offers of information gratefully received!).