i remember the day i cried.
at heart i am a big old softie.
the weary sarcastic hard bitten cynic i often appear to be is just camouflage to hide my inner mancry. but the real me is so ready to weep that i might as well have been a luvvie – just a shame i can't act.
way back when, we used to go the cinema after work - sometimes a group of us, sometimes just a few. finish the job, rush to the west end, see a movie, home. a great way to relax.
titan was a place were lots of similarly minded people worked – most of us liked visual culture and most of us liked film – we may not have known much about the ins and out of cultural theory but to whip out an old saw 'we knew what we liked'.
me? i have always had a simple relationship with most of the things i go to see – i like a straightforward story,i am not someone who worries about subtext and complex hidden meanings. tell me that the killing of a character is representative of the end of patriarchy and i will probably snort like a pig while trying not to laugh.
start middle and end, stuff happening because well stuff happens and not because it is a metaphor or an allegory for something else.
never claimed to be an intellectual, shallow as the day is long. call me puddle.
this particular evening it was just my pal paul and i, not really sure how we choose the movie. it might have been that there was nothing else on, it might have been that we liked his previous movie for whatever reason we rocked up to see the latest kevin costner movie. little did i know it would change my life forever.
one of the things that myself and paul had in common was a capacity to eat a lot of sweet stuff. so before a movie there was determined walk to the concession stand to load up: chocolates, sucky sweets, ice cream, crisps all up for grabs. all topped off with a large helping of diet coke – this always got an amused grin from whoever was serving us and my protestation that i preferred the taste of diet coke fell on deaf ears – but it was true: honest.
laden with supplies we sit and watch 'field of dreams'. it is an amiable life affirming movie. it is sort of a baseball movie but it is also ...fuck i am doing subtext. anyway he builds it they come and everyone in the movie turns in pretty fantastic performances. then right at the end there is a scene (and i am not going to tell you what it is because i know some philistine out there hasn't watched it) and as this scene progress i get more emotional until such time as i am weeping, i casually lift my hand to wipe away the tears in an 'oh look i have something in my eye' type gesture. at this paul has looked around and asked in what can only be described as utter amazement 'are you crying?'
the concept of what happens in the cinema stays in the cinema never occurred to paul. so he blabbed, and by the time i had gotten to work pretty much everyone knew i was a blubberer, now there are several very valid reasons why this particular scene in 'field of dreams' hit me so hard, but to be honest they are almost beside the point at this stage.
i took a bit of ribbing about my blubbing.
forward a year or so and paul gets me a copy of the movie on video as a birthday present.
my mum was a big burt lancaster fan, he plays one of the main characters in the movie, a symbol of... (see look there i go again). one christmas it was on the tele and i told her she should watch it. in one of those familiar happy memories it was a chilly evening, fire on. light out, mum laid out on the couch, me in the comfy chair.'field of dreams' comes on we settle back to watch and enjoy. about 15 minutes in i can feel the first sniffle coming on. i am welling up. a casual wipe away. i needn't have bothered with the subterfuge mum had nodded off. as the film progressed she would go from gentle snores to gale force snores.
she didn’t get to see burt.
she didn't get to see me blub.
the video allowed me to watch field of dreams whenever i wanted. continued viewings just strengthened the mancry. it used to be that i just cried at the end of field of dreams. with each subsequent viewing there was another scene that touched an emotional trigger and off would go the waterworks. sometimes it was just a small welling up, others a full on niagara falls of tears just streaming down my cheeks. it got to the stage that just picking up the video or dvd case brought on tears. there was at least one viewing that i may as well have been watching from the bottom of a swimming pool.
the mancry wasn't just happy coming out for field of dreams. oh no. now it had tasted freedom there was no putting it back, no holding it in check.
i was a full on mancrier.
going to the cinema was now an emotional test. yes i teared up at marley and me – but damn it i was supposed to – its a dog dies in the end movie. but tears at a steven seagal movie? come on that is just not right. there are now a growing number of songs that are guaranteed to make me sniffle – and i have no reason why. there i am enjoying an episode of dr. who and bosh tears. there i am looking at the news in syria and nothing but the last episode of supergirl: call me weepy.
there is no rhyme or reason to what brings out the mancry – it lurks just waiting to break the surface and gush out.
a corollary of the impact of hat field of dreams had on me is no matter what kevin costner does he will always be a favourite of mine – up there with bruce and orson, and above steve and jean claude.
so there you have it. what started as a heartfelt weep in a cinema many years ago has now turned me into a blubberer of no distinction – anything is likely to set me off.
perhaps it is tourettes?
but do you know what? i have discovered something good and special – it is good to cry.
just not in front of anyone who will tell your mates.