Happy birthday, mum

It should be my mum’s birthday today. She should be here with us and delighting in the flowers I always arranged to have delivered to her. I’m trying my best not to dwell on it, but it’s bloody hard. She should be with us and she’s not, she was ripped away from us. I don’t think I’ll ever really come to terms with that. I miss her every day and I worry about hard it must be for my dad.

I’m trying not to dwell on it, but of course it wells up. I’ve planned ahead a little and made sure I don’t need to spend free time doing extra work as I often do of an evening. And I’ve picked up one of my favourite films cheap recently and kept it aside especially for tonight: Singing in the Rain. It’s very difficult for the Black Dog of depression and despair to get it’s foul smelling fangs into you when you have Gene Kelly singing and dancing with that wonderful, big smile of his. I think I’m going to try and ignore most everything else and go and watch my film.

Happy birthday, mum, I love you, always.

Singin’ in the rain

TCM is screening Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds in the classic 1952 musical Singin’ in the Rain and for a couple of hours I just sit there with a big grin on my face and a strange look from the cats as I give in to the urge to sing and dance along. Generally speaking I don’t care for musicals and never have, but I have a soft spot for Gene Kelly because he’s just such an incredible dancer (he also buries the stereotype of a male dancer as effeminate, clearly strongly built, well muscled and fit, as many dancers have to be – it isn’t for weaklings!) in general (the dance around the fountain in An American In Paris is another amazing scene by Kelly) and for this movie in particular. Much as I generally find musicals annoying and trite I simply can’t dislike Singin’ in the Rain; it is one of those films which transcends all genre barriers, probably why it has become embedded in popular culture for half a century.

And then there is that scene, the titular song, a smiling Gene Kelly in the pouring rain dancing because he is in love and even raindrops and puddles seem beautiful. Its exuberant and a classic movie marriage of song and dance that never fails to make me happy. It is a scene that is what I normally refer to as a Triple MMagical Movie Moment. That’s the scene which , regardless of the rest of the film, the genre, the period, simply works to transport you for a few moments to an utterly spellbound world. Singin’ in the Rain has it, the duel in verse in Cyrano de Bergerac has it, the opening scenes to Blade Runner and the original Star Wars have it, the Big Blue is littered with underwater scenes which do it, A Matter of Life and Death and the Red Shoes are similarly replete with scenes which take me to another world, while a few movies like Casablanca, Amelie and the Wizard of Oz are almost entirely full of such Triple M scenes.

Every time the crowd in Rick’s Cafe Americain sings the Marseilles in the face of the Nazi troops I want to stand and sing – I’m there in that moment. Dorothy and her friends dancing down the Yellow Brick Road? I want to tap along to them. Singin’ in the Rain? Yes, I have a few times, actually – pouring down, brolly in hand, you can either get infuriated at being drenched or you can think, sod it, smile and start whistling that tune. I know which I prefer to do and I’m pretty sure its better for me from a psychological point of view (even if it gets me odd looks, but to hell with those folks!).

And if it makes you happy and puts a grin on your lips then who cares what anyone else thinks – let the stormy clouds chase them all from the place – I’ve got a great big smile on my face. Of course, its even better in the cinema; the lights go down, an enclosed dark space full of people in a shadowy, enchanted theatre of fantastic delights, the glowing screen and one of those movies with one of those scenes, pure and magnificent Magical Movie Moment, they just make life so much better…




I’m singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain

What a glorious feelin’

I’m happy again

I’m laughin
g at clouds
So dark up above

The sun’s in my heart

And I’m ready for love

Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place

Come on with the rain

I’ve a smile on my face
I walk down the lane

With a happy refrai
Just singin’,

Singin’ in the rain

Dancin’ in the rain

Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
I’m happy again!
I’m singin’ and dancin’ in the rain!

I’m dancin’ and singin’ in the rain…”