Sunday, September 10, 2006

Reliving the past

I think everyone would like to see parts of one's life again as if in a movie. Especially those who have experienced watching a movie again decades later. How much had been forgotten! And yet, how many details had been preserved for years! In my case, I had an extra reason to see movies of my childhood again after I learned English. Now I could listen to the original dialogues and even evaluate the translation.

That's why, if I could choose one passage of my life to see again in a movie, it would be the trip I took to the United States when I was 13. I stayed there for two weeks, but I'd be content with a 2-hour digest. Not to show the Walt Disney World attractions and others, as these are still there and haven't changed much. And even those that have changed have been preserved in documentaries and private movies. No: what I would really like to hear is what the Americans were saying to us and about us. For instance, the chambermaid trying to communicate with me then calling the hotel administration. I think she understood that I was telling her not to clean the room and called to check whether it was OK.

One night, before going to sleep, I and my roommates watched a rock performance on TV. I didn't recognize the group or the song, but I remember the chorus was so simple that one of my friends began singing along in excitement. Years later I learned that there was a TV show called "Midnight Special". As the name says, it was broadcasted at midnight and had music as its main feature. I assumed that it was this show that we saw on that occasion, but the curiosity about the group remained. Today I finally realized that at least this piece of information could be looked up on the Internet. And I think I've solved the puzzle.

Our departure to the United States was on July 14th 1974. On the 19th, one of the "Midnight Special" guests was the group Brownville Station. Today this name is not strange to me. Their biggest hit was "Smoking in the Boys' Room" and I have it on one of those "Have a Nice Day" 70's compilations. But one of the songs they sang on that show was "I'm The Leader of The Gang (I Am)", whose original recording by Gary Glitter I would hear many years later. I obviously didn't recognize it as "that" song I had heard in an Orlando hotel in 1974. But today, after hearing a sound bite of Brownsville Station's version on the Amazon site and seeing pictures of the group, I'm sure it was them. The chorus that was easy to sing was "come on, come on". The next step would be to try to find this performance on video.

One question that will be harder to answer is about a movie that was playing on another night, which included football (American football, not soccer) scenes. I think I could even understand one line. A character was talking about a player and he said: "I forget his name, but I'll never forget his number". (I suppose he said "I forget…" If he had said "I forgot…", I wouldn't have understood.) Some day I shall solve this mystery, too.


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