Dot writes: so, the news came through yesterday that Patrick Swayze has died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 57. I remember him chiefly, as many must, for his role in Dirty Dancing. An awful film, if you think about it – a thin, contrived plot that manages to treat an extremely serious issue (abortion) as a peg for a trivial story about adolescent love and the performing arts. But to me, aged eleven, it was incredibly thrilling. The video was rated 15 but I daringly bought it in Boots (I was a large girl) and watched it in strict solitude, mortified at the very idea of sharing it with my parents. My best friend Marie was even more obsessed with it but I don’t remember us ever watching it together. However, someone in our class did persuade our decidedly peculiar Religious Education teacher that it would be a suitable end-of-term substitute for a proper lesson. In an hour-long class I don’t think we got much further than the ‘I-carried-a-watermelon’ part, but it still seems like an odd educational choice.
We had several RE teachers that year and what all of them had in common was a determination to avoid the topic of religion as far as they could. My main memory of the first is that she sang ‘House of the Rising Sun’ to us to her own accompaniment on guitar. The chap who showed us Dirty Dancing I recall mostly for his habit of fixing people with a personal stare and saying something like ‘I saw you in B & Q at the weekend’. How are you supposed to respond to that when you’re only eleven?
The fabric of memory is very tangled. RIP Patrick Swayze.