The Dirty Dozen

Having had the usual post-walk shower last night, and due another walk today, it seemed rather pointless to shower again this morning just to work up another big sweat. So, unshaven, unshowered and wearing some of the same kit as yesterday, I set out on a 12 mile stroll (how cocky does that sound?) on another pleasant yet chilly morning. A ‘dirty dozen’ if you like.

As a child and even as a young adult, I was never that keen on films – probably attention span issues – and it was only after I started going out with Pam that I had much interest at all. The Dirty Dozen was one of only a very few films that I had enjoyed, and I thought it funny to see Telly Savalas in something other than Kojak! If I were now to pick my dozen films that are my favourites (in no particular order): Twelve Angry Men, Shawshank Redemption, Pretty Woman (yeah, trash, I know, but a number of wonderful set pieces), American Beauty, Les Diaboliques, It’s a Wonderful Life, Goodfellas, Million Dollar Baby, Lion King and three Hitchcocks: Psycho, North by Northwest and the very underrated Strangers on a Train.

I’m not quite Barry Norman but my Mastermind specialist subject would be the films of Sir Alfred Hitchcock. An obsession that started with three free DVDs (Rebecca, Spellbound and Notorious) from The Times about ten years ago and continued so far that I have every one of his films on DVD except four (one of which has no known copies in existence), and watched every one a number of times.

But the film I have watched the most number of times is undoubtedly Lion King. It was one of Matt’s favourites as an infant and (as children do) he loved the familiarity; I reckon I have seen it about 50 times. We also used to have to act out scenes and I had to turn up to work as a lecturer with a couple of massive scratches on my face after being gored by Simba (I was playing the part of Scar). By coincidence, one of my lectures was on crime statistics and underreporting of domestic violence. How convincing was I? It really is quite a serious subject but I did hear more than a snigger when I tried to explain away my new facial features. Luckily, Matt didn’t watch Psycho until he was much older otherwise I would certainly have been locking the bathroom door when I was having a shower.

By the way, I have had a shower now. Smells like Teen Spirit. Or is it Old Spice?


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