Ian C. Smith
The Movie in My Mind

Exiting the M6 for Liverpool, January 1984, thankful for the heater in my tin can car bought to stretch travel costs, I felt like a film noir private eye searching for this mysterious disappeared dame, Molly, my aunt who dumped her husband during WWII, with two small children in tow, and a past.

With a twenty-year old address from the Records Office, a marriage of one of her children, surnames unusual, I plodded door-to-door, sky a thin wash, those acrid streets stained by Thatcherism, shuttered shops, rubbish desperately clinging to fences, wind, prospects, bitter, but kind folk listened, my tale, Aussie accent, fogged breath, the idea of a quest, igniting tiny sparks.

About the time of my teenage cousin’s marriage that mirrored my first I quit smoking, but still liked a drink, so pub-crawling together, bursting into swaying song, the bandage of sore people, all smoking, building the screenplay of my imagination in that coarse, hoarse atmosphere where nobody walked alone I pictured myself played by Albert Finney as a bipolar yet cool ambitious wit, not a self-indulgent interloper.

The screenplay stillborn, my research did spawn an episode of a corny TV programme presented by a raucous scouse pop sweetheart my aunt, now a sweet old dame, secret history intact, liked, resulting in a London rendezvous for ageing family members, their struggles glossed over.

Dreams behind me now, hours still, as in a mortuary, a review of a movie set in Liverpool in the 1980s transports me to headstrong days when my cousin slept at his girlfriend’s, vacating his little flat for me, the scald of that land of drama and conflict, a time of big ideas, of hope propelling us into those dreams.