I first saw Alan Bates on the Big Screen when I watched Whistle Down The Wind aged eleven; at the end of the film I wanted to live with Hayley Mills.
I watched Zorba the Greek aged fifteen; at the end of the film I wanted to live with Alan Bates.
In the mid-sixties people were just beginning to travel en masse for foreign holidays but I had never left the UK; watching Zorba with my friends was an almost overwhelming experience, the slaughter of the Widow unsettling my young mind for a considerable time. It was a true culture shock to a female teenager in the burgeoning permissive society where women were openly battling for equality; even though the book had been published about twenty years earlier I did not question that life on Crete was still similar.
Yes, we danced Zorba’s Dance round Oxford, annoying people in general but particularly policemen who had not been trained to deal with young women who were drunk on life rather than on alcohol. Yes, the locations filled my head with dreams of foreign travel. But much more significantly my understanding of adult emotions had lurched forwards in one shocking leap.
The first Quote from the book I have never been able to answer: the second Quote I am trying to prove wrong.
“Look, one day I had gone to a little village. An old grandfather of ninety was busy planting an almond tree. ‘What, grandfather!’ I exclaimed. ‘Planting an almond tree?’ And he, bent as he was, turned around and said: ‘My son, I carry on as if I should never die.’ I replied: ‘And I carry on as if I was going to die any minute.’ Which of us was right, boss?”
“All those who actually live the mysteries of life haven’t the time to write, and all those who have the time don’t live them! D’you see?”