An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

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Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

13 October 2010


When I was seven or eight years old Da brought home a rented Betamax tape of Xanadu. I loved it! I loved the celebratory music and the joyous cinematography. I was especially enthralled to see that the Nine Muses knew how to jazz dance to the Electric Light Orchestra, wearing their ruffled dresses, with their hair Farah Fawcett-like and their slouchy leg warmers Jane Fonda-like. Gene Kelly was there, and so were roller skates. What more could a girl growing up in the eighties want? Of course I watched the movie over and over.

After about a week, Da had to return the Betamax tape to the Betamax rental store, and rented several more really good movies for me every week after that -- Chorus Line, Electric Dreams, Flashdance, Body Rock, The Goonies, Footlose, The Pirate Movie, St. Elmo’s Fire -- but I found that none of them were as feel-good as Xanadu.

Maybe it was the fantasy of it, and the allusion to Greek mythology (even as early as that, I already loved the age-old stories that form part of the literary tradition). Maybe it was the fresh-faced innocence of it. Maybe it was the character of Olivia Newton John, which made me feel like a happy young girl who would never have any problems in life, unlike the burdened, neurotic, damaged girls in the other eighties movies.

That it was a big flop then was irrelevant to me; I had no idea it was a big flop until I was nearing my thirties, when I Googled it, looking for a DVD copy to purchase. And when I finally found a DVD, I re-watched the movie, for the umpteenth time, and relished it as if it were the first time. And I watched it three times in a row. And then I realized that I when I was seven or eight, I did have my own Xanadu. I was a fresh-faced and innocent happy young girl who didn’t have any problems, I lived my summers the way I wanted to, and had everything I needed. And all because of Da, who has given me that Xanadu, both the movie and the paradise.

I still watch my own DVD copy of Xanadu from time to time. Now I am hardly the fresh-faced, innocent, leg warmers-wearing happy young girl who would never have any problems in life. Over time, I have gradually become a version of the burdened and the ever-so-slightly neurotic, as life only so often turn us into, but that’s okay. Because I’ve had my Daddy-sanctioned Xanadu, and the memory of it will see me through for the rest of my life.

Thanks for Xanadu, Da. Happy birthday!

And of course, Happy October Thirteen!

[Posts for previous birthdays: 2007, 2008, 2009

[Imade credits: 1, 2]


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