Last night I decided to and see the film ‘Ali’ at the near by UGC cinema complex. It had been raining in Glasgow most of the day and it seemed to have no intention of stopping. I have always loved the rain; ever since I was a child it gave me a feeling of security and comfort. Whilst most folk complain about the damp weather I revel in it, and enjoy it as much as a fine summer day.
As I stepped out into the neon flood of streetlights, the rain and wind hit my face immediately, and with films on my mind I was transported to the set of Blade Runner. I had another, more powerful, flashback though as I walked the few blocks to the Cinema. Back in 92, I spent a lot of time in New York whilst recording the ‘Being There’ album and had a lot of time to hang on my own. Many nights after recording sessions had finished, or while Ben (Wisch) was mixing tracks, I would wander the streets and end up going to the movies. It was a very exciting time in my life, and it felt as if the brain had stored the feeling and just needed a certain password of circumstances to unlock a snap shot of pounding the streets in a distant City, with time on my hands. Later on, as I watched the very enjoyable portrait of the life of Muhammad Ali, I had further sensation of travelling back in time. Ali was one of my boy hood heroes; I loved the way he spoke out in such a forceful way but with always a hint of humour. Whilst being a little too young to understand much of the context or message, I recognised that this was someone very special, and I followed all he did with interest. I can remember asking my Dad to read out to me the round by round reports from our local newspaper, and wishing I could go to the late night screening of the fights in cinema’s as it wasn’t shown on TV. I was gutted the few times he ever lost, as it always seemed he was invincible, but equally elated when another victory was gained. It seemed right to me that he was the Champ. Watching the film took me back to many of those boyhood memories and, as the pictures began to inspire as Ali’s story was told, I found a strange sense of purpose filtering through to me. We are often discouraged from looking backwards, but I do find myself lingering there at times. However, it’s usually only long enough to find that which I need to get me back to where I am, and looking forward. We are the sum of all these moments. Life always seems a little bigger for the first few moments after you leave the Cinema having seen a great film; one is determined to put some lesson learned into practice or to try and improve on some aspect of our lives, maybe that’s the job of a good film. There were small tell tale moments of remembrance during the movie that somehow plugged me into what it is I’m about and what I try to do. It’s as if we get to touch our purpose for a few moments so that we can remember what we’re about. So it was, with a fresh touch of that purpose that I pulled the collar up on my coat and hit the street back to the hotel. The rain hadn’t abated at all and when I leaned out of my hotel window a half hour later I embraced the comfort and security it whispered to me and felt strangely content, if only for a moment.