Welcome to the last week of March and another Monday Magic on a beautiful spring day. We have managed two cinema trips this week – yes, two! – to see very different films but both equally striking.
The first was Bohemian Rhapsody and I know that we are very late to the party. The portrayal of Queen and particularly Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury were outstanding (if sanitised!). It is difficult not to be swept along by the soundtrack of Queen’s greatest hits and then for those of us who remember Live Aid, the depiction of the concert in the old Wembley Stadium was a true trip down memory lane. What I hadn’t expected was to be so overcome with emotion towards the end of the film and find myself in tears by the end. The depiction of a hospital waiting room and a young, emaciated man sporting a a very particular lesion on his face took me straight back to the late 80s and my London teaching hospital.
It was an extraordinary time to be working in one of the few hospital’s with a dedicated HIV and AIDS unit (see my previous posts here and here). As young nurses we were confronted by fear and ignorance of a disease that then carried a death sentence and also by a greater intolerance of same sex relationships. I can remember being asked if I had to touch the patients, or if they had different bedsheets and what happened to their cutlery after they ate!! There were question marks about applying for mortgages and if you sustained a needle stick injury the subsequent HIV test would definitely reduce your chance of being granted a mortgage. Then there was the series of commercials run in the UK by the government – brutal, scare mongering and to the point. But for me the film brought with it a sea of faces – young men – all robbed of life at such a young age. It was the first time that most of us had been confronted by the certainty of death in patients who were in our own age group. We were comforting parents and getting to know groups of friends who might have been our own. Those names and faces remain with me all these years later and as Freddie Mercury declared that he wouldn’t be a poster boy for HIV on the big screen, the tears flowed as I was transported back to that ward in 1990.
Last night we went to a special cinema screening to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the “Great Escape” – that is the actual escape during World War II that the Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough film was based on. Hosted by Dan Snow, historians were joined by family members of some of the actual RAF men who staged the escape in 1944, and also by actors and crew from the film made in 1963 to depict the events.
One of the stuntmen who set up the iconic Steve McQueen motorcycle stunt at the end of the film had been flown in from New Zealand – he had some stories!! I was really struck by the comment that it was an officer’s duty to attempt to escape and to create as much turmoil for the enemy – the Germans in this case – as possible. These men almost certainly did not expect to get home if they managed to escape, but they did plan to continue fighting and to be a thorn in Hitler’s side. Meanwhile the RAF were amongst those also remembering the men in Poland at the site of the POW camp, where the prisoners had dug out 75 years ago. It was a very long (nearly 5 hours) but worthwhile evening……even if I couldn’t stand up by the end!! When I popped my ankle out, hubby said we needed the inflatable evacuation aircraft chutes to get me down the cinema stairs….cheek!
So today I have been recuperating from my night out and have found a great variety of blog posts for you. I hope that you enjoy everything from the fire eating gutsy goddess to some fantastic tips about plastics and the planet…..sit back with a cuppa and enjoy!
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Have a great week,