Last week I took my 13 year old niece to see Hannah Montana The Movie. As I was sitting in the cinema I realised that I was exactly the same age as her when me and my odf (oldest and dearest friend) Siobhan, went to see the movie Dirty Dancing. I couldn’t help but wonder whether the Hannah Montana movie would have the same effect on my niece’s life as the Dirty Dancing movie had on ours!
From the moment Siobhan and I left the cinema – soundtracks were bought, posters of Patrick Swayze were strewn everywhere and the video was watched until it was worn out.
Dirty Dancing was the High School Musical of the 80’s!
I emulated the film whenever I could and staying with my family on campsites every year in France gave me the perfect surroundings to take my 13/14/15/16 year old self off and try and recreate the movie, to become Baby (heading to the games room and all sorts). The film soundtrack became the soundtrack to my adolescent years and every boy I met during those summers were, of course, a potential Johnny Castle!
When I was 25 after working in London for some years, I decided to throw caution to the wind and go to work at a holiday camp (Butlins) and really live the Dirty Dancing dream (I hoped). Amazingly enough, it really was like the movie (without the dancing) we even had our staff quarters and staff bar (no guests allowed)!
I carried lots of water melons and met my very own Johnny Castle – a relationship that i’m sure lasted longer than’Johnny and Baby did).
We (the Butlins girls) used to make the Butlins boys endure regular Dirty Dancing film nights at someones chalet, watching the movie over and over. I lived the dream for just one season (much like Baby) and I think in some small way I do have the film to thank for such a life changing experience.
Years after first watching the film, when we were all grown up; Siobhan found her Johnny Castle right on her doorstep – no holiday camps required! I am still looking for mine and although I know that life will never be quite like a Dirty Dancing movie, every now and then I do still get to carry a water melon…..