Monday, December 26, 2011

Neigh, Neigh and Thrice Neigh

One of the awkward things about being the child of divorced parents is the extended family. I've never got on with my stepdad's sons and their families. But my mum and sister do and yesterday we were the only ones left out of Christmas Dinner at my stepbrother's.

And so to the presents.

My mum likes going to see musicals in the afternoon. She's 80 and an evening performance is really a bit too late. So as a special treat she is now to see an evening performance of a play with her husband, stepchildren and step-grandkids.

Not any old play, though. It's War Horse.

From what I can gather, War Horse was originally a children's book written in the early 80s, for readers aged under 10. The play based on the book includes lifelike mechanical horses. It is a real tearjerker. Steven Spielberg has jumped on the bandwagon and made a film of the story.

From what I can gather, a book written for 8 year olds is seen as raw material for a family show. Not for 8 year olds but for a 13 year old boy, a 16 year old girl, a 45 year old woman, a 50 year old man, a 78 year old man and an 80 year old woman. All together, all feeling the same emotions, all releasing their inner child.

When I was 13, when I was 16, I would have hated the idea of my parents deciding my entertainment. It was my entertainment, my choice, I was an individual with my own ideas, would have hated to be associated with children's entertainment, wanted to be a grown-up.

I am now 50 and feel the same way and I'm sure I will if I reach 80.

But we have a generation of middle aged parents who refuse to grow up living vicariously through the inner children of teenagers and pensioners. "We've been and we know you'd love it. This is our gift to you, a chance for you to come back with us in wide-eyed innocent wonder to the land of childhood."

I'm sure my mum and stepdad will love it, despite the lateness of the performance. I'm sure the teenagers will love it, too. I'm sure I'd hate it as since I was 8 I've been old and cynical and unable to fit in with the crowd.


  1. I recall going to a Quentin Tarantino film one year on Christmas day with a friend who liked Christmas about as much as I do.

    She turned to me as we left the cinema and said, "Nothing says Christmas like Quentin Tarantino."

    And for both of us, it was a happier Christmas than if we'd watched "It's a Wonderful Life" with family members.

  2. You can choose your friends...

    I can't imagine my extended family watching a film as old as It's a Wonderful Life. It's all those horrible sickly kids' films on the telly over Christmas.

  3. Arabella2:29 PM

    Despite countless denials and corrections, the American family will have it that in New York I would be "seeing a show!" and "In Times Square!". Families are a kind of collective madness.
    I could describe the jazz clubs in detail, the champagne in Greenwich Village, and it'll still be "Did you see The Lion King?".

  4. We'll always be misunderstood!