Back to the Future

There were some classic Hollywood blockbuster films back in the eighties: Top Gun, Ghostbusters, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Beverly Hills Cop, Gremlins, Flashdance, Fame, An Officer and a Gentleman, Big, Tootsie… a whole load  of movies that cashed in on merchandise and music and videos and the cult of the film star… But one has stayed with me for some reason and that is Back to the Future …

I first saw it on its release in Canada with a good friend in 1985. It blew me away – one of those films which you have to keep on playing inside your head to make sense of it all:  the way it plays with time and destiny and the decisions we make – it is a much deeper film than the slick production, special effects and fab actors suggest.

It was great to see it again on telly tonight, watching it for the hundredth time but now with my daughter who was equally blown away. It’s hardly aged – except that the ‘present’ of the film – 1985 – is now very much in the past – 26 years ago! Though for us teenagers of the eighties it seems like yesterday…

For anyone who has read my novel The Generation Game, you will see that I am slightly obsessed with the seventies and eighties – my childhood and teenage years. I love nostalgia and anything vintage or retro – you should see the junk I’ve collected in our house. It’s not just looking back with rose-tinted glasses – I remember Mrs Thatch all too clearly – the miners, the unemployment, the negative equity, the end of society and the worship of money and the individual (I went on the marches…Smash the Tories!!!). But I also remember a happy childhood with only three TV channels and a pogo stick.

So Back to the Future offered excitement and deep existential questions, a type of science fiction that has never grabbed me since, as it is founded in the possible. OK, so time travel isn’t necessarily possible but it is something that we as humans are drawn to. ‘Space the final frontier’? – actually, no it is quite possibly ‘time’. What would you do if you could go back and change one thing? I know what I would do … but you out there will never know that…. Each of us has our own regrets and it is what we do with those regrets that matters.


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