February 17th 1975

“Asked out Viv. Went to see Juggernaut. Crap Film

Vivienne – or Viv – was a girl who lived a few streets away from me in Fair Oak. She also attended Barton Peveril and caught the same bus home as me from college every day… which was how I first got chatting to her, eventually building up enough courage to ask her out on a date. 

Our first date was an inauspicious affair, the choice of film a dodgy ‘disaster’ movie, somewhat portending the future of our relationship.

“Juggernaut” is one of director Richard (“A Hard Day’s Night”) Lester’s least-know films. Least known for a reason I reckon? Irish firebrand actor Richard Harris hams things up as an explosives expert given the responsibility to diffuse a series of terrorist bombs planted on a transatlantic cruise liner. Omar Sharif plays the suave ship’s captain, Anthony Hopkins plays a Scotland Yard detective trying to locate the perpetrator, whilst light relief is provided by Roy Kinnear. As thrillers go, it was all very silly stuff indeed, my review succinct.

However, I doubt my mind was completely on the movie? First date and everything. Should I put my arm around Viv in the dark? Hold her hand during the scary bits? Will I get to snog her later? Cop a feel maybe? Too soon?

One thing that occurred to me after all these years is that dates back then were rarely – if ever – of a (nowadays more commonplace) “dinner and a movie” variety…mainly because in 1975 there were next to no places to go and eat. Not even fast food joints – they didn’t hit the UK until many years later. Eastleigh did sport a couple of dodgy cafés but I never took girls to either, and I doubt I would have (yet) had the confidence to take Viv into a pub for a drink, still being theoretically underage. (Pubs didn’t do food back then either). So the date was purely the trip to the cinema – maybe an ice lolly during intermission? – and then back on the bus to Fair Oak. Classy eh?

Remember too that were no such things as multiplexes back then either. The choice of viewing at the Eastleigh Regal would have been “Juggernaut” or… erm… “Juggernaut”. There may a new film next week, but this week it was 100% “Juggernaut”. What a depressing thought.

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