John Clare Writings


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One day many years ago I took my son to see a Batman movie. I forget what it was called. Perhaps Batman and Robin. I remember that a girl joined the team in one of their crime-stopping adventures. If you are any kind of aficionado (weird old word) you will probably know the movie as soon as I tell you who played the Ghost who Walks. It was George Clooney. I had never seen him in a movie, nor ever since, but it struck me that he had the best Batman face I had seen. Well, since the Saturday matinee Batman of my childhood in the 1940s, and the truth is that I cannot remember his face in that smudged light of matinee black and white. Also the actor committed suicide. Too many people challenged him to fly.

I found this quite tragic. Obviously it was, but I have mixed up two actors. The tragic one played Superman. If one of your cronies asked to see you to fly in earlier circles you pretended that he had asked to see your fly and you quickly undid a button or two then buttoned it up. Zippers had only arrived here with American service men, of whom my Uncle Charles was one. I’ve told you about him, so we’ll drop the subject.

Leaving the movie (the one with George) I ran into Henry Everingham, an excellent graphic artist and cartographer from the Sydney Morning Herald. He too had brought his little son. Greeting me he became adamant that it was a very good movie. It seemed that someone – some reviewer or friend had disparaged it. I agreed with Henry, very much so.

Now that matinee Batman I mentioned may have been the first in moving pictures. At the end of some episodes the G who W lay tied down to a railway track while a locomotive came roaring up on him. Next episode he was usually much further back along the track, giving him more time to free himself. But we had all but forgotten last week’s episode when we had walked out into the unique and unforgettable afternoon light of Maroubra Junction. There were two theatres. One was The Vocalist and the other was The Amusu.

Wonderful days were they not?   

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