​That was my weekend that was; one in which I seemed to be immersed in the American Presidency past and present.  Aside from that inconsequential little inauguration ceremony taking place on Friday, over ‘The Pond’, I made a rare visit to the cinema to see ‘Jackie’, the newly released film depicting the First Lady in the immediate aftermath of her husband’s assassination.  A huge event in history and a fascinating era, I have always been interested in the Kennedys and their real-life tragedy so I duly booked tickets and convinced myself it would be worth it.  I am not a fan of communal anything – might have mentioned that previously?  In a world where manners are regarded as vintage and most display the habits of cave men, to willingly put oneself in close proximity to the aforementioned seems foolhardy to say the least but … for ‘Jackie’!  So, I found myself on one of the proverbial black ‘pleather’ sofas complete with footstool so one can really lie back.  Well,  ‘lie back’ is not quite correct; more ‘on top of’ as the two-seaters are designed to slope inwards and, god willing, one likes one’s companion!
Thankfully, I was fore-armed with cans of gin and tonic for me – and Revels for my ‘oh so close’ companion, Becca!  I cannot believe there is anybody stupid enough to buy drinks and sweets at the cinema now – it’s the equivalent of a mortgage … no, let’s not go there.  So, subjected to never-ending adverts for forthcoming multi-million pound ‘blockbusters’ filled with violence, special effects and four letter words, we watched as late-comers fought their way through the shadows to the only remaining couches beneath the screen.  Impossible to see – let alone enjoy – the film from that angle, how can they charge full price for these seats?  Not surprisingly, we watched one couple leave.  Mind you, there are no usherettes of days gone by and no allocated seat numbers so it is just a case of first come, first serve and the luck of the draw … How I long for the good old days when a cinema was a cinema not a tacky, glorified living room; when someone showed you to your seats with a torch.  Let me explain …  My earliest recollection of  ‘going to the pictures’, as we used to call it, is that of coming through to Edinburgh to see ‘The Sound of Music’ at the, then, ABC in 1965?  I must have been all of 5 and I remember sitting in a Box and that, during the Intermission, we had knickerbocker glories … The memory will live with me forever.  I sobbed my heart out, established a lifelong love of Austria – and for that wonderful film – and set a bar which is, now, impossible to meet.  Here, however, I must mention ‘Eddie the Eagle’ to which Manny and I went a year or so ago.  I did write about it, at the time, as it reminded me of these halcyon days.
Back to ‘Jackie’, a film which, I am sure, will receive rave reviews because it was a somewhat ‘arty’ slant on the subject matter; an ‘arty’ way of filming with very intense, close camera shots almost documentary-esque.  I really didn’t like it.  I was bored.  For me, it was too much of a ‘try hard to be different’ kind of film and the time period covered, drawn out for dramatic effect, just made it slow.  Natalie Portman is an acclaimed actress but, as Jackie, her accent and whispering were irritating and difficult to understand; her expression too determinedly pained.  Was the First Lady so unlikeable?  Was she so ambitious and determined to ensure her own place in history?  Her husband had buried her self-esteem with his renowned philandering and yet she was determined to play the devoted widow.  True, one cannot imagine the trauma of scrambling to recover one’s husband’s brains (no, refrain from obvious quip!) and what that must have done to her but her ensuing ‘Stepford wife’ stance I find unpalatable.  Perhaps I am not in the right place to judge.
Suffice to say, the magazine reporter (Billy Crudup) is excellent and entirely believable.  John Hurt, as the priest, is superb but I think the highlight of the film is the wardrobe.  Jackie Kennedy’s clothes were memorable: that famous pink suit, her effortlessly simple style just oozing Chanel … sheer class!  There is a wonderful sequence in the film when the traumatised Jackie is trying on every outfit she possesses whilst chain smoking and listening to ‘Camelot’.  The clothes are amazing.  As for her continuous smoking … I had no idea she smoked, to that extent, but it is the catalyst for the classic line which made me laugh: issuing instructions to the reporter, whilst lighting one cigarette after another she, emphatically, says, ‘Of course, I don’t smoke’.  Excuse me while I pour myself another glass of water …
Fast-forward from November, 1963 to January, 2017 and the inauguration of Donald Trump …  not sure if I should even go down this route, on paper moreover!  What a mess this world is in and it is no wonder that I crave days gone by but it is important to stand back.  We had no part in the American vote; we have no influence over Donald Trump.  All we can do is watch from a distance … and, sometimes, laugh.
Do little boys ever grow up?  Negative.  I didn’t watch President Trump being sworn in but I did see the news and listen to the aftermath, most of which focused on the size of the crowd.  His audience was greater than that at Obama’s inauguration and then there was the introduction of the ‘alternative fact’!  Seriously, human nature can be so simplistic.  Donald Trump is a little boy in a chocolate factory masquerading as President of the United States whilst looking more like Barbie’s other half! 
I have 2 large trunks in the loft, one for each of my children.  Inside is their past, as it were, including their first shoes, favourite toys, favourite books, everything!  There, too, is the  newspaper of the day for every historic/significant event which has taken place in their lives to date.  It is – and always has been – so important to me to document the past.  I wrote diaries for years, growing up, which I still have; I have my pink ‘prep’ jotter from school when I was aged about 9 and notes from friends, some of whose names I now struggle to remember.  I have a bag full of my 21st Birthday cards, party invitations and lots of uni memorabilia including one of the tiles from the fireplace in a ‘quaint’ pub off Cockburn Street – of course, it has the date and venue written on the back plus the fact that I found it in my bag when I got home!  Now, my life would be much the poorer for not having that tile …
So, last Saturday morning, I duly went up to the shops to buy 2 newspapers and that, in itself, is a task choosing the right headline, the right front page to represent one’s chosen slant on the day – for all time.  More often than not, I come back with ‘The Times’ and, without fail, the assistant at the checkout says, ‘Do you know that you have 2 copies of the same paper?’ Yes and one day, perhaps, the appreciation of my great grandchildren will justify my ‘madness’!  Said papers are now in the pile waiting to go up into the loft and into the two huge school trunks.  One little problem … the house may have to be dismantled in order to remove them.
The front page of ‘The Times’ on Saturday, 21st January 2017 was a photograph of President Trump, standing beside the First Lady, waving to the crowd.  Between them are the words, ‘In God We Trust’.  Not a quote from my book.
This is Trish, signing off.