Row K, Seat 7 – Episode III, The Return

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The lights had dimmed and now the audience settled as the Pearl and Dean theme faded and the screen was filled by a shot of a jumbo jet taking off, accompanied by the immortal voiceover, You don’t have to fly to India to enjoy a delicious Indian meal.  

The advert, for the Spice of Life restaurant in Abronhill, played at every single screening in the County Cinema in Cumbernauld, and every single time it played everyone in the audience snickered and muttered because the actor doing the voiceover managed to mispronounce Abronhill.

The Spice of Life was just around the corner from Abronhill High School, where Gregory’s Girl was set.  The showing I saw of Bill Forsyth’s heart-warming  film was riotous.  There was uproar every time a character in the film turned a corner and ended up five miles away.  There was even more of an uproar whenever anyone in the audience saw someone they knew in the film.  As all the extras were from the town, there was a lot of uproar.  It was a strange and exciting feeling being from somewhere as utterly ordinary as Cumbernauld and seeing people I knew in real life up on the silver screen.  Given the mayhem in the cinema, I guess we all felt the same.

Despite not appearing in the film, I still managed to receive some direction from Bill Forsyth.  This  when I inadvertently blundered into a scene.  I have since blocked the words he used from memory.  I sincerely wish I could do the same to the sound of the jeering crowd.  I had wondered why they were all standing there, but I somehow managed to miss the camera.  And the boom.  And the actors…

The scene of my humiliation took place outside the Spice of Life where I tasted my first curry, and just around the corner from my friend Kevin’s house.  My favourite scene in the  film is the one in which his bedroom window makes an appearance.

It would be several years before I would fly to India and enjoy many delicious meals, but in the meantime there was the County Cinema and the Spice of Life.

LG Thomson is the author of Boyle’s Law, Each New Morn, and Erosion.

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