Sky Greats was showing ‘Zorba the Greek’ recently. I hadn’t seen this film for years, and decided to download it. Anthony Quinn gives a terrific performance as Alexis Zorba, the middle-aged man with a passion for life. When he grips Alan Bates’ shoulder and starts to dance on the beach, he tips his head back in delight at the music he can hear in his head, and unembarrassed, lets his body move in time.
It occurred to me that the majority of middle-aged people are too embarrassed to display any outward signs of emotion in public. Alan Bates comes over as the buttoned up writer keeping any thoughts and feelings to himself until Zorba eventually breaks through his boss’s barrier, and delights in the fact that Bates wants to learn to dance the Greek way.
We’ve all seen young people at festivals and concerts dancing and singing loudly along with their favourite bands, while the majority of middle-agers just stand there and watch. At what age do we change from somebody jumping up and down with excitement at seeing their favourite singer to someone buttoned up like Alan Bates’ character? When do we become afraid of being ridiculed? We middle-agers stand back and smile at young people’s enthusiasm for life as we watch them leaping about in the mosh pit in front of us, all the time reminding ourselves not to jump in there as well in case we’re injured or somebody thirty years younger laughs at us. Where has our PASSION gone?
I love music and will dance at the least opportunity at discos or at parties, but only when everybody else is dancing. At home I’ll put a CD on and dance around the room like a whirling dervish when nobody’s about. At the Isle of Wight festival the year before last I couldn’t resist jumping up to dance when The High Kings played McAlpine’s Fusiliers. We danced, all ages, linking arms and running around in front of the stage like the sixteen year olds we once were, and do you know what, it felt great!
Do you dance when nobody’s watching or do you think to hell with it, do a Zorba, and jump in the mosh pit?
I’m over on the Island this weekend, so look forward to reading your comments on Monday.