It's not easy to start a choc top when you've got no teeth.
I imagine it's difficult for most people to remember their first outing to the cinema. Earlier this year I took my daughter to see Puss In Boots – she was two. I have doubts as to whether the experience is eternally etched in the recesses of her memory.
I grew up in a town populated by just five hundred people. There was a pub, two corner stores, two petrol stations, no public pool - we local kids used the one at the motel - and certainly no cinema. Even the nearest city, little more than a big country town itself, could only offer a drive-in to which my Dad packed up the family often to see whatever masterpiece was on. Pretty sure that's why I have a fear of killer bees.
When I was 12 years old I had already decided that I wanted to tell stories but thought they'd be in novels. Then something amazing happened. My Mum came to me with the exciting news that we would be driving the couple of hours to Sydney to see a new movie called ET: The Extra Terrestrial. My Dad didn't want to go – he hates sci-fi to the extent that he has never made it past the few bleeps and bloops uttered by Artoo Detoo and maintains that English is not spoken in Star Wars. Many of my fondest childhood memories include watching old Westerns and War movies with Dad, but science fiction was to be viewed with Mum.
We went to the Greater Union Cinema on Market Street (now the State Theatre). The screen was framed by great red velvet curtains and the old guy sitting next to me had so few teeth he struggled to crack the chocolate on his choc top. Thinking back, I suppose he resembled a baby gumming a tomato. Then the movie started - and what a movie!
Writers, the cave dwelling, Gollum-like creatures that they are, will give you all sorts of reasons for wanting to tell stories, but for me it is in the hope that I can give that skinny kid with the mop of red hair the great movie that followed fidgeting in anticipation of the curtain opening while trying not to giggle at Ol' Gummy duelling with his choc top.