All I ever wanted was to grow up to be Hayley Mills. Remember her? As a little girl I could imagine no one more beautiful (that hair! that porcelain-doll face!), more clever (remember her pranks in The Parent Trap?), or more good-hearted (um, Polly-friggin-Anna) than Hayley Mills, and I hunted down all of her films and then read all of the books they were based on.
The best, by far, was "In Search of the Castaways," based on a Jules Verne novel, in which Hayley and a motley crew go searching for her lost mariner father in the Andes and astoundingly shortly after, New Zealand. Along for the ride are her little brother, their professorial old French caretaker (one of those amazing characters who is totally hilarious to little kids but turns out to be kind of creepy when you’re a grown-up), a grumpy sea captain, and even a shiny-shoed young English gent as Hayley’s love interest. Most of their struggles result from extravagant acts of nature like earthquakes and floods, though at one point they are taken hostage by an indigenous tribe. Whether you’re an adult or a kid, "In Search of the Castaways" is lots of fun, if a little geographically and culturally sensitively suspect. Hayley will win you right over, just as she does her young paramour in this scene.
When it is too hot to think, turn to another brain. So here’s my offering, from Ogden Nash:
When the thunder stalks the sky,
When tickle-footed walks the fly,
When shirt is wet and throat is dry,
Look, my darling, that’s July.
Through the grassy lawn be leather,
And prickly temper tug the tether,
Shall we postpone our love for weather
If we must melt, let's melt together!
Leslie picked a poem, so I'll pick a poem too. We're a long ways away from both fall and the coast, I realize, but my mood is better summed up by this buzzkill from Robert Frost:
Where had I heard this wind before
Change like this to a deeper roar?
What would it take my standing there for,
Holding open a restive door,
Looking down hill to a frothy shore?
Summer was past and the day was past.
Sombre clouds in the west were massed.
Out on the porch's sagging floor,
Leaves got up in a coil and hissed,
Blindly struck at my knee and missed.
Something sinister in the tone
Told me my secret must be known:
Word I was in the house alone
Somehow must have gotten abroad,
Word I was in my life alone,
Word I had no one left but God.
In May 1984, a slightly out-of-control version of myself and a much less adventurous friend split the cost of a pair of Clash tickets at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis. The seats were in the balcony at the rail, and if there was any air-conditioning on in the auditorium, it was completely isolated to the lower levels. (My friend found himself sitting next to a self-proclaimed pimp and several of his…..associates, a fact he complained endlessly about at the time and brags about to this day.)
The only Clash song he was familiar with was “Rock the Casbah,” which was probably the only song this newer version of the Clash (minus Mick Jones and Topper Headon) did not play in an evening filled with much of their older work. He would later describe as “one long song.” But, in a sweat-filled smoky room (smoking was not yet prohibited at concert halls) in what is still—for me—one of the peaks of my exploration beyond anthem rock, Strummer croaked in a thick London accent, “and now we’re in the pouring, pouring mother fucking rain, you fucking assholes.”