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I never saw it.

'I never saw it,' I said. They were talking about some movie that featured a well-known song. Studios hijack famous songs and then everyone associates it with the movie. (Likewise, play some Vivaldi and someone says, 'That's the dog food ad!') Incredulity all round. 'What do you mean, you've never seen it? Everyone's seen it!'

Then someone mentioned a scene out of one of the Star Wars movies.

I said I hadn't seen it.

They were staggered.

I added conversationally I hadn't seen any of the Star Wars movies.

They all but fell off their chairs.

'What, not even on TV?'

Not even on TV.

'But ... why?', as if I'd murdered my mother or something.

I didn't know. I just hadn't. I didn't object to Star Wars movies; well, the idea was a bit boring, but I just hadn't gotten around to it. (I did once see a Star Trek movie by accident; the plot was several hysterical people run up and down inside an asteroid-bound cylinder with blacked-out windows for ninety minutes.)

That started it. They reeled off movie names, trying to pick one I'd seen.

'Indiana Jones?'

No. None.

'Lord of the Rings?'

No. None of any of the various series. Read the books though. Twice.

'Superman? Titanic? Gone With the Wind?'

No. No. No.

Getting desperate now. 'Ghostbusters? Pearl Harbour? Batman? Austin Powers, either of them? Men in Black?'

No. None of those.

'Forrest Gump? The Exorcist 1 or 2?'


'Surely you've seen Saving Private Ryan then? Surely!'


Someone mentioned ET.

Yes. Saw that when it came out, took my now-grown-up children to it when they were small in the 1980s. Found it corny, over-sentimental. What, me a snob? Can't be: I still call them movies. Snobs call them 'films' and they watch them in 'cinemas'; as in 'Have you seen the new Shankenheimer film? It's called The Pleasures of Total Silence and it's playing at the Flea Pit Arthouse Cinema'.

Of course, I've seen hundreds of movies over the years. They just named the wrong ones.

History kind of repeats. Recently I saw an earlier Spielberg movie with my children: Duel. Amazingly, it was made for TV. It was good. After that we watched that 1970s Clint Eastwood movie where the avenger gets the townspeople to paint the town red before it burns to the ground ....