At thirteen, my best friend Jane and I were taken by her father to see a film. That film, as it turned out, was to have a lasting impression on me for the rest of my life. Not only because of the wonderful music by Maurice Jarre, with Omar Sharif and Peter O'Toole galavanting across the sand dunes in flowing robes and high boots, but it was the vastness, the heat, the reality and rawness of it all ... it was me!
At thirteen, I already had a keen interest in archaeology, anthropology and exploration. I knew more than my peers about these subjects, and I dreamed traveling in Persia of old, or digging in Mesopotamia. My interests covered Australian Aborigines, 'Lucy' and the handsome Richard Leaky, to Richard Francis Burton, the Victorian explorer. I struggled through books on these subjects, persevering like a trooper; reading was difficult for me, it didn't flow as naturally to me as it did to most people, in fact it was rather an effort. But I had always dreamed of going to far off lands, and these books took me there. Where my friends experimented in tobacco and make-up, I experimented in writing my name in Farsi and ancient Egyptian. At a time when films such as Chitty-Chitty Bang- Bang, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and Oliver were just about the only films suitable or even available to us in betweenies, it was little wonder that something as fantastic as Lawrence of Arabia became a part of my life.
I leave you here with the most famous edit in cinema history. Imagine sitting there as a thirteen year old, who had always dreamed of adventure. Well done David Lean, and thank you. You were amazing. What a legacy.