Thoroughly Post-Modern Millie, An Aside, 20 August 2016

With thanks to Claudia Lesley for this picture
With thanks to Claudia Lesley for this picture of Janie

One of several conversations over our lengthy dinner at The Stables, ahead of the Never The Bride concert – for more about that outing click here. For some reason, the film Thoroughly Modern Millie came up. One of the youngsters asked, “who starred in that movie?”  “Shirley MacLaine”, replied Kim and I, pretty much straight away and more or less in unison. “No, it was Julie Andrews,” said Janie.

A short debate ensued, with most people siding with me and Kim. Janie was pretty sure it was Julie Andrews. Kim was absolutely sure it was Shirley MacLaine. Kim and Janie wagered a future meal on the outcome.

Out came Mr Google for the answer: Thoroughly Modern Millie, 1967, starred Julie Andrews.

Kim and I were surprised. I was pretty sure I could visualise Shirley MacLaine in the movie, whereas I just couldn’t envisage Julie Andrews in the part. Kim similarly. I suggested that, in our subjective realities, it really was Shirley MacLaine. So at the very least MacLaine, not Andrews, was the star of our movie, Thoroughly Post-Modern Millie.

With the 2016 Olympic Games drawing to a close that evening, the conversation reminded me of a little thought experiment I put to some friends at the end of the London 2012 Olympics. An event named the modern pentathlon (fencing, show-jumping, swimming, running and shooting) was pretty much the last thing playing out. Loads of people (me and Janie included) watched it for the first time ever; we didn’t want the 2012 olympics to end.

My thought experiment was the post-modern pentathlon. I quote myself:

The post-modern pentathlon is all about subjective reality, so you may choose your own events. MY post-modern pentathlon events are pinball, table football, playing tennis with the wrong hand and payroll giving.

I know what you are thinking. That’s only four events; a pentathlon has five events. But in the subjective reality of MY post-modern pentathlon, four events is plenty.

In the post-modern pentathlon, of course, the scoring is down to oneself (subjective reality again). I am pleased to inform you that I won the bronze medal. You might have expected me to award myself gold, but I am surely not competitive enough to get the very highest score. I would naturally aspire to best-of-the-rest; silver, but my record in competitive sports has always been to disappoint myself to some extent, so at best I think I would achieve bronze. A little disappointing, but I gave my all for Team GB, did my best and left it all out there on the fields of play. That was all I could ask of myself.

On reflection, I think Janie would make an excellent Thoroughly Post-Modern Millie – see photo above – even more than Shirley MacLaine.

And with subjective hindsight, perhaps I should have a fifth event in my post-modern pentathlon after all; marathon ogblogging.

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