Summer Romances, Dirty Dancing and (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life

Following on from yesterday’s post about the melancholy that comes with the approach of autumn, I have now had time to think about this a bit more. Back at the beginning of June, I wrote about the euphoria I still feel at that time of year due to some long-lasting Pavlovian response to the fact that exam season is over, the long school holidays are upon us and a summer of possibility awaits. Of course it’s years now since I’ve had to sit heavy-duty exams, I only get two weeks annual leave (if I’m lucky) and as for possibilities, not so much. Life is good but it’s just not full of those emotional highs and lows you experience in your youth, but the feeling is still there.

Well yesterday, I think I felt that same euphoria, but in reverse – That feeling we had in our youth when summer was over. Again it’s a long time since I’ve started a new academic year but we must be hard-wired into remembering how it felt – That those carefree days of summer are over for another year. Suddenly our clothes seem ridiculous, as despite the still reasonable temperatures (even in the North of Scotland), it gets dark early, and it feels wrong to be dressed in sundresses and sandals.

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Like most female students back in the day, I used to head off to work in hotels for the summer and romances were invariably kindled with local boys (much to the chagrin of the local girls). In June these dalliances were new and exciting but by September it was obvious that they were not sustainable and had to end, but there was still a tinge of sadness and regret. Perhaps this is why musicals like Dirty Dancing and Grease are still so popular, as they remind ladies of a certain age, of the summer they fell for their Johnny Castle or Danny Zuko.

Not difficult to find songs that tell of such tales and most seem to be from the male perspective but perhaps I’m not looking hard enough. One that immediately sprang to mind was Michael Jackson‘s Farewell My Summer Love which was a curious one in that it was recorded by the very young MJ in 1973 but it was only released in 1984 after the success of “Thriller”. Yes, suddenly the Motown archives were being plundered to capitalise on his new-found global pop dominance.

Olivia and John reminisced about their Summer Nights in 1978, and Don Henley sang of the end of summer in his 1985 hit Boys Of Summer. This time he is the boy left behind whilst the girl is having summer flings, but he is in it for the long-haul and is determined to get her back. Bryan Adams wrote about the Summer of ’69 but as I don’t do smutty here, I won’t delve into that one too far! As for Kid Rock’s 2008 All Summer Long I suspect there are some dubious metaphors in there as well but I loved how he mashed-up Warren Zevon’s Werewolves Of London with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama in this coming of age tale.

But hey, I’m a girl, and it’s the end of the summer, so I just want to yet again revisit that scene at the end of Dirty Dancing where dismissed dance coach Johnny makes a triumphant return, and tells yesterday’s featured artist Jerry Orbach (there’s the link), that “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”. For some reason I seem to have more male than female blog followers in which case I am truly sorry for posting this particular bit of nostalgia, but considering how many brides nowadays want their first dance to be like the one in this scene, it seems that a few dancing lessons might be just what is needed to sweep the lady of your dreams off their feet – literally!

(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes:

(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life Lyrics
(Song by John DeNicola/Donald Markowitz/Franke Previte)

Now I’ve had the time of my life
No I never felt like this before
If I swear it’s the truth
And I owe it all to you
‘Cause I’ve had the time of my life
And I owe it all to you

I’ve been waiting for so long
Now I’ve finally found someone
To stand by me
We saw the writing on the wall
As we felt this magical
Fantasy

Now with passion in our eyes
There’s no way we could disguise it
Secretly
So we take each other’s hand
‘Cause we seem to understand
The urgency just remember

You’re the one thing
I can’t get enough of
So I’ll tell you something
This could be love because

I’ve had the time of my life
No I never felt this way before
Yes I swear it’s the truth
And I owe it all to you

With my body and soul
I want you more than you’ll ever know
So we’ll just let it go
Don’t be afraid to lose control, no
Yes I know what’s on your mind
When you say “Stay with me
Tonight.” Just remember

You’re the one thing
I can’t get enough of
So I’ll tell you something
This could be love because

‘Cause I had the time of my life
And I’ve searched through every open door
Till I’ve found the truth
And I owe it all to you

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

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