It must be a quirk of my brain that a scene from a movie or lyrics from a song pop into my head when I’m trying to ‘allegorise’ (is that even a word?) a set of circumstances on this Big Breast Adventure. I’d blame the chemo, as I have for any vagueness, forgetfulness or just plain stupidity in the past four years, but this is something my family will attest has been an annoying fixture of my temperament for ages – long before cancer darkened my door. And I’m about to do it again now, dear readers, this time pointing you in the direction of the indomitable Shirley MacLaine as Doris Mann in the late, great Carrie Fisher’s book and film Postcards from the Edge.
When I first lived in Sydney in the early 1980s, one of my flatmates used to visit a dive called the Oxford Cinema, a classless strip club boasting ‘live’ sex acts that were in fact tawdry simulations conducted by highly disinterested parties. Not that this mattered to the audience, I’m sure. Anyhoo, my mate reckoned he only went there once or twice on boys’ nights out – for the laughs, you understand. Despite having consumed his own body weight in beer each time, he still managed to remember and regale us word for word with the opening line from the invisible Master of Ceremonies as the house lights went down. You have to imagine this being said in a booming yet bored, fake American accent – “Welcome to the Oxford Cinema. Patrons are encouraged to participate but no rough stuff will be tolerated.”