As a kid and into my teen years, I had a movie-watching ritual with my grandmother. On weekdays, she looked after me in the early evenings and we would make tea and then turn on Turner Classic Movies — the channel that, at the time, showed all the movies she was starry-eyed about at my age.
That's how I wound up with a mid-'90s crush on Clark Gable and how I decided that I wanted to learn to move like Ginger Rogers. (Spoiler: She is the best, so that was impossible. But it did inspire me to become a marginally okay tap dancer.) It's also how I became obsessed with Judy Garland — and not just the "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" version. Meet Me In Saint Louis Judy Garland. A Star is Born Judy Garland. I could have watched her on-screen forever.
I didn't know it at the time, but what my grandma was giving me was a peek into the original Golden Age of Hollywood — a time when the pictures finally had sound, and then colour, and the whole of Tinseltown began to shine a lot brighter. And while in Los Angeles and across the U.S., there was still a lot of dark age nonsense going down, I still can't help but look back on many of the movies from that period and feel nostalgia, for Marilyn Monroe arm in arm on the red carpet with Arthur Miller, for dramatic Hollywood smooches, for candy-coloured dresses and men in matching pyjama sets. It's easy to get swept up in the imagery of it all.