when the leaves turn from green to brown
and autumn shades come tumbling downJulia
to leave a carpet on the ground
where we have lain….
Those haunting lines still echo unbidden through my mind. They come from the Eurythmics’ soundtrack to 1984. Of the nine songs on that tape (that was the medium in which I bought it, newly released, via the BMG Music Club), “Julia” is the one that sticks.
I bought that tape not long after reading George Orwell’s 1984. Junior-high sci-fi me was disappointed that Orwell didn’t craft a hero to turn the dys- of his topia to a u-. Julia is no blonde athlete hurling her hammer at the system to free everyone to buy Apples. Kirk does not bring Spock back. Luke, Leia, and Chewie do not save Han. The bad guys win.
Yet “Julia”—that’s the song I remember.
I have never seen Michael Radford’s film version. I don’t recall the John Hurt/Suzanna Hamilton vehicle coming to the West Twin Theatre in Madison; even if it did, the R would have kept junior-high me out. (Yet I could check out whatever book I wanted from the library.)
If I were in Sioux Falls or any of another 120-some American cities Tuesday night, I could catch 1984 on the big screen. Cinema Falls and the ICON Event Hall + Lounge are participating in the 1984 National Screening Day. In Orwell’s novel, April 4 is the day Winston Smith begins keeping his diary, an act of rebellion against a government that forbids speaking freely and writing down facts.
I didn’t see the connections between Orwell’s grim world and the colorful Reagan America in which I safely, contentedly read it before turning to other pleasures like Ghostbusters (oppressive EPA official!), Splash (evil military-industrial complex!), and Red Dawn (ah! real Communists! gruesome, grim… but the good guys still win!). Now every day’s newscast feels like a lesson in Newspeak, a grand exercise in satire.
I was at least as worried in junior high about saving damsels in distress as fighting any real tyrants. Now we’re all in distress. And deep down, I still won’t accept unhappy endings.
See where all this Newspeak started: 1984, playing Tuesday night at the ICON Event Hall and Lounge, doors open at 6 p.m., show starts at 6:45.
when winter leaves her branches bare
and icy breezes chill the airO, Julia
the freezing snow lies everywhere
my darling, will we still be there….