The Day Gregory's Girl Stole My Heart

It's the summer of 1980 and I've rocked up to see Superman, only to fall in love with a charming tale of teenage love and it's co-star Clare Grogan...
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It's the summer of 1980 and I've rocked up to see Superman, only to fall in love with a charming tale of teenage love and it's co-star Clare Grogan...


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If  I was ever to write a song as Canadian rocker Bryan Adams famously did about a certain summer that will long live in the memory, I’m afraid mine would be the ‘summer of 80’ not the more romantic sounding ‘summer of 69’. It wouldn’t involve singing about the halcyon days of putting a first band together either I’m afraid, but it would be about falling in love with an unattainable girl on the silver screen at my local picture house ‘The Curzon in Loughborough’.

A trip in the school holidays to ‘The pictures’ as we always called the cinema in our house marked the moment I changed from a super hero loving geek into a love sick teen. I say this as the film we were going to see was Superman 2, but the film I will always remember was Bill Forsythe’s  ‘Gregory’s Girl’. I wasn’t even aware this film was actually on the bill with Superman, I knew we always had two films back in the day, but the support film was usually a cheapie or a boring documentary (I remember when I was taken to see Star Wars we had a truly tedious short about the town of Hastings).

Anyway once settled in our seats I remember groaning that the first film we were going to be watching was called ‘Gregory’s Girl’. All I wanted was to see Christopher Reeve flying through the air and tackling Terence Stamp and the saucy looking Sarah Douglas who looked super sexy on the movie poster. Can of Top Deck shandy in hand, the film started. I was adamant I was not going to enjoy it, but from the opening few minutes I found myself warming to the characters who were all a bit on the nerdy side, and in John Gordon Sinclair, who played Gregory, I could see something of myself even at this young age.

A trip in the school holidays to ‘The pictures’ as we always called the cinema in our house marked the moment I changed from a super hero loving geek into a love sick teen

As I watched Gregory trying to get a date with ‘the star’ of the movie, Dee Hepburn, I’m afraid to say the Superman 2 movie was the furthest thing from my mind especially when Clare Grogan came onto the screen. I was infatuated the minute I saw her, she was the archetypal ‘Girl next Door’, even if I didn’t know what those three words really meant at the time. As the film developed and Gregory was duped into a date with Clare, it was safe to say I was smitten.

Clare wearing a beret and walking simply through a country park had me day dreaming as only a naive youth can. With the end credits rolling, I got up to leave and it was only the confused faces from my family that made me realise that we hadn’t actually watched the main movie yet. I sat down and admit that I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy Superman. The villains were extra cool as I imagined but it was the support movie that I couldn’t get out of my mind.

That afternoon was the start of an obsession for Bill Forsythe films and also my first real crush Clare Grogan. After her appearance in that movie I started to get into her band ‘Altered Images’. As a young devotee of the great John Peel I found common ground as he was also a big fan of Altered Images, so I would often listen in the solitude of my bedroom to any sessions at the time from the very first single ‘Dead Pop stars’ onwards.

Clare wearing a beret and walking simply through a country park had me day dreaming as only a naive youth can

It took a little while and two singles before Clare and the boys, who incidentally I didn’t know from Adam, hit the big time and got themselves onto Top of the Pops. Back in the day, this show was excellent whether you liked the music on it or not. It would be a hard hearted soul who didn’t look back with fondness at Clare’s performance on stage whilst she was on a swing, top quality miming as well. I kept this obsession with this twee Scottish act quiet over the years as I was meant to be listening to Punk and Oi!, but as I look back now and play some of the LP’s, I realise it wasn’t anything to be ashamed of really. I still have the debut LP on vinyl along with the beautifully named ‘Pinky Blue’ and after listening to them recently I no longer hid them again between my Napalm Death discs I put them back a little more on show than usual.

So from watching Gregory’s Girl all those years ago to even watching the hideous Red dwarf which Clare featured in for a while, I remain a fan of the diminutive Scottish songstress and even recently when she presented a show on one of the music channels I still picture her in that beret walking through the Country Park in Bill Forsythes masterpiece. If you lean to the obsessive like  myself check out Bills other movies for the merest glimpse of Clare, you will catch a glimpse of her in ‘Local Hero’ and the classic ice cream wars movie ‘Comfort and Joy’.

There, it’s all off my chest now, it’s out in the open - 'I Love Clare Grogan and I’m proud of it’.

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