lovelife, screen

Fear of Heights

I went to see Edward Scissorhands. Not the film, the dance version. 

We bought cheap seats high up at Sadler’s Well – that cost plenty anyway – consoling ourselves that an elevated view would actually be best suited to the amazing stage sets and design. 

Standing by my seat, waiting for the lights to dim, I peered down on the stage far, far below, feeling waves of vertigo and thought, what if I just jumped?

all cut up

We were just one row back from the edge. I had the thought about three, four times during the first half of the performance. I imagined myself jumping out of my seat, vaulting over the balustrade and plunging down towards the stalls. I’d briefly fly through the air, and that would feel extraordinary, but it would be a short, rapid descent, before landing on some poor person watching in their £100 seat with the inferior view. And splat. Fatal. 

It’s common for people to consider jumping off the top of a mountain, or tall building, so I’m not too concerned about these dark matinee daydreams. It wasn’t the only thing on my mind. As Edward got busy with his scissors and his topiary, in the stage production’s hyper-real 50s American suburban nightmare, I thought about re-staging the years spent with Vela

But re-staging to get it right this time, where it all works out and the future is a happy glow on the horizon. Re-staging – just like the tormented lovesick lead in Vertigo. Yes, of course… So the height thing up in the second circle couldn’t just be simply about itself, and an understandable anxiety of falling and descent, it was also a mental pathway, a portal to further tortured thoughts about me and Vela.

get it right next time

I’ve always loved and admired Vertigo, but tend to get a bit lost in it, struggling to stay with the twists and trancelike quality of the hero’s obsession. Or, I get it, but lose it again – the story and its themes edging just out of reach. (I’ve fallen asleep watching Vertigo, at least twice. I used to berate myself about this, but now see it as in keeping with the ethereal middle section of Hitchcock’s film. When James Stewart follows Carlotta around San Francisco, it’s like in a dream, so maybe sleeping is not such a crime against cinema…) There is a tense harmony between the film’s re-staging of a doomed relationship and it’s compelling,  tantalising elusiveness. So, I guess, it was a good fit –  dreaming of Vertigo up in the Gods while sifting the clues of my flawed relationship with Vela. 

In mourning what might have been with Vela, I often find myself daydreaming a rosy future, where not only have I stopped thinking of her all the time, or at all in fact, but where I have also met a new partner – a much better partner by far. So much better that there’d be no reason to ever think of Vela again. And then the fantasy continues with me bumping into her, Vela. The Chance Meeting occurs in the foyer of a cinema (which I find interesting). 

who are you?

Unlike the end of the film Bad Timing, we talk amicably, and I reel off a list of all the ways in which my life is now great. And Vela smiles curiously. This childish craving for not only happiness, but victory and revenge, consoles me, but also makes me feel like a simpleton.

If I write about Vela in detail, and how we broke up, she might sue me. Breaking up was a long drawn out process: selling the house and finding new places to buy, took forever. But after we moved out, we continued to see each other, even though the relationship was supposed to have ended. This was a mistake. 

There were many problems and disappointments during the long period of our ending – not least my crooked stick