'I've carried Dirty Dancing with me through my whole life, just like a watermelon' says comedian and writer Katy Brand
‘I carried a watermelon’ – say that line to anyone and you will most likely be greated with misty eyes and romantic sighs as people think of ‘Dirty Dancing’.
You can almost see the icon 1980s film flash before their eyes. Katy Brand first watched the film at 11-years-old, and from then she was hooked.
Katy, who is a comedian, writer and actress, spoke to the Sheffield Telegraph ahead of her apperance in Sheffield as part of Off the Shelf festival.
She said: “The film came in to my life when I was 11, and when I was 13 I watched it every day for three months. That was until the tape was confiscated from me, but then I found it and watched it in secret until the tape broke.”
Katy said the film has had a profound impact on her, and it inspired her to take different opportunites as they came her way throughout her life. It was a milestone birthday earlier this year that helped her to reflect on that.
“When I turned 40 earlier this year I found that I wanted to watch ‘Dirty Dancing’. It’s such a great film and I wanted to see it again. It’s really impacted my life and the relationships I’ve had and the choices I’ve made.
“Sometimes, people who haven’t seen, particulatly men, it they will say ‘oh yeah, well you women just all love Patrick Swayze who plays Johnny don’t you’, and of course we do. But the film isn’t all about that romantic relationship, it’s about Baby – played by Jennifer Grey.
“It’s about how she goes on this summer trip with her family and has a totally unexpected life-changing experience. It’s about how she grows as a woman and I think that’s great to see. She starts to make her own decisions, and you can see that as her confidence with her dancing grows so does her confidence in herself and her body.
“It’s ultimately Baby who seduces Johnny, so there’s also a message for women about how to own their sexuality and their own choices – it’s got some very important messages.
“I remember the first time I watched it I was left with a feeling that I could do anything and I was invinsible – and that’s still how I feel when I watch it now.”
Katy was so inspired by the film that she decided to write a book about it, the aptly named ‘I Carried a Watermelon’.
She said: “The title of the book just felt like the right one and that was it. It's also quite appropriate because I have carried a watermelon – the film ‘Dirty Dancing’ – with me for my whole life.
“The film is, of course, about that love between Johnny and Baby – there’s is a once in a lifetime magical chemistry and we should enjoy that – but there is also, however, messages about class, family, friendships and other relationships.
“Let’s not forget the storyline about Penny finding herself pregnant and not daring to tell anyone in case she loses her job and also the father of the baby abandoning her. It has real substance to it and I think everyone should watch it – boys and girls.
“I have grown with the film and it’s interesting watching it now as an adult, I still get the same enjoyment out of it – but I do now relate more with the parents!”
Katy will be at The Auditorium, University of Sheffield Students' Union, on Monday, October 21 from 7pm. She will be in conversation with Professor Vanessa Toulmin.
Tickets cost £10 full price or £8 concessions in advance or £11 full price or £9 concessions on the door. Ticket prices also include a screening of ‘Dirty Dancing’. Katy will also be signing copies of her book.
Buy tickets now at www.offtheshelf.org.uk/event/dirty-dancing-and-me-katy-brand/