I think I speak for many women of a certain age when I express my heartfelt regrets at the passing of Patrick Swayze, who died yesterday, aged 57. I’m not going to make a joke of it. I am genuinely sad.

I went to Dirty Dancing 7 times when it was in the cinema in Cork. I went to see it once with my friends and the other times on my own, all the better to savor it, straight after school with change stolen from my father’s suit pocket. (Don’t blab siblings!) I must have been about 15, so puberty had obviously already kicked in but Johnny Castle brought it onto a whole new level.

Even now, the emotional memory of the chemistry of Baby and Johnny has more resonance and power then most of the half hearted crushes of my thirties. Like it was yesterday I remember DANCING out of The Everyman Cinema with the thrilling anticipation that a similar love story could be all ahead of me.

Alo, as well as planting a desire for explosive romance, I think it also compounded my desire to work in film for what I felt coming out of that cinema was pure unadulterated joy and hope. How many jobs, how many films..how many life experiences..can claim to make you feel like that?

Hence it was with a certain amount of trepidation I borrowed the dvd a few months ago beucase it surely could not be as good as I remembered it could it? BUT IT WAS!! In fact if anything it was better! Subtexts I’d missed out on in my teens by had assumed a hindsight resonance….Baby’s coming of age, her having to stand up to her father, but I have to admit, it still was all about Johnny’s gluts, and if anything, a tad of experience and empathy added to imagination made the ehh… ‘dance’ scenes all the better.

Scary to thing it was almost never made, it took them years to get financing, after all what audience could possibly be interested in a young girl’s coming of age experience?? Scarier again to think that when it was previewed to some of the executive producers they recommended burning the negative and reclaiming on the insurence!! Can you imagine? There would be a big Partick Swayze shaped hole in the consciousness of a generation of women. NO ONE PUTS BABY IN A FURNACE!

So thank you Johnny, thank you Patrick, I am going to watch it again in your memory. And one good thing about being single is that I can tell myself that my own Johnny Castle is still out there.