Monday, 10 January 2011
The Bigger Picture
The King's Speech is an utter delight. It deserves all the stars, plaudits, thumbs up it's been given, a fabulous story, fabulously told with fabulous performances. Who knew when Colin clambered out of the pond and shook himself dry that one day he'd start churning out Oscar nominating performances....although he may well be up against Jeff Bridges again.....and of course the divine Helena just gets better and better I believe. Despite having taken against her in her early career, dismissing her as being nothing more than a head full of hair extensions with a face like a cat's bottom........ I blame Merchant and Ivory for my uncharitable thoughts...... today I am a complete convert and champion her every production. Although to be honest, it is almost Geoffrey's film. He is quite brilliant. I loved it.
But I would say that because I love going to the movies. I always have. It's a family trait. After taking my Mum to see The Lady And The Tramp, my Dad walked her home, across London, and proposed to her, a story recounted everytime they show the dogs-eating-spaghetti scene on TV. I remember them arguing one rainy afternoon over whether or not Carry On Screaming was suitable viewing for the children. Apparently it was and I laughed so much I was nearly sick. We would all go to every new release from James Bond to Jungle Book and I blame my mother for taking me to see a re-release of Gone With The Wind, aged 8, swiftly followed by Wuthering Heights, resulting in my addiction to troubled men who roam the Moors and don't give a damn.....
As an adult I regularly go to the pictures whether to celebrate or seek solace, to laugh with friends or weep alone; for me it's a perfect date. The cinema is my safe place. Between Christmas and New Year I saw 4 films in 3 days, make of that what you will. As a child it was the one place where my son and I could come together. ADHD kids can sit through feature films much earlier than most other kids, bizarrely, due to the instant gratification of the flickering stimulus. And so we went to the movies. A lot. It's not just about watching the film, it's about going to the cinema: sitting in the dark, being transported away from my world and into someone elses, far away from the slings and arrows of my own outrageous fortune. And I absolutely love a matinee, it always feels like playing hookey from real life, preferably on a wet afternoon and with only a handful of other people dotted about in the darkness........ Why does eating popcorn make such a noise? I hate the sound of salt-sticky fingers burrowing furiously into super-sized cartons, like a demented ferret trying to make a home amongst polystyrene packaging. And is it really necessary to check texts/emails/instant messages while Ben Stiller is giving us his Gay Focker?
And now we have groovy, new cinemas with super-comfy armchairs and sofas one of which is within walking distance of my own sofa, the Screen On The Green, where I've been going on and off for about 25 years. Although I do miss it's old snap back seats, built for discomfort and that indefinable smell, somewhere between damp wool and dead cat. Now there's a bar and waiter service and super-expensive snacks. But anyway, I've been smuggling wine and finger food into the movies forever and no doubt will continue to do so.
Top tip: get out of the cold and take yourself off to Africa, read Out Of Shadows by Jason Wallace, winner of the Costa children's book of the year but a brilliant read at any age, oh yes and he's my cousin......http://www.outofshadows.co.uk/