I’ve been using my time wisely lately, and going to the pictures at every opportunity. I love the cinema and cottoned on at quite an early age that it’s not an especially social activity. And so, I’ve been going regularly, more often than not by myself, for the best part of three decades. This year, I knew I wanted to get one of those monthly tickets which let you go as often as you like. In this, I’m taking my lead from Quentin Crisp, who spent a large part of his 40s at the pictures. I already subscribe to his philosophy on domestic affairs – i.e. that after four years, housedust just doesn’t get any worse – so it seems like a natural progression.
It took me until last week to finally get the ticket, which involved having my picture taken by a special machine in the cinema. You type your details into this then it takes your photo with one of the two lenses it has for the purpose. Theoretically, you can switch between these to get the angle of your choice. Lens one was conveniently aimed just above my head height and managed to catch the bobble on my hat. Just in case I take the hat off at some point this year, I thought I’d better go with lens two. Fortunately this was much lower down and took a picture of my belly. To get the required picture of my face, then, I had to maintain a kind of Sumo-about-to-charge squat, in front of the machine, in the middle of a busy cinema. My new photograph is from a demented angle which looks as though I’m pursuing a particularly intractable nose hair. Truly the ugly side of showbusiness.
Public humiliation aside, so far this week I’ve seen Philomena (good story, if a bit cheesey); Gravity (I loved this and honked out noisy tears throughout); The Hunger Games (braw! confusing! I had to read the wiki synopsis afterwards) and Thor, but only because I took along a child who wanted to see it. Otherwise I might have missed seeing Christopher Eccleston as a bad space elf who, not at all predictably, wants to destroy the entire universe, starting with the exact spot in Greenwich where I had takeaway noodles one time. Spooky. Only recommended if you’re absolutely certain about wanting that painful lobotomy.
So, my new card is grand but not perfect. When I was out for a few Irn Brus with a pal last week and mistakenly tried to pay the bill with it, it turns out Glasgow bars don’t take movies. But with a year of film ahead, I can live with that. I might even have that nose hair out by then.