Cinemas and why I avoid them

There are only three places I enjoy seeing films, they are, in this order:

The Roxy, Miramar (with Tim and Jo-Anne for company and after a fab meal at Coco’s)

The Electric Cinema, Birmingham (only if I get the big sofa and a loved up couple don’t sit next to me)

At home

I just hate going to the cinema. I recently wrote a blog post,  A guide to cinema etiquette about why I hate going but the family persuaded me that I would enjoy seeing The World’s End. As it was into the second week and has a 15 rating, most of the things that annoy me would be absent as it is a bit of a geeky film. This not to say that geeks will not break any of my rules, they are just less likely to. And I was right, none of my rules were breached.

Yet now I need to add more reasons not to go.

It is mind numbingly expensive.

£7 per adult. £21 for the three of us. We usually go for a morning showing for many reasons, one of them is that it is cheaper (£4).The other is to avoid the idiots who share a brain cell. While it is more expensive to go to The Electric, especially if you go for the sofa option, I do not resent a penny when I go there, as it is an independent, and the risk of any of my rules being broken is limited.  Except for last time, but my glares worked eventually and they left.

The food is of appalling quality and very expensive.

We chose to go for a 12.30 showing and I made the mistake of saying we would get food there. I would not be breaking my no eating during the film rule as we always get in to the cinema before the ads start. I had forgotten (I go so rarely) how much cinemas charge for crap food. (I have just looked at the nutritional values of the hot dog I ate and now know why I felt so ill later). Two hot dogs, one nachos and two diet cokes came to about £20 and a migraine.

It was too hot. And I am not complaining about the weather.

We were told, as we show our tickets, that Screen 10, where our film was to be shown, had no air conditioning. Normally in the UK this would not be a major issue (as it is always cold and wet here), except that we are experiencing a bit of a heatwave right now in England. Sunny Birmingham has averaged 28 degrees most days and the nights have been muggy. The nice people at the Odeon would refund us if we were too hot and left the screening in the first hour.

Odeon people, you are charging a fortune for entry and crap food so spend it on the air con or close the screens affected.

There had been a storm the previous day so the temperature had dropped a little, I was in a cotton dress and I had a fan with me. And my cold expensive cola. So I just about coped with the heat.

I eventually stopped grumbling and to the relief of the family I really enjoyed the film. It was funny and sad and thought-provoking. A bit laddish, not unsurprisingly, and hey we have all been there, wishing we could go back to some fixed points in time when we didn’t have a care in the world.  I liked it and I could happily watch it again. But not at the Odeon Birmingham Broadway Plaza. #indielove is not just for shops and coffee houses, it seems it is for the cinema too.

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Problem at Pollensa Bay (aka another holiday disaster)

Earlier this week I was reminded of one of our many holiday disasters, see 9 Reasons Not to Travel, when there was a cruise ship on the telly box.  We were eventually shipped off Majorca by the Thomson Nightmare Dream, which is another post for another day, but this captures the last few hours of tranquillity before our epic journey home.  I wrote the following a few years ago after a creative writing workshop, led by Brendan Hawthorne at Bleakhouse Library in Sandwell

It was the only plane in the sky that day

Waves were lapping against the wall and I was lulled into a day dream by the soft murmur of voices in the cafe behind me. The clatter of plates, the clink of glasses, the smell of warm dough, made my stomach rumble as it baked in the pizza ovens. The sunlight sparkling on the sea, but all was not right with the world.

The sea plane broke this spell, its engines roaring as it took off over the bay, swooping birdlike across the landscape. It was the only plane in the sky that day.

IMG_1409

All other flights were grounded worldwide because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

I had been told that these planes regularly took off for practice flights. They would scoop up the sea then letting it tumble out, high on the hills, rehearsing for the regular summer fires they dampened down.

This was my first sighting and I grabbed for my camera trying to focus on the yellow dot in the glare of the sun. I had seen seaplanes in movies, the golden age of travel, ladies in their furs carrying hat boxes, men with trilby’s and neat moustaches. That must have been how this bay was when Agatha Christie set a short story here. Now I too was experiencing my own problems in Pollensa Bay.

Uncertainty had dominated the last three days. Sky TV updating us of the situation. Tears and tantrums from some, disbelief from all as the reality unfolded. No one could tell when or how we would be going home. Schoolchildren were delighted to have an extended break. Parents worried about their jobs, the car parking, goldfish and house plants. The lobby reverberated with the tap, tap, tap of fingers spelling out messages on their laptops, Blackberries and Apples, sending out an SOS to the world.

I had come down to the sea to get away from the buzz of anxiety, the speculation and constant information underload. Pine Walk was an escape from all this. Children searched for treasure with nets in rock pools, oblivious to the crisis that was unfurling, while parents huddled behind windbreakers wearing sweaters with shorts on the beach. In a few months they would be doing much the same in Rock or St Ives.  Meanwhile for Easter, families rented stucco villas as older couples wallowed in step back in time luxury at an Art Deco hotel, all taking early evening strolls after their siestas, to build up their appetite. Just as well heeled travellers just arrived by steamer from Barcelona may have done, in the halcyon days between the wars.

Similar journeys to those intrepid travellers of the thirties were now to be experienced by the world weary tourist. By land and sea from Spain to England, almost nonstop through France, with glimpses of cathedral spires in Barcelona, rush hour ring roads of Lyon and the well ordered allotments of Calais. No flights home for us this year. Departure lounges lay vast in their emptiness, floor polishers echoing around the shuttered mall. The baggage carousals, silently still, no lone suitcase revolving, unclaimed. Planes grounded in their hundreds on the runways, stretching out as far as the eye could see, white crosses marking casualties not of war, but of nature.