Last night Uncle Samm and myself flew the coop and fetched up at the Brewery in Cheltenham to watch a movie called Transformers. If you’re reading this and you’re not on a promise then do yourselves a favour and give it a rain check. Prior to Transformers the last film Mr Samm and myself saw was the A Team and we spent last nights short walk back to the car park trying to decide which one was worse. Uncle Samm thought it was the A Team and he might well be right . . . but I’m not so sure although my judgement may have been impaired somewhat by sleeping through the first hour of Transformers. Whilst the special effects are awesome the acting isn’t. Not their fault of course since there isn’t a script as such, more a succession of toe curdling sound bites that only serve to interrupt the flow of CGI. There is even, in true Independence Day stylee a montage of scenes from around the World suggesting that whilst this takes place in Chicago we are, nonetheless all in this together. Fatrick has seen it twice and is still unsure of the relevance of a scene set in Chernobyl. I said I’d look out for it but it must have been in the first hour.
Perhaps the most appealing/appalling fact about this movie is that it ‘stars’ Frances McDormand and John Malkevich, the latter taking time out from being John Malkevich. Was he a drone, a ‘droid, a Tonka toy? Who knew, but it was good to see those Steppenwolf years not getting lost in the methodology. And it was co produced by Mr Spielberg; Duel must seem a very long time ago now eh Steven? Bit like Terrence Mallick producing Pirates of the Caribbean 5.
It made a change to go see a movie in a big modern cinema though; carpets, comfortable seats, surround sound, sound even. My cinema viewing normally takes place in my local Odeon, not quite a fleapit although it does boast some challenging seating arrangements. No Golden Ratio here though, in one screen room the seats are 25 wide (with two aisles) but only three rows deep; the crick in the neck suffered during the Brighton Rock re-make may prove permanent. But perhaps the biggest difference comes at the pre movie Sugar Snack Shack. At Orange Odeon on geriatric Wednesday you get a cup of coffee, a digestive and something to make you go tsch. In the other hand, at Vue there’s a whole smorgasbord of E numbers to flirt with.
Talking of flirting, for a while now Uncle Samm and diabetes have been making big spaniel eyes at each other, but in that time Uncle has developed a rather interesting approach to dealing with it. In the same way that some therapists might encourage their clients to conquer their fear of something through confrontation; for instance handling a spider in order to overcome a phobia of spiders, so Uncle Samm seems determined to batter his insulin levels into submission with a barrage of chocolate biscuits, chocolate covered raisins/peanuts, chocolate cakes and chocolate. One time we were in Poundstretcher and Uncle Samm picked up two packets of compressed E Numbers. Upon reminding him of his underlying health issues Uncle replied ‘Bog off'. Well, quite.
All this reminds me of my time in Birmingham with Various Artist in the early days of the century. Whilst neither of us at the time had diabetes we were both volunteers at the Electric, a tiny cinema tucked away behind New Street Station. I served fresh coffee and Guinness cake whilst Various punched tickets and afterwards we’d slip in undetected at the back and watch films for free. A hugely interesting place; out front a façade of carved carney characters and, littering up the lobby a motley crew of misfits who on any given night would outnumber the paying punters by two to one. One chap, Simon, even lived there, sleeping on a battered sofa in the upstairs office. I recall the time he took us down into the basement where we found a treasure trove of old posters, broken seats and general memorabilia from a lifetime spent as a cinema; from a pre WWI picture house in the days without sound to finding form as a sleaze box in the 1970’s before developing into the bijou art house that greets you today, with sofas that yield and a phone with which to order drinks from the same bar where I once sold Guinness cake.
‘Now that is what I call a transformation!’ quipped Various Artist.