Shaken not stirred   Leave a comment

Went to see the new James Bond movie last night. It was the start of half-term break for the schools, and Eid al-Adha, and payday for many. The cinema was thronged. I was annoyed. I am normally a daytime lurker in empty cinemas, sitting where I want, spreading out over three seats and losing myself in the movie.

I readjusted my mindset to ‘Oh well, just enjoy the experience’ and went inside.  I fought my way into a seat I would never chose, squashed between two gangly youths and played the elbow game to gain control of the armrests. (This is where you forget any instinctual body space issues and press up against your neighbour’s elbow until they yield and you win the arm rest  – good for the tube also).

The place was chaotic. Mobile phones were everywhere. Kids ran in and out and climbed over seat-backs. Raucous laughter burst sporadically from different sections. A few oldies (Bond stalwarts like myself) were visible in strategic seats. I kicked myself. They had arrived early knowing it would be like this.

The trailers started. An old guy laughed. A group of young guys sitting behind him began to laugh at how he laughed. Around them, others joined in, laughing at their audacity.

The movie started. Very dark. Lots of psychobabble. Not sure I approve.  When was Bond every meaningful? (except when his wife died in ‘Her Majesty’s Secret Service’) However this one does have a wicked villain in Javier Bardem (who has an amazing face). And there are flashes of beautiful Bond humour throughout.

In the middle of the movie, a fight broke out across the aisle from me. It culminated in an older man standing up, leaning over the back of his seat, grabbing a teenager by the front of his jacket and threatening to throw him from the top of the steps to the bottom. It was great! Drama on and off-screen – what great value for money!

At the end of the movie there was a moment of silence. And then everyone spontaneously cheered and clapped! It was the first time in ages I’d experienced something like this in a cinema. Yes, sometimes when I go to meaningful movies. But this outburst was sheer joy from a gang of hyperactive teenagers and appreciative oldguy Bond addicts. It made my night.

I strolled out of the cinema full of joy and into the cold and dark London night. Because it was Eid, this part of London was buzzing. People were dressed in their best, hugging each other, taking photos, talking loudly and laughing. It felt really wonderful.


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