I can recommend the film The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. This is the female Beverly Hills Cop, a mismatched-cops comedy with two female leads. It’s nothing that you haven’t seen before, but the script is sharp, there’s great chemistry between Bullock and McCarthy, and McCarthy’s foul-mouthed, rapid delivery is jaw-dropping.
          My wife and I saw it at an afternoon matinee at our local Multiplex. In time to come, it will be known as the fleapit, but to us it’s still gleaming, new and sophisticated. We can still remember the Odeon it replaced, further down the road, with its gloomy staircases and gaudy paint. Actually, that cinema had been there since I was a boy. I saw The Spy Who Loved Me there, Arabian Adventure, The Land That Time Forgot. And then the first Star Wars film (which I refuse to call Episode IV: A New Hope), which blew my mind away.
          Now, the Odeon is a dazzling glitter ball, with escalators, computer display screens, and closed ticket booths. To get a ticket, you now have to queue at the food counters. There are five of these, and you have to guess which one will be the quickest. We cut the odds down slightly by me standing at one queue and my wife standing at the other, but even then, we had a 15-minutes wait, whilst the people in front of us (only one set of customers each) faffed about deciding whether they wanted salty or sweet popcorn, big, medium or small coke, tortilla chips or pick’n’mix sweets. The people in front of me- a man and his daughter- kept walking away and coming back with more food, whilst the couple in front of my with, I swear to God, spent nearly £40.00.
          I don’t meant to sound like Mark Kermode as I write this. I loved his The Good, The Bad And The Multiplex, but I don’t really care about digital ratios, I’ve never seen Jean De Florette, and I LIKED Pirate Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. But when did cinema-going become so elaborate? I don’t remember buying any sort of food when I was growing up. Our family didn’t buy it, neither did any of my mates. We were only going to be sitting down and watching a film, after all, you didn’t need sustenance, you’d be out in a couple of hours.
          Mark Kermode begins his book by describing a trip to the cinema with his daughter. He complains, rightly, about the price of popcorn, but he still bought his daughter some. Why didn’t he just say no? And ask his daughter if she’d rather go home?
          We took two bottles of Coca-Cola in with us, which we bought from the shop next door. I’ve seen pensioners take sandwiches in with them. I’ve heard about some cinemas where they search your bags and confiscate any edibles not bought on the premises, and obviously that’s wrong. If cinemas think that their patrons need to spend £40 or more per visit, they’re going to lose more and more of them.
          Writing-wise, I’ve been all over the place. I’ve been straining to come up with ideas for a brand new story, but nothing presented itself. I’ve emailed some of my back catalogue to Trembles magazine, for publication on their website. It felt like buying lottery tickets each time, but as I didn’t write the particular stories with Trembles in mind, they probably don’t stand a chance.
          I’ve been writing a story, on and off, WITH Trembles in mind, but that’s been like pulling teeth. Somehow, I don’t seem to be able to figure Trembles magazine out, much as I enjoy reading it. It’s the same with Black Static magazine. They all seem to be writing in the shadow of H.P. Lovecraft, I.e.; borderline science fiction, whereas I’m trying to write like M.R. James, I.e.; supernatural horror.
          My reading has been all over the place, as well. I can’t seem to settle on anything. I’m fighting depression. Everything seems to be irritating me. I feel like I’m stuck.


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