Sunday, 16 January 2011

The King's Speech and the 4 Broken Wittertainment Rules

You know sometimes you find yourself in an everyday situation that is so weird, or that you have spoken about recently, or where someone acts like a character out of a Victoria Wood sketch, that you have to pinch yourself to make sure you're not dreaming?

This happened to me, or I should say to us, today when we went to the cinema to see the much talked about film, The King's Speech.

We popped along to our local "world of cine complex" and duly bought our tickets for a Sunday matinee showing. I had heard that the matinee performances were being packed out by OAPs and, according to reports on the radio (and the personal experience of my mother-in-law), the pensioner audience was very audible; breaking two of Radio 5's Wittertainment Code of Conduct (see right) re. cinema etiquette, viz noisy food wrappers and audible 'participation' in the plot-line.

So it was my heart leapt for joy when we entered just 5 minutes before the scheduled start to find an empty and very large auditorium.

Oh joy. Oh rapture.

We settled into our seats in the centre of the auditorium, sure as we could be that the theatre was unlikely (to say the least!) to fill in the few minutes left.

The minutes passed by. The seconds ticked down. The tension was palpable.

How exciting.

Then, just as the first adverts started (as a rule I hate adverts, always remembering what Hilaire Belloc said of them, and always wondering why skateboarding, skydiving and mountaineering sells - ahem! - 'ladies items' or why car adverts so very rarely tell you anything useful about the car they are selling) in walked a couple...

Cue the ominous music!

Now - oh faithful and patient reader - let me ask you one question. With an entire cinema theatre (or 'screen' as it's called in these here days) to sit in, where do you think these two people chose to sit?

A few rows away? A few seats off?

If only.

They sat directly behind us!


I suppose it could have been worse, but only if they'd sat in front of us with Carmen Mirandaesque fruit hats on, smoking Old Holborn in sailors' pipes with the worst halitosis since mangy old dogs drank out of portable toilets at a music festival!

As it was they sat right behind us. I know I'm repeating myself, but even now I can't believe they sat where they sat. I mean, to quote that great sage of the 20th Century Bart Simpson, aye carumba!

It would be bad enough if the story stopped there. But oh no.

Worse was to come.

They proceeded to break four of the ten 'Code of Conduct' rules as detailed above.

They began as soon as the film began.
  • They ate. Loud enough to notice. Sweets and what sounded like biscuits. Munch, munch, munch.
  • They rustled. Sweet wrapper after sweet wrapper was unravelled. Rustle, rustle, rustle.
  • They kicked my seat (I don't think purposefully, but nonetheless, the seat was indeed kicked).
  • Last but not least shoes were removed.
Thank the Good Lord for His Mercy, the unwrapped appendages did not smell, but the sound of velcro being pulled apart twice (yes: velcro!) signalled the removal of a pair of God-only-knows-what. I could only imagine that the offending articles were from the Innovations catalogue (RIP 2003).

I was tempted to move, but the film had begun and the upheaval of us moving might have annoyed my familial companions and I more than the drip, drip, drip of Chinese water-torture style cinematic misdemeanours I could hear and feel.

I was tempted to turn around and request they behave in a more civilised fashion, but the fear of them refusing, or ignoring my courteous supplications and me "blowing a fuse" as a result was too much for me to contemplate, and so I thought silence was the better part of valour, in this instance.

The film itself was superb and a joy to watch, moreover for the struggle of an individual to overcome his personal shortcomings, albeit with the added ingredient of the Royal Family and its environs in the 1930s in the shadow of the rise of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. It deserves all the plaudits it receives and the awards that will surely follow.

Would that those attracted to view it at their local multiplex behaved in a fitting manner for such a cinematic treat.

1 comment:

  1. LOL! I know exactly how that feels. It seems to happen to me whenever I go to a cinema. In fact, it seems to happen to me in churches, too! I can't believe how rude some people can be, even during Mass! (That's one reason I go to the Brompton Oratory - as the congregants tend to be well-behaved there!).

    I went to see The King's Speech last night, too. I also thought it was excellent, though had to sit on the very edge of a row close to the front, as the auditorium was completely packed! This was in the Chelsea Cinema. I must say that everyone chatted throughout the ads and trailers, but most were actually quite quiet during the film itself (the odd cough and laugh, etc).


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