Noisy Little Bagginses

To abuse John Lennon’s immortal quip, “Those of you in the cheap seats, please rustle your crisp packets, the rest if you can just sigh in disbelief!’

This was my experience at a recent Sunday afternoon screening of ‘The Hobbit’.

I could only imagine how furious the Sound Editor of this film would be, having no doubt laboured tirelessly to create a perfect soundtrack for this movie, if he knew that most of it was being drowned out by the incessant rustle of food wrappers.

It was this crazy cacophony of packaging related noise that distracted from the movie – a movie that I had paid £11 or my hard-earned to see.

Now while I am well aware that ‘snacking’ in cinemas (movie theatres to my American audience) is a long held tradition, the historic choices of popcorn and hotdogs are somewhat silent in comparison to the modern offerings. When was the last time you heard a frankfurter ‘crunch’, or winced at the ‘crackling’ of a cardboard popcorn carton? Even Maltesers were traditionally sold in boxes for this very reason.

I always believed that such packaging precautions were in deference to the performance which, after all, is the main reason for attending!

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Doritos – Not renowned as a ‘Stealth’ Snack!

It would now seem that ODEON Cinema’s tag line ‘Fanatical About Film’ should be changed to ‘Fanatical About Food’. During a brief inspection of their food concessions after the film, I found large bags of Doritos and a myriad of sweets in noisy plastic bags – not exactly Film Friendly Fare!

Have the owners of these establishments forgotten what their core business is all about? Yes, Mr Odeon, you are a cinema, you show movies; it’s all about the movies!

So why would you want to encourage the less considerate amongst us to crawl out of the shallow end of the gene pool and consume food that would have adversely affect everyone else ability to enjoy your main product? Unless thats the point here?

There’s not enough money in selling movie tickets, so you have to supplement your income with snack and drinks? Now, as a businessman myself, i understand this. But what i do not understand is that you are quite able to limit this fare to that which is less audible, but for some reason you are not prepared to do so.

It has even been made easy for you with some free advice, courtesy of the BBC which I have reposted below. Anyone who is vaguely into films should listen to Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s brilliant 5live show/podcast – you will quickly pick up on the theme that movies are there to be appreciated considerately, and their ‘Conduct of Conduct’ is the embodiment of this movement.

Until such time that modern cineplexes take note of such concerns and return to their roots, i say:

“Odeon – Fanatical about Fuck-All except Feeding their Fat Faces with our Filthy Lucre!”

An idiots guide to attending a movie

Recession? What Recession?

It’s Saturday lunchtime and I have just squeezed myself into a tight corner of my local cafe for a ‘Cup’a’Joe’ and a warm, succulent, Chicken, Brie and spinach wrap.

And when I say ‘squeezed’ , I mean ‘shoehorned’; this place is rammed!! Wall-to-wall, the tables are full of shoppers, lunchers, hungover brunchers, and the occasional iPad wielding blogger.
And yet the soundtrack to our lives at the moment, if it were selected by the popular media, would be Simply Red’s seminal work ‘Money’s Too Tight to Mention’.

Every day we are brought down by news of shop closures, job losses, and price rises, most of which we can see evidence of with our own eyes. I am in no way suggesting that the recession is a myth; you only have to be a less-than-impressed holder of ‘Comet’ or ‘Jessops’ gift vouchers to know that it is all quite real.

But, I AM saying that the spread of ‘suffering’ is a peculiar and uneven one. Looking down the main shopping road of my home town, I can see empty premises and struggling businesses in permanent ‘SALE’ mode, and yet Coffee Shops, Bars, Cafe’s and Restaurants are routinely packed to the rafters.

A brief consideration as to why this might be throws up the thought that ‘Everyone’s got to eat sometime’ , somewhat along the lines of Maureen Lipman’s famous ‘People will always need plates’ line. But then it’s plain to see that a Hoisin Duck Salad washed down with an Extra Shot Skinny Latte cannot be classed as an ‘essential’.

Then we think of the social angle. Is it purely that we are not prepared to sacrifice time with our friends, however hard up we might be? This end could of course be achieved within our own homes, but that seems to have fallen by the wayside. Inviting friends to your home for lunch and a coffee seems to have become unfashionable, even though the truth of the matter is that better experience is likely to be had. When was the last time you were rushed off your table in your own home in favour of the next customer? And if the service is slow or the food poor, then you have no-one to blame but yourself!

Needless to say that a home made cake and some sandwiches prepared by your own fair hand would cost you less than the first round of Costa coffees!
Speaking of which, Costa Coffee’s turnover increased by 27.5% in the year 2011/12, and their profits by 38%.

If its a given that we all, on average, have a ‘paucity of moolah’ in 2013, it makes me wonder what we are sacrificing elsewhere to maintain our ‘Lady wot lunches’ lifestyle.

Answers on the back of a Starbucks napkin please………

Making the ‘Smoast’ of your holiday!

‘Smoasting’, if I’m honest, is a term I had to look up after being accused of it on the Book of Face recently. It came as no surprise to me that it is a contraction of Social Media Boasting, and joins such terms as ‘egotwistical’ and, ironically, ‘twabbreviating’, on the ever expanding list of social media slang.

Whilst the first accusation was somewhat tongue in cheek, the second was from a friend who is somewhat of a noted Facebook troll. Although I usually try to stick to the adage ‘Don’t Feed the Trolls’, this second comment riled me somewhat and made me question why posting on holiday is such a faux pas, if indeed it actually is.

The accusation was basically that, as well as being boastful by posting from a glamorous holiday location, I was neglecting my partner and not taking full advantage of my time off.
I find this odd. Very odd.

Firstly, let me quickly dismiss the ‘best use of my vacation time’ aspect as pure nonsense. I enjoy Social Media, my partner enjoys her Kindle. These things can co-exist quite comfortably with the states of ‘enjoying our holiday’ and ‘spending time together’. I pity the fool (Thank you Mr T for never being able to utter those words without your voice in my head) that feels they have to spend every single waking hour of their holiday devoted to their partner – it’s not natural!

So on to the main point:
Are we really saying that it is ok to post about what we had for tea, how the journey home from work went, what the weather is doing, and what colour pants we are wearing to a party round the corner a week on Thursday, BUT, it is not ok to post that we are having a great time, in a great place, away from the humdrum of everyday life?

Do we really only want to hear about the mundanities of our friends lives?

Don’t we want to share in all the exciting achievements, happy times and great experiences?
I for one love to see the exciting things my friends are doing, and value those posts just as highly as those which tell me that they’re at Nando’s, or just about to go into a movie, or the launderette.
(Although obviously the most prized posts are those much-shared photos of children who survived cancer and now need your ‘Likes’, or the child being reunited with his US Serviceman dad who needs Facebook to remind him how much of a hero he is).

Back ‘on topic’, the concept of ‘smoasting’, whilst genuine in some cases, is, i believe, far too often attributable to what the Australians call ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’, i.e. wanting to cut down to size those who have any measure of success.

I don’t think it’s as simple as jealousy, but I still think it’s a bit ugly, and a clear example of how, as a modern society, we struggle to applaud the good things in life, but are happy to while away the hours ‘Liking’ each others ‘unremarkability’.

There you go…..I’ve made up my own insulting word.

21/12/12 – The Day the World Didn’t End

Soooooo……we’re all still here?

Not really a surprise to most of us.

You must have been living under rock not to have heard about the supposed ‘End of the the World’ as ‘predicted’ by the Mayan’s when they ran out of space on their calendar. For the last few days the webosphere has been abuzz with Memes, status’s (or should that be status’, or maybe stati?) and more than the occasional micro-blog on the subject. Over the last couple of years, it’s been the subject of cheap TV documentaries aplenty, and even the odd Feature film or two.

Now that it’s all done and finished with, I feel I must admit to a little guilty secret; ie. Part of me was hoping that the world WOULD end.

Depending on how well you know me, if at all, you will receive this news with varying degrees of surprise. I perfectly well understand that some of you will have no interest whatsoever!

The fact is that if it had ended, if the ‘predictions’ (I use this term VERY loosely here) had been true, then some good would have come of it in my opinion.

Firstly, poverty, excess, cruelty, envy, and host of other ‘deadly sins’ would have been wiped out in a single blow. No more need for charities, politicians, or zealotical activists to bust a gut trying to solve the worlds problems. None of us would have been forced to witness human-kind’s slow decline into the abyss.

Secondly, we would have all met our maker at near enough the same time. no more worrying and wondering about what lies beyond. We all find out together, leaving no-one behind to suffer in ignorance. One mass exodus to the promised land, or…….nothing. Absolute nothing. A big old empty pot of boiled up zero, with a vacuum garnish.

My third thought on the subject is questionable because ‘it depends’. It depends on ‘how’ it would of happened. You see, this is because my good lady woman and I are currently vacationing on the sunny Isle of Jamaica, thousands of miles away from home. A lovely place to be if the light switch of life as we know it is just ‘flicked off’. Not so good if its a slow lingering end, as we would have time to mourn the distance from our loved ones, with no chance of returning for that final goodbye.

Cheerful stuff eh?

Well we can all rest easy for now. It didn’t happen, and the next predicted end of the world date is 2016 according to an article in the Weekly World News, although I am yet to be convinced that this publication, with all its modern news gathering techniques, is any more reliable than an ancient calendar based around the ‘Birth of Venus’.

Four years to go folks……