Sunday, 13 November 2011

I'd rather be nostalgic about the 80s than my Ex

When we got back from travelling, the Ex and I got a year's membership to London's Prince Charles Cinema.

Having finally found a boy and a cinema which shared my love of independent and classic films, it ended up being our go-to place for a date the whole time we were together.

Even on that January night when something wasn't right, it was where we went to try and fix what was going wrong. I'd tried throughout the film to loop an arm through his, or rest my head on his shoulder, feeling a pang in my chest each time it wasn't reciprocated.

That was the last time we - and by proxy, I - went to the cinema. My membership ran out some months after the relationship ended, and because in my head it was "our place", I didn't go back.

Then a few weeks ago I saw they were screening one of my favourite ever childhood films, Labyrinth. Thinking that it was high time I reclaimed one of my favourite hobbies again for myself, I grabbed two tickets and enlisted my friend PIB for a night of masquerade masks and Bowie-esque shenanigans.

And so on Saturday night, with masks and glasses of Bowie Punch in hand, me and my friend walked into a room full of dressed up 80s Labyrinth enthusiasts, all blowing bubbles, batting balloons (and, err, fake babies) into the air while singing along to the Bowie soundtrack.

In short, I have never ever had so much fun watching a film. I laughed through the entire thing, reciting the words along with the packed audience, singing, cheering each character and generally mouthing off in a way I've never seen fit to do in a cinema. And all the while, the chest-infected PIB had a little nap-nap under the cover of her mask, before waking up and tipping beer into her Prada bag. A successful night all round.

Later, we walked out with our masks still pulled over our faces, and tottered up Long Acre. Still chatting about the film (or, in PIB's case, the last 15 minutes), we found ourselves being yelled at by a group of boys in command of a microphone and loudspeaker.

After ignoring their amplified advances, eventually one of the lads caught up with us. We estimated his age at about fourteen years old, what with the braces and onset of acne, but he seemed harmless enough.

"Awright ladies! Sorry, I saw you up the road and had to come and say hi."
"Hi." we replied, stopping as he blocked our way.
"Where've ya been? What's with the masks?"
"Labyrinth" we said in unison. "We've been to see Labyrinth"

The boy looked impressed. Shocked even. How cool were we?

And then, he uttered four words which would make any nostalgic 80's child tut, roll their eyes, and generally feel rather old:

"Wow, cool! The rapper?"

Having answered with every ounce of disdain we could muster "Err, NO, the FILM", we left him looking rather confused, and no doubt searching IMDB for this mysterious new film about rappers wearing masks.

A text from PIB the next day summarised perfectly:

i think we've now established the deciding factor for what constitutes as "too young" in a potential beau... Bowie. *sigh*


Spurred on by the evening's success, with a Sunday to kill and a spring in my step, yesterday I took myself back down the Northern Line to Leicester Square and did something I've been wanting to do for a long time.

After renewing my cinema membership for another year, I bought a ticket for one, found a seat in the dark, and watched a film surrounded by strangers. And like most things where the idea is more terrifying than reality, it was the best Sunday afternoon I've had in a long time.

Not only can I go back to the cinema again; a place championed by couples and once upon a time, "us", but I can do it on my own.

The final words of this post are best left to the same bloke who ended my last, then no more De Botton quotes, I swear.
I had to revisit almost every physical location, rewrite over every topic of conversation, replay every song and every activity that she and I had shared in order to reconquer them for the present, in order to diffuse their associations.
But gradually, I forgot.


The Prince Charles Cinema said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. We had a blast hosting this event and glad you enjoyed yourself too.

Oh and welcome back to the club. We're very happy to have you back in our cinema :)

One Fine Weasel said...

That. Is. Great.

AND wv is 'flopsy'.

Onwards and upwards.

Anonymous said...

Jo, this is fantastic and so nice to read. :)

Breeza said...

Good for you! I love Labyrinth too.

Anonymous said...

aw, so glad PCC linked to your blog; I can relate so much (same age, the break-up, associating the cinema with Ex, etc)

Anonymous said...

You have TASTE! Labyrinth is my favourite movie! I'd kill to go to a screening like that. I'm jealous, and glad you could enjoy it. I had a similar experience this weekend, I took the guy I'm sort of seeing to Brunswick St (did you get there when you were in Melbourne? It's my favourite) and though I associate it with my ex to an extent, it was fun to see it through this new guy's eyes. Until he picked up a book and started saying how cool it was. I had bought it for my ex on our anniversary. Awkward, but bearable.

Great to see you feeling a bit better. x

JUST ME said...

Um, I love this. Mostly because you are a hot independent woman and I love that and also because The Labyrinth is one of my all time FAVORITE movies. I wish they would do a Labyrinth night in my town.

PS: You remind me of the babe.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

The PCC - It's good to be back! You lot put on such a bloody good show and deserve every mention you get. Thanks for commenting.

One Fine Weasel - You said it :)

Perp - Yeaaaah, today cinema on my own, tomorrow THE WORLD. etc

Breeza - It's the best film EVER.

Anon - Thanks for reading. It's nice to know you've been there too. Well, not nice. No one should get heartbroken (apart from the bastards). But reassuring. If that makes sense.

Unpacking - The name rings a bell, but my memory of Melbourne is a little scarred by rain and tennis. However, how blummin' awkward is it going to somewhere you used to frequent with someone else, with a new boy - mental. How weird that he picked up the same book, too. *cue X-files theme*

Just Me - It makes me happy this blog is read by people so absolutely on my level.


Leigh said...

I am so jealous! A Labyrinth night is quite possibly the best idea ever. What better way to start ridding yourself of mental associations with an ex than with Bowie in leggings and dancing goblin puppets?

That De Botton quote is beautiful. Essays in Love is definitely going on my wishlist for when my self imposed book buying ban is over.

London-Lass said...

Great stuff, Jo :) And, yes, going to the cinema by oneself in theory seems strange, but in reality pretty good. You get all the popcorn, you get all the armrests and you get to see all the film without having to break off to explain bits to someone or being interrupted by them whispering icky hot breath in your ear, etc., etc.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Leigh - I was a bit sceptical, having not been able to get into another of his books in the past, but it's worth a read.

London Lass - Also, sometimes when you drag someone along to see a film you really want to see, but they're not too bothered, you feel a bit awkward if it's especially violent or a bit nuts - I just found it more relaxing not worrying if the other person I was with was enjoying it.

treacle said...

Brilliant post Jo :-) I've been to the cinema a couple of times on my own and loved.

I also love the PCC :D good taste!

Blonde said...

Huh. Prince Charles Cinema in "brand that understands social media" shocker.

Sounds like a whacking great leap in the right direction to me. Huzzah. x

Oh, and I'm totally buying that De Botton book.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

treacle - It's the best cinema in the world (and the cheapest, I reckon).

Blonde - I couldn't make head nor tail of his other ones, but this one hits several nails right on the head.

modelofamodernmajorgeneral said...

I'm older than you (but not that much) and I have no recollection about labyrinth. Does this make me a bad man?

I've been in your 'manor'* for the last couple of days, said hello to Nutty and then buggered off. I really have no idea how you live there. And yes, I am a Yokel.

*i.e. London, more specifically that part of London that isn't either a) Hampshire or b) the Ocean.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

It doesn't make you a bad person, I'm sure there's evidence that most children who watched Labyrinth grew up to have slightly skewed ideas as to "how tight is too tight" when it comes to men wearing spandex.

Oh, London's lovely. You just have to know where to go (PCC is one of those places).

ayemiy said...

Nicely done. I love cinema by myself. It feels decadent, and I like to imagine everyone else wondering where I have gotten to.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Nail on head. I think that's what I liked about it too, just disappearing into the dark for a few hours in the afternoon.

Ruby Tuesday said...

That last quote made me a bit teary. Even though I've met someone else and he makes me really, really happy, not a day goes by that my ex doesn't cross my mind in relation to some little thing. Good work on getting back out there. We'll both get there in the end.


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