I’ve never watched the whole of Lawrence of Arabia before today. I didn’t want to watch it on a small screen. But with surround sound rigged to an outlandishly large telly, I reckoned Boxing Day to be the right chance to see this classic, the “introducing” film for that wonderful actor and absolute legend Peter O’Toole. I was lucky to have met him before he went, at the Bright Young Things wrap party. He was charming and disarming and mischievous, and he got me completely hammered. No matter how badly I felt the next day I’m glad I met him. It’s taken me this long to see his debut. Fuck me it’s worth it on a big screen. He’s incredibly mercurial, does a lot with a little and positively radiates charisma. I knew it was a cinema movie and I’m glad I waited for a big screen. It was worth it.
David Lean and his crew knew how to frame a shot. All Freddie Young the DoP had in shot sometimes is desert and a couple of dudes on camels. But with the skill of the crew, smart storytelling, the soaring score, and use of the camera, he sucks you into a world. I was lost in it, lost in the desert. I am beginning to get behind this whole “giant telly” thing. I made it through a 3 and a half hour film without motion sickness. Now I’m hungry for more classics. Hit me up with big screen movies I should’ve seen but might not have. I watched Zhivago and Kwai as well as Gone With The Wind obsessively as a kid. I’ll probably do them again over time. And I’ll take your recommendations. There are a lot of great movies in the world now. But those big screen epics are the ones I’m seeking, where the scale of the shots are considered for the scale of the cinema screen.
Watching long movies should probably be down my current list of priorities. The flat is still full of Christmas. One of our guests tidied and cleaned throughout the day yesterday so it was nothing like as bad as it might have been this morning. Still there’s work to be done and it’s work I haven’t done. After the movie I said sad farewell to the last of our Christmas elves and put her in an uber. Another guest had been sober, had a car, and had taken everyone else home in it at midnight. An incredible act of kindness for which I’m intensely grateful.
Christmas done, I started to rebuild my existence in London, around my different sense of self from Camino. Helen came round for dinner, bringing wonderful news of her life, and using random ingredients in my fridge to make a healthy and attractive looking tasty Christmas salad. I introduced her to pickled walnuts. She introduced me to a tasty repeatable salad using them, that she rustled up from my fridge in seconds. Damn it was good, and it was so good to see her too. To know I’m home. To be in reach of so many of my friends again.