I had forgotten going to the cinema.
Picturehouse Shaftesbury Avenue. A dark and unseasonably warm October evening. Dune.
First I have to get there, which involves the underground. It’s still not as crowded as it used to be down there. I still don’t like it. “Remember, some people find it harder than other people to socially distance,” says a prerecorded announcement at Sloane Square, and it reminds me how we have normalised staying away from each other now. I sit alone and am glad to get back out under the sky. I grab a hotdog, and wait for Brian. Three hours in the cinema, coming right up.
8000 years in the future, and nothing makes any fucking sense but it’s beautiful. The plot is full of holes but it’s gorgeous. It’s a huge bright weird world, and it’s lovely to spend a few hours in it just wondering what in hell is going to happen next. I find it mildly perplexing that they all have such ordinary names. I’ve grown used to names like Thardrak in films like this. In Dune we’ve got Paul and Duncan. It somehow just shifts the brain into a more pedestrian world.
The look of it is great. I remember being struck by the crazy big Lynch film of the same book. This can exist alongside it really, as a huge modern view of a very odd world, with less Sting and more CGI mice. It’s psychedelic space opera. Spice is basically intergalactic psylocibin. It’s all a big trip. They’ve put some amazing faces in this film – uglies and beauties. There’s loads of arbitrary stuff that just happens. You have to just let it wash over you, and don’t ask too many questions. It’s a big old noisy world. I’m looking forward to the second one.
For a long time I avoided buying popcorn in the cinema. It’s so overpriced, but I’m happy to do it right now when the industry needs propping up. By shoving sweet and salty mixed into my face I can tell myself I’m helping keep the building open. I was glad it was pretty crowded in there. We stood in the queue and loaded up on sugar. Nuts. Chocolate. The corn. A large drink. We made an absolute mess of our seating area with our clumsy popcorn antics. And it was just great to be in a public place with a friend, surrounded by other actual people, sharing this absurd and wonderful piece of big screen story. I’ve got the taste for cinema again now. Perhaps I’ll go and see the Bond film. I’ll see if I can persuade Lou…