Opinion: Janet Christie: Remember when ... we went to the cinema?

The Last Picture Show?

The Way We Were. Looking forward to cinemas re-opening in the future
The Way We Were. Looking forward to cinemas re-opening in the future

My kids and I went to The Last Picture show last week. I hope it wasn’t, but it felt like it. This was before the latest changes, back in the heady days when our households could go to the cinema together.

I’d booked seats and was loading up with snacks when Middle arrived straight from work to collect me and Youngest.

“What’s that?” he says.

“Popcorn!” I shout over the rustling. A big bag each so there’s no fighting.”

“You’re not bringing that to the cinema. I’m sick of people with their food. You can’t hear the film, munching and crunching.”

“We’re the only ones going! When I booked anyway.”

“Even worse. There’ll be an echo. Have you got any Tupperware?”

To keep the peace, er silence, I decant the popcorn from the VERY NOISY bags into old takeaway boxes.

“Drinks,” I say.

“There will be water there,” he says firmly.

Better be. Sucking popcorn can be an arid experience.

Eldest is already waiting at the deserted multiplex.

“Popcorn! Yaas!” he says gratifyingly.

Seated at the end I look along all of my ducks in a socially distanced row in a cinema with more gaps than Shane McGowan’s pre-makeover mouth.

“This place has the atmosphere of Mars,” I say to my neighbour, Middle.

“Yeah, it was like this when I came to see Star Wars,” he says.


“Shhhhhh!” hisses Youngest, loudly.

If Middle minds munchers, Youngest’s pet peeve is yakkers. (The irony being that her favourite show is Gogglebox, which she makes us watch in silence).

“People that laugh in horror films are the worst, ruins the mood. The reason you go for the big screen is to get the fear mood.”)

The film starts: Schemers, about when Iron Maiden played the Caird Hall in Dundee in the 80s and I relive my youth with its pubs and pay phones, gigs and giros. There’s a banging soundtrack so I mum-dance in my seat and don’t say ‘I worked in that pub’, or ‘I was at that gig’, sucking my popcorn very quietly. I loved it. Would they?

“Yass!” says Eldest as we leave. “Good music, funny, thanks. We should do this again soon,” and the others agree.

“How things used to be, eh?” says Eldest.

How right he was.

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