A sit down protest; GARY BAINBRIDGE One man's struggle with the 21st century.
"Right," I said. "Because I'm an adult, I'd like to sit at the back."
What sort of person actually wants to sit at the front at the cinema, apart from a child who has never sat at the front? I did it once on my ninth birthday when I took a number of close friends and, to be honest, hangers-on, to see Flash Gordon at the Classic.
"Let's sit at the front," they said. I agreed. It was like being locked in a kaleidoscope while Brian Blessed shouted in my face. It gave me a crick in my neck, a lifelong fear of beards, and the abiding conviction that eight and nine-year-old boys know almost nothing.
The young man in the kiosk handed me my ticket and I set off up the stairs to the auditorium. I was alone because nobody would come with me, for obvious reasons.
The usher refused me entry, as the staff hadn't finished removing all the detritus left behind by the savages in the previous audience. So I sat down, and waited, reading the cast lists on posters of films I won't see. I could profitably have spent the time examining my ticket, but hindsight is a nasty thing...
When the poor man whose job it is to pick up all the sticky wrappers emerged through the door, the usher beckoned me forward. He took my ticket, crisply tore down the perforations like a seasoned pro - to prevent me from immediately seeing the film a second time, as if I were one of the Teletubbies - handed me back my portion, and sent me on my way.
I walked into a completely empty auditorium, rows upon rows of unoccupied seats. It was like a meeting of the Jimmy Savile Fan Club.
I looked at my ticket to see which seat had been allocated to me, and the usher had torn it so enthusiastically that the part of the ticket with the seat number on it had been ripped off.
What sort of usher can't rip a ticket properly, I thought? He only has two jobs: one of which is ripping a ticket in half, the other is standing up. I realised I would have to go back to ask for the bit of ticket that was rightfully mine.
And then I gazed out at the acres of space in front of me, the vista of unoccupied seats, and thought, "Stuff them. I'll sit where I like."
I sat on the back row in a fairly central position - cinematic perfection - and started reading one of those free arts magazines one picks up in posh cinemas, aimed at young people.
A couple of minutes later I was reading a spread about some twigs in a box from Seoul, when I heard a couple enter the cinema behind me.
They had a muttered conversation, and moved along the row, and, gripped as I was by the twigs, I turned slightly. They were looking at their tickets and then inspecting the seat numbers.
Blessed At Flash And then they started back, and I knew, out of the hundreds of empty seats I could have chosen...
"I'm sitting in your seat, aren't I?" "Yes," he replied. He looked both disgruntled and apologetic at the same time, which was annoying as I actually hold the copyright on that state of mind.
"All the seats in this auditorium, and you want this one?" I thought.
"All the seats in this auditorium, and you want this one?" he, presumably, also thought.
It was a classic Mexican stand-off.
But he had the ticket, and, as far as anybody was in the wrong, I was in the wrong.
"Right," I said. "It's not my fault. The man ripped my ticket and..." The excuse became ground glass in my throat. I was being forced to move and I was not happy about it. I started gathering my things, as the couple made their way down the row. The twigs would have to wait.
I stood up...
They sat down... And I sat in the seat right next to the couple, where I remained for the rest of the showing. For, while I am an adult when it comes to selecting a cinema seat, when it comes to revenge, I am a nine-year-old boy.
Follow Gary on Twitter: @Gary_Bainbridge or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blessed relief: At least Flash Gordon wasn't showing
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|Publication:||Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)|
|Date:||Apr 7, 2014|
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