Going to the cinema is very dangerous. I mean that in a physical sense and not just that it rots your brain, turns your frontal lobes to feta cheese and causes your mind to degrade to the sort of thing that you pick out of the patterns in the soles of your trainers with a small stick. It is not just being assaulted by a deafening cacophony of animated robots and aliens from space with evil intent, of sitting through some vomitous teenage pop music soundtrack at the sort of volume that the U.S. Army uses to disgorge dictators from their lairs, or even the collection of juvenile japes about bodily emissions or how funny dead people are.
Nor is it the very real possibility that you may be watching a film with Adam Sandler in it, or that relies on a barrage of consequence-free ultra violence, where no hand is hurt administering and no-one ever gets up from a one punch K.O., delivered with the sound of a wrecking ball knocking over a car. The peril inherent in a trip to the flicks is not even limited to the certain knowledge that you will have forked over a very great deal of money to have your faculties affronted by a repetition of the same story line, over and over again, like there is only one tale in the world; one way in which good meets bad and - SPOILER ALERT - good triumphs in the end. It is not the implicit understanding that the baddie is not really dead, no matter how thoroughly he appears to have been dispatched, if there is fifteen minutes left for the film to run, or that no-one who is good looking and has nice teeth or who has their name above the film title in the poster, will ever meet a sticky end.
The damage done by a trip to the moving pictures is not even that you will be sitting surrounded by chattering apes who natter into their mobile phones and can't stop talking to each other for five bloomin' minutes but who will sit together in silence on the bus home afterwards. It is not even that you might not be able to retrieve your shoes from whatever is making the carpet sticky if you keep them still for more than a moment, or that it is hard to sit comfortably because some mouth-breather has his feet on the back of your seat and appears to be trying to rock himself to sleep.
No, the danger in going to the cinema these days is that you may not be able to climb your way out over the piles of dead people who have eaten themselves to death in the course of 120 minutes. I mean, citizens of Britain, how hungry are you? Can you find it in yourselves to go through the brief period between meals without stuffing your faces with what smells like a teenager's athletic socks and sounds like you are herding Styrofoam chips? Popcorn, in the quantity served at the cinema, we find out, has the same approximate calorific value as a farm and the fat content of the average Asda shopper. No offence.
On a recent visit, taking my life in my hands, I asked if it would be possible for the people sitting behind me to forgo the snacks for the duration of the film, so that at least I could hear the dialogue that was insulting my intelligence. Sadly, they could not answer as they had their mouths full. They let their fingers do the talking.
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