It's my son's birthday soon. It's a bit too soon after Christmas for my liking. Suddenly I'm shopping for presents again. Amongst other things*, he's asked for the Harry Potter DVD box set. It's his 11th birthday - the very age when Harry Potter discovers that he is a wizard. I hope my son turns out to be a wizard too then maybe I won't have to go shopping anymore. He can just wave a twiggy stick about shouting "DVDidius Box Settiosa" and it will appear. Job done.
I know what you're all thinking - "No one goes shopping anymore Trev, you big old fashioned idiot! Order it online you nob head". Well I would have done but I left it a bit too late and yes I know that's my fault but now I don't quite trust that it will get to me in time even with next day delivery and there's a weekend in between and if it doesn't arrive on Monday then I'll have to rush out to the shops and find one anyway so I may as well have gone out and bought it from a shop in the first place and now I've ended up with two. So there. That's the explaining about it. But it won't be easy even getting it from a shop. Not where I live.
I live in a small town. It's still 1989 here. It's not like those big cities where modern people live; modern people who walk the big city streets wearing trainers with wings. It's true. I was in a big city this week and I saw a young bloke wearing just that. A pair of green camouflaged trainers that had wings sticking out of each side. When I was a kid I often dreamed about a future where everyone was silver and we'd all fly around in hover boots but I never expected winged faux military sports footwear. I'm hardly one to talk but I have to say he did look totally ridiculous. Like Hermes, the Greek mythical winged messenger for the 21st century in day-glo skinny jeans and big hair, bringing us the message - don't buy expensive fashion trainers with wings, they're a waste of money - you still have to walk in them. If he shows up, just shoot him.
Those modern people from the big cities who snack on kelp noodle super food out of plastic pod trays sipping pomegranate and pumpkin smoothies wouldn't know what to eat and drink in my little town. The local bakers shop still sells shortbread biscuits with pink icing in the shape of Mr Blobby. And that's all. Well and maybe a pasty if you go in before 10.30am. The corner shop sells Happy Shopper cream soda. Where the hell am I going to find a Harry Potter DVD box set?
I know what you're all thinking - "No one buys DVDs anymore Trev, you big old fashioned idiot! Download the Blu-ray version directly into your son's brain with the online Harry Potter film streaming service Pottify". Well I would have done but it seems like a waste of a cheap DVD player to me and anyway I vowed not to download anything directly into my son's brain until he was 16 because of the nuclear threat and he hasn't even had the microchip injected into his ear yet because I was saving that for his thirteenth birthday and anyway if I download anything it won't be Harry Potter it will be Steve Martin's The Jerk. So there. That's the explaining about it.
There is a place nearby where I might find a DVD box set. The out of town shoppingplex for people with cars. I'll drive there. They've got all those shops that "The News" keeps telling us are going bankrupt soon. They had a box set in at Christmas, I saw it. It was Only Fools and Horses. They might have ordered Harry Potter in as well by now but I doubt it. They'll be bankrupt soon. Why bother?
Bloody Harry Potter. He's given me a right headache this week. Not just the DVD box set. His latest film has caused me problems too. Harry Potter and the Woman in Black. Certificate 12A. Certificate 12A means, if accompanied by an adult, any child under 12 can watch the film even though it's completely inappropriate. Now my son wants to see Harry Potter and the Woman in Black with some school friends as a birthday treat. He's walked past the poster on the way to school every day for the last month. He loves Harry Potter films. This one isn't in the DVD box set. So he wants to see it at the cinema. And he's allowed to. It's a 12A. Of course it's a 12A. The film makers know that every young Harry Potter fan in the land will nag their parents to take them to see it.
Then my twin daughters see it first. They're 15. "Dad! Don't let him see that film. It's terrifying. Don't take him!" They're serious. They think if their little brother sees it he'll have some kind of ghost fear fit and throw himself out of an open window. I'm more sceptical. But then they tell me all about it. And maybe they've got a point. Yup! That's a fun birthday treat. Take a bunch of children to watch other children commit suicide; cough up blood and burn to death. Better ask the other parents' permission first I suppose. Big mistake.
My wife texts around. The answers fly back. One parent says. "Your daughters are big wusses! Of course you can take my son to see it. He enjoys mental trauma". Another one - "my son is easily spooked. I'd rather he didn't see it. You are bad parents" - and finally "My son has just seen it. He screamed and had to be taken out of the cinema sobbing". Last year it was me who screamed and had to be taken out of the cinema sobbing. That's because we went to see Big Momma's House 3. This is a chance to get my own back.
I like horror films. I like scary films. They're just films after all. But to avoid any more stress we've decided we won't take my son and his ten year old mates to see Harry Potter and the Woman in Black. They can come round our house instead for Happy Shopper cream soda and Mr Blobby Biscuits. Then they can watch DVDs. That'll be interesting. We don't have many. If I don't manage to find the box set he wanted they'll end up watching Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Exorcist.
Happy birthday son!
*I've just looked at his birthday present list. He's just added camouflaged trainers with wings.
Where's that open window!?