I haven't read any of the Fifty Shades of Grey books. Not through any real avoidance, I just assumed it was something I'd eventually get round to, like learning how to make pastry and painting the boiler shed outside. Like so many books I haven't read it's now been long enough that there's a film version. However because most of my time is spent either in Pret or watching Four in a Bed I rarely get round to seeing these either.
The world is Fifty Shades mad. You can't get a bus without looking at a gigantic picture of the two of them open mouthed and lusty. On the way to the cinema we walked past an opticians' window display featuring a pair of black lace knickers (not actually in the film) and a punnet of strawberries (again, not used) littered around an advert for contact lenses. Despite not reading the books, I do know enough to wonder what The Red Room has to do with getting a good deal on eyewear. Christian doesn't strike as the type to need varifocals, but you never know.
I am a devil for hype and the fact everyone (apart from the taxi driver on the way there) was getting so excited about it had got me. It started with all the facts and "news" stories appearing every day: apparently a ticket was sold every seven seconds before it opened, a cinema in Manchester showed it 43 times in a day, Jamie Dornan had an S&M teacher whilst filming. There were also rumours that Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson can't stand each other in real life and that his wife won't go and see it. But it was the leaked B&Q memo suggesting suitable customer service when responding to "sensitive questions" from people buying cable ties that had sent me into frenzy. If it was enough to bring S&M to B&Q, there was no way I wasn't going to see Jamie and Dakota's bottoms.
Being the most pre booked film in history, the cinema was packed. Armed with a Roses and Whips bellini, we joined the throng of girls in heels and blokes checking the Saturday afternoon football scores. We sat in the back row eating overpriced chilli nuts and waiting for the nudity. It seems everyone else was too so a resounding woop went up when he first got his top off. A purist at the front told everyone to shush.
As the next screening was probably moments away there was no time for any pashing or even a sexy glance at the end. The credits had been rolling for 22 seconds when the lights came on and two men with bin bags came in to clear the plastic prosecco flutes. The first thing I said when we came out was "why doesn't she eat any of the free food?" My sweetheart replied "why hasn't he got any guttering?" Erotic.
There was more free food in this film than an Iceland sponsored wedding buffet. Buttery hotel toast on a tray when Ana wakes up from her three drink hangover, a sushi platter when they're having "the contract" meeting, countless glasses of white wine (probably the good stuff) and no doubt anything else you fancy on speed dial. She barely eats a thing. Now I can understand shunning his advances to have the upper hand, but don't look a gift horse. I think the toast tray turned me on more than anything else in the film.
It's also true Christian Grey doesn't have any guttering. The water pours down the window and reflects back on the wall as Ana cries on grey satin sheets. Surely to goodness if he can afford first edition Thomas Hardy, he can afford to avoid the pitfalls of surface water.
Now I like Jamie Dornan, he seems a lovely chap who would offer help with a pulley case up some stairs and compliment your mother's new curtain ties. We know he was very good in The Fall and there was also an excellent appearance on Graham Norton where he discusses the curse of his jaunty walk. A caller on my show described him as "a bit of alright" which I think seemed a far description. However, whilst Jamie is sexy, Christian Grey isn't.
At work he appears to be a postgraduate on his first placement in an accounting firm. Armed with a whip, rather than being stern, he looks a bit bored. Like he's about to clean his non existent guttering. He walks round the bed chucking a flogger over her like he's irrigating a lawn. Even his "sexy clothes," a pair of awful distressed denim jeans, look like they've been kept for decorating.
If a man sold my car and then sent round a new laptop so I could research his sexual preferences, I'd tell him to bugger off. And not in that way. I keep an old unflattering yet very warm navy cardigan in the back of my car, there's also countless Sarah Car 1/2/3 mixtapes and probably half a packet of Wotsits I'd want to sort out.
He later takes her on his little glider as Beyonce sings her breathy Crazy in Love. There is no way you wouldn't be sick as a dog when he flips it upside down. Richard "The Hamster" Hammond vomited throughout when they the same thing (minus Beyonce) on Top Gear and the pilot said everyone does the first time. Ana was sick after one shot on her night out yet full 360 degree spinning round in a cockpit and she doesn't even turn pale.
One of my favourite bits of Fifty Shades "news" is that it's been given a 12 certificate in France. Straight away conjuring up the vision of a man with an immaculate moustache wafting away the film with a cigarette saying "oui, oui, we've seen all this before." And we have. We've seen The Secretary and Pretty Woman and if you've seen one ice cube rolling down to a navel, you've seen them all.
Bored Christian or not, I did think the sexy bits were good. I was waiting for a louder point to open a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs and the sex scenes did provide the perfect opportunity but my attention was held throughout so I forgot all about them. You can imagine my delight when I remembered the bag later. The relevance of my forgetting chocolate can never be underestimated enough, so there are sexy tit bits to be had. There's just a bit more to have a laugh at.