Day 170: Achievement 57. See a film at the IMAX cinema.

The BFI IMAX has Europe’s largest cinema screen and it’s right there, bang smack in the middle of a large roundabout on Waterloo Road. Access is by a network of subterranean walkways, each painstakingly, and quite possibly post-modernly, decorated with an assortment of fairy lights and bold paintings. But nothing can detract from the sheer amount of brutal concrete on display.

Tron: Legacy 3D

A cinema ticket (above).

So, we’ve got the location. Let’s set up the anthropological elements to this tale. Claire and I were in the early stages of courtship and a Monday afternoon trip to the cinema seemed like a good thing to do. I’d had the day off, Claire had spent the morning in Kent. (This isn’t relevant, really, I’m just trying to pad this out so there’s some sort of length-based justification for it popping up in my Twitter and Facebook feeds.) So, we rock up, pick up the tickets, and hit the cafe for a couple of soft drinks. They were really quite expensive but, not wanting to appear a tight arse (and ruin my chances of a snog), dutifully swallowed hard and paid up. And then drank every little bit of that Coke. Very slowly. Savouring every last drop.

And up to the auditorium. Bloody hell. That screen is big. Good job our seats are quite far ba… oh, no, they’re not.  If you’ve never had twelve metres of cinema screen on a wall almost directly in front of you, it’s something you should try. Once. Briefly. And remember to not do again. Especially if it’s a 3D film. Which ‘Tron: Legacy 3D’ most certainly is.  Well, certain scenes are.  Others are just plain old 2D.  In the IMAX, in fact, it’s a 70mm 1.78:1 blow-up p&s of 1080p HDCAM SR. Meaning you’d probably get better picture quality by watching it on a BluRay at home.

Anyway, it was my first time in an IMAX in about 20 years and also my first ever time of seeing a modern 3D flick.   Neither convinced me; the IMAX screen is simply too big for a feature film, the cutting between 2D and 3D did my head in and the 3D effect was, at best, a novelty.  In reality, it was nauseating and headache-inducing.  And the 3D glasses just served to remind me that my ears are a bit lop-sided.

Anyway.  Enough of me.  Let’s end with Claire’s review the film: “Looks good – boring.”

Day 137: Achievement 40. Make it to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

Oh, I wondered how long it’d be.  Writing this, in late January, it seems I’ve cocked up the chronology of last year’s events.  If you’re one of the more avid readers here, you’ll have learned about our japes at the darts.  The aforementioned japes were on a Friday.  On the Wednesday just before, I paid a visit to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.  If you’re reading this at some point after (*oohs, scratches beard*) about mid-February, you’ll be wondering what I’m going on about.  And that’ll be because I’ve slyly changed the publishing date of this post so it appears in the right place.  But, if you’re reading this now, I probably haven’t done that yet.  Or perhaps I have and, in a fit of fakery fear, have forgotten to remove this paragraph.

So. Moving swiftly along… let’s experiment with drama!

SCENE 1: Hyde Park Corner station ticket office.

CLAIRE is leaning against a ticket machine with a bit of a face on.  NICK approaches from the up escalator.

N: “Hey, lady!”

C: “I’ve been robbed, Nick!”

NICK makes some deductions  Bag?  Obviously not, cos it was over her shoulder. Purse? Probably not, otherwise CLAIRE would be on the phone to the bank. iPod?  Nah, because CLAIRE still had her earphones in. iPhone? Unlikely, seeing as CLAIRE was in the process of texting someone to tell them she’d been robbed. Gloves? Hmmm, perhaps. Everybody needs a pair of gloves in winter, even the quick-fingered. Actually, they could probably make extra use of them (leaving no finger prints). CLAIRE is texting on an iPhone; NICK considers this not to be a pursuit for the be-gloved.

NICK decides there’s only one thing for it: a calm, rational, assured, masculine, response.


C: “I’ve been robbed, Nick!”

N: “Oh my.  Shit*.  No?  Er, are you ok?  What did they get?”

C: “My Oyster card!  Someone’s robbed my Oyster card!”

N: “Oh”, failing to keep up the initial worry and concern, “is that it?”

NICK doesn’t want to point out that it’s CLAIRE that’s been robbed of her Oyster card and that robbing an Oyster card would be something else entirely.

C: “Nick! I have been ROBBED!”

N: “Oh. Did they get anything else?”


N: “Well, these are austere ti..”


N: “Shall we go?”

NICK and CLAIRE exit the station via a staircase

[That’s enough drama.  Too much, actually. -Ed]

I’m pretty sure that Dante wrote Inferno as a clever, extended, metaphor for Winter Wonderland.

Nine Circles of Hell?  Let’s see what we can do:

  1. The German market, selling all manner of crazy continental trinkets;
  2. The German sausage stalls, selling all manner of unpleasant-looking sausages;
  3. The German bars, selling all manner of Bavarian beers;
  4. The German musical entertainment (i), comprising a man playing an electric piano with little more than enthusiasm alone;
  5. The German musical entertainment (ii), comprising the same man singing with little more than enthusiasm alone;

So, the German tortures take care of Upper Hell.  Those who remain resolutely self-indulgent (and nothing more) get off with nothing more than a casual Teutonic nightmare.  But what about those of us who have strayed into violent behaviour?  Ladies and gentlemen, Circles 6 and 7:

  1. The booming discotheque music from some of the fairground ride;
  2. Portable lavatories;

What about those of a malicious disposition?  Journalists, or people from Todmorden, for example.  Read on:

  1. Show-offs flaunting their skills on an elevated ice rink;
  2. Lots and lots and lots of children.

And, if you need more convincing, how about ‘Satan’?


Above: Satan

In short: abandon all hope, ye who enter here.  Unless you’re less of an all-round grumpy bastard than me.

And, just in case you’re wondering, Claire got her Oyster card sorted out in the end.  Thanks for caring.

(* Sorry, mum. I sometimes swear.)