The first real hard frost of the year came last night. Winter has tightened its grip. But this is Ireland and “Hard Frost” for us is a joke for others. My brother in Canada laughs at our weather forecast which casts warnings of doom and destruction over temperatures that in Calgary would be considered a soft day.
It is 11:15 and the frost has melted and the roads should be safe.
Tonight is Cinema night. I am taking the boys to see the Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies in 3D. My daughter is going to the Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1 with her friends. I am not allowed in that cinema.
I love the cinema. So many great memories of my own childhood, eating sticky toffees with my brothers and sisters and escaping into that great big screen filled with the wonders of the universe.
We used to go to local suburban cinemas to see old movies or low budget films. All those cinemas are gone now, converted into carpet warehouses or bingo halls.
For the new release blockbuster movies we went into Dublin City Centre. Some of those cinemas have survived, albeit following re-modelling into multiplexes. They had fancy names such as the Savoy, the Ambassador and the Plaza. They were the height of luxury with crushed velvet armchairs, acres of curtains over cinemascope screens that seemed to go on forever. We were always on the ground floor in the stalls, and dreamed of the days when we might afford to sit on the balcony and eat Milk Tray chocolates instead of toffees and boiled sweets.
Queues were a vital part of the experience. The stress and tension, wondering if you would get a ticket. That sense of fear, wonder and delight enhanced the experience.
In many ways the Cinema experience is quasi-religious. It is a rite, with its own rituals. You go into that dark space and are transformed by the experience of the film, to emerge a different person.
The Cold Heaven; by William Butler Yeats
Suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting heaven
That seemed as though ice burned and was but the more ice,
And thereupon imagination and heart were driven
So wild that every casual thought of that and this
Vanished, and left but memories, that should be out of season
With the hot blood of youth, of love crossed long ago;
And I took all the blame out of all sense and reason,
Until I cried and trembled and rocked to and fro,
Riddled with light. Ah! when the ghost begins to quicken,
Confusion of the death-bed over, is it sent
Out naked on the roads, as the books say, and stricken
By the injustice of the skies for punishment?