I left the cinema thinking, I guess that is good, despite the struggle getting through the film, because of the fight to prevent myself from coughing through the performance. My stress induced sinusitis had reared its ugly head again. Luckily, there were only a few people at the afternoon matinee. I must have swallowed a gallon of phlegm. I sucked on sweets to keep the coughs at bay, despite this, there were moments when I lost myself in the technicolour dream of La La Land, for something that started out in my mind as pastiche and cliché I was prepared to give it a chance. The colours appeared less vivid than I remembered, the picture almost grainy, I am asking myself ‘Is there something wrong with the projection, projector?’
I tell myself, ‘Keep the cynic at bay’ because ultimately it is my inference.
The acting was mesmerising and kept me hooked, one recalls ‘Dogville’. For, as in that film, I found my posture changed as the performance progressed: me leaning forward as if to pay closer attention. One has to open oneself to possibilities. Being closed one can never experience those moments of surprise, those nuggets of experience that can be transformative. I left with questions, again, I tell myself, good!
I tried to project myself into the film: ‘dreams and aspirations: if one works hard you will eventually be seen, your true worth will be made material, one has to create those opportunities, and to surround oneself with others who believe or can carry us through our dreams, is this the ultimate expression of love, am I reading too much into this, another candy floss American cliche? Well, maybe, whatever, it does not matter, did my past lovers not believe in me as much as I believed in them? I placed my happiness in fulfilling their dreams, lesson: don’t waste the present with anyone who does not wish you to attain your dreams as much as you wish them to achieve theirs. Ah, back to my mother, if I give love, I will receive, back comes the image of the little boy crying wanting to stay with his mother, wanting her to display affection but I now know that true love comes from oneself. Reflecting, I tell myself that I will have to see the movie again — this time when I am more relaxed. Correspondingly, I am reviewing the situation: the context: I was forcing myself to focus, and to allow myself to be pulled in, and drew me in it did: if that makes sense? I left feeling elated, from the experience of opening oneself.
On my journey back home, still coughing, I walked past the Waterstones book store. Still, the window display caught my eyes, I saw a display advertising their book of the week/month: ‘The Noise of Time’ by Julian Barnes, something about it, had me captivate, it drew me in. Embolden, I walked in frantically searching for the book. There is an air of excitement, of impatience, I cannot see it on the shelves. In the periphery of my vision, I see an old man looking around, I reflect, thinking is he looking for the same thing as I am? Near the point of giving up, ahh, alas I see the book, it is laid out in front of a pillar, significance ‘I now ask myself’ should there be any? I guess the column acts as a barrier? I flick through the pages, and I am intrigued, drawn in by the synopsis and the brief reviews. I decided to let myself go, “go on,” I tell myself buy the book (you never know!). I pick up the book and proceed to the point of sale. I feel a sense of excitement: the mischievous, the curious child in me had made a chance discovery. Standing still, I then proceeded to approach the cashier: (Strange, I am now thinking: How we define humans by what they do, a very abstract and dehumanising concept that has prevented me from seeing people for who and what they are, the invisible cloak or mask we place on reality, always projecting stereotypes unto another). I digress, she states “Good choice, you will not regret it” she then adds, “If you enjoy the book the author will be here next month (the date now slips my mind). Would you like a bag?”. I proceed to say yes but quickly remember that I have a rucksack and retract my acceptance and state “no I have a bag” I walk out of the door thinking “What have I done”, “Have I wasted money”, but the thought soon evaporates.
Out in the cold evening air, the coughing starts again, I am feeling the lethargy and aching returning. I think to myself, this is the emotional physically manifest. I walk in the direction of Tottenham Court Road pondering should I tell Gil about my feelings about and experience of the film? I take out my iPhone and note down some streams of consciousness.
The daylight dims, and my cough intensifies. I am alone, I feel alone, the streets are strangely empty today: I soliloquise. My thoughts drift, thinking about work, fear returns, I hope no one from work sees me. I rebuke myself “for fuck sake you are ill”. Taking yourself out of the house and trying to escape the feeling of being ill is good. I advance towards the bus stop. I walk past the ‘Made’ store, I stare inside the window, I reflect, and think to myself that the designs are ‘nothing special’. I walk past a man taking photographs with his phone, my curiosity awakens, I look to see what he is photographing, ‘A bus!’ how quaint— I think? Looking closer — my eyes catch the lace of globules of lights (I could not wish for a better metaphor) reflected on a bus. Very Hollywood, I say to myself. Looking around, I see that the reflected lights are from a theatre. Ahh, I say to myself, I believe I know what he (the photographer) sees. I ask myself, should I join him in photographing the baubles of reflected lights? Something in me says no, because, I feel that I would be intruding on a private moment: his discovery. And, so, I let it be and continue walking. Photographs, I believe, can make us present. It enables us to capture those moments that we would, in most circumstances, ignore.