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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

As I type this, we're still in Essex, but the good news is my car is now MOT'd, and I'm £157 poorer. Or I would be if I'd paid the bill. Unfortunately I couldn't quite afford it after our trip to the Chelmsford Odeon on Monday afternoon. I'm not saying the place is a rip-off, but when they ask you if you want standard seats or premier seats, you choose standard, and they charge you £6.80, you do start to wonder. Of course, that was before we found that the smallest sized thimble-full of popcorn they do is £3.40, the cheapest bottle of water is £2.30, and they'd run out of buns for the hotdogs. So they charged Lisa £3.50 for a sausage. Which she had to wait twenty minutes for.

Apart from that, it was a constant joy. Although I loathed every second of the film with the kind of passion I usually reserve only for June Sarpong and Pete from Big Brother. I realise 'The History Boys' is supposed to be fabulous from start to finish, and to disagree with that view is virtual heresy, but honestly, I hated every ridiculous, pretentious, over-theatrical minute of it, and would happily shoot Alan Bennett with a big gun if I had the chance.

It's not just that the actors give the same performances they'd give on stage, which really doesn't work on film, and means they spend two hours doing a Magnus Pyke impression two feet in front of your face. It's not just that these supposedly working class northern boys speak in a manner which makes Stephen Fry sound like he grew up in the ghetto. It's not just that the headmaster is like something out of Scooby Doo, that EVERY DAMN CHARACTER sounds like Alan Bennett, or that every exchange of dialogue is over-written to the point of pretentiousness. It's not even just that all the actors playing teenagers look about thirty. It's not just that. It's that the message of the film seems to be that sexual abuse of your pupils is all just a bit of harmless fun, and nothing to get het up about. And when your teacher gets fired for it, you rally around to save him, because his daily fondling of your genitals is all just a bit of a laugh.

Oh, and if your other teacher fancies you (because all teachers are apparently gay), it's ok to let him give you a blow job, even though you're heterosexual, because he deserves some thanks for getting you through your exams.

Honestly, if I hadn't paid £6.80, I'd have walked out. It was everything I hate about British theatre, all rolled up into one neat little package and stuck on the big screen. I could barely stay in my seat. Although that was partly because it had next to no padding, and was so hard I was in physical pain half an hour before the end. As if the mental pain wasn't enough. I knew I should have gone for the premier seats.