Squirk's Overseas Experience

The tales of one Kiwi returning to Mother Britain and exploring the Big Wide World... without being eaten by a shark.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Lessons learned

They tricked me into going to the cinema by myself!

The plan seemed simple. Meet up with some random people, watch cheap movies then enjoy the social dining experience known as Dim Sum. I still don't know precisely what that entails, but apparently it's something like Yum Char where there's lots of dishes everyone shares (but probably wouldn't if they knew what creepy crawlies the food was made from).

In hindsight, I probably should have asked for a more specific meeting place. Or the name of the restaurant. Or distinguishing features of the organiser. Or something.

Although the schedule said 1.00pm, arriving at 1.05pm allowed me to buy my £1 ticket from the ticket lady, buy my £1 sweet popcorn (they offer two kinds of popcorn here!) and my £1 soda from the food and drink man, consider buying £1 beer from the alcohol man but decide against it and still catch about half the ads before the movie starts.

The Machinist was a likeable movie with several cringe-worthy bits of nasty in there. I'd give it three stars for independent cinema or four stars for Hollywood. It had an American cast (including a very thin Christian Bale) and was set in America, but the credits indicated a Spanish production. It's one of those movies almost impossible to discuss without giving spoilers, so that's all I'll say about it.

It was a pleasant surprise to walk out out of the auditorium after the movie to hear New Zealand musicians The Finn Brothers' Everyone Is Here gently warming Tarantino's Bar with its comfortable smoothness. Ahh.

I glanced around the softly lit room, eyeing the crowd for possible strangers. I guess I was hoping to see a guy with a nametag talking loudly about Dim Sum and the Gumtree to a small bunch of friendlies. Sadly, the closest I got was an interesting book of local poetry including a diary of a chap that masturbates to stereo manuals and the book of Genesis.

The second film, Ray, was a classic biographical film. I say classic in the sense that it obeyed all the expected rules, pressed all the right buttons—I had little to no prior (or consequent) interest in Ray Charles or his music, yet I was still moved by the film, almost to tears.

Sadder still was my total failure to find my new companions. I may never know the sweet(?) taste of Dim Sum.


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