DAZED AND CONFUSED: Tim Davey's Column.
MY wife has spent the past few days recovering from a surfeit of popcorn, sugary drinks and sweets. It's the pay-off you get from going to the cinema, not once, not twice ,but three times in as many days.
I only accompanied her on one of these visits and was whisked into the auditorium before I had a chance to acquire any confectionery or fizzy pop en route to my seat.
On the other two occasions she took one of my grandsons, then his sister on the following day.
The first was to see Life of Pi, about a young chap alone on a small boat with a tiger. It was rather long, apparently, but enhanced by wearing 3-D spectacles, so I am assured.
By way of contrast the next day Mrs D was trekking down to the nearest multiplex to see a tale of Tinkerbell, once the preserve of Peter Pan, but now going solo.
Then there was the trip with me to see Quartet, Dustin Hoffman's tale of life in a home for faded opera stars. Very good it was, too, and if that's the retirement lifestyle they live, book me in. Now.
In truth, these days I rarely go to watch films, where as a youth I was a regular customer.
Living in a Gloucestershire village meant a special coach trip every Friday night to the nearest town which boasted a cinema that was part of a major cinema chain.
There was an even closer picture palace but this was privately owned in an even smaller town, overseen and operated by a man every kid knew as "The Colonel". He even wore an Army beret and could bring a rabble of misbehaving young yobboes, of which I was often a part, to heel with one parade ground bark.
The film often broke down and it was rumoured, though never firmly established, that the projectionist was blind.
Its bigger rival was altogether different. It had a uniformed doorman and, on occasion, he even dressed for the part. In an airman's uniform for The Battle of Britain, a soldier's for The Longest Day, that sort of thing.
It was here I learned to smoke. And drink.
Those long gone jug-and-bottle sales hatches at the side of pubs were always the first stop on the slippery alcoholic slope for kids lucky enough to stagger through the Sixties.
Now I pay much closer attention to the films I pay to watch. Back then I didn't. But one thing that is forever ingrained on my memory occurred while at the cinema.
It's one of those classic "Where were you when....?" moments.
In the middle of one November Friday night's movie entertainment in 1963, the film slewed to a halt, the lights went up and the manager, decked out in bow tie and dinner jacket, strode on stage.
He then proceeded to tell us all that President John F Kennedy had been assassinated.
No one knew what to do. Subdued, we just all shuffled out. Truly unforgettable.