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20 December 2008

Seasonal Deficiencies

I was somewhat dubious about going to see It's a Wonderful Life at the BFI today, given my lack of excitement over the festive season, but the weather was so crazily warm that even though central London was rammed with Christmas shoppers, I think the festiveness was cancelled out. In fact, watching the film in the comfy seats of the biggest BFI screen was a welcome respite from the chaos outside. Besides, I haven't ticked another film off my list of films-to-see-from-the-IMDb-top-250 list in quite a while. When I saw Titanic in a huge, soulless cinema near Times Square in Manhattan, the audience clapped at the end and I hated that but somehow it felt rather different when the audience did so today at the end of It's a Wonderful Life--genuinely appreciative rather than "cor, that Leo is quite a hottie."

While I was there, the guy at the till asked if I wanted to pick up my tickets for the preview screening of David Fincher's latest film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, alongside a live interview with the director. I did--as soon as I got the email alert from BFI, I logged on to book (£18.50 is a little steep, but I'm sure it will be worth it) and already, most of the seats were taken. The guy at the till enthused as to how great it was going to me. Not wanting to ruin the illusion that I was a good little film buff, I didn't tell him I'd probably prefer if it were a live interview with Brad Pitt.

Outside, I spent a good 20 minutes cruising the tables of books, wandering up and down the rows looking for inspiration. That is one of my favourite places to go book shopping in London because the books are arranged randomly, which aids serendipitous discoveries, but the whole collection can easily be perused in under half an hour. I enjoyed Birdsong so much (having read it in the space of a couple of days) that I picked up a copy of Charlotte Gray, along with a Philip Roth novel I hadn't heard of called Letting Go.

Getting back to the quartier was pretty hellish, even though the gorgeous pinky-orange sunset far outshone all of the Christmas decorations. It didn't help that it was so warm--I was wearing a light jacket and a long-sleeved t-shirt (a far cry from my usual winter garb) but was still far too hot, which made me even more fractious than ever.

Still, I finally made it back chez moi and am now enjoying the 25 minutes or so of rest before dashing back to Nowheresville for a party. I really don't feel like commuting again, especially as I'll probably end up on the drunk train on the way back home, though I don't plan to drink anything more than a couple of JJ's Spiced Tattoos--too many things to do tomorrow to risk any wine.


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