I’m sitting tense in my seat waiting for the conclusion of the latest Bond film, when a man starts speaking into his phone. For two hours I’ve been sitting on a spongy cinema seat with zero legroom waiting to discover how the film will end.
In this instalment Javier Bardem is throwing grenades into a Scottish mansion. A military helicopter is strafing the walls with shells. There’s a small army of mercenaries. It’s night time. It’s in the middle of nowhere. It’s raining, and Bond is armed with a pitchfolk. How will you escape this time Mr. Bond? I’m aching to find out. Quite literally, because since the opening credits I’ve been dying for a piss. So it better be worth it. And then…
For a minute I think it’s part of the film. But no. It’s a guy seven seats down from me talking into his mobile. I’m honestly dumbfounded. Glued to my seat with bewilderment. The only other time I can remember feeling so much shock, was when I was dropped from the school football first team to the second.
I wasn’t playing well admittedly, but I had scored goals. Even if two had gone in off my shin, one off my head when I wasn’t looking, and the other toe poked in from two inches after a goalkeeping error. But clearly not enough for Psycho S Jones, the games master. I stared at the notice board in the sports hall for hours, alternating my gaze between the neatly typed names on the prestigious 1st XI team sheet, and the handwritten, ink-smudged ones on the tattered 2nd XI rag. ‘Ogley. PJ.’ Shoved out onto the left wing. I couldn’t believe it. But not unexpected when I look back. Things happen. I thought I was Maradona, but PS Jones didn’t. We begged to differ.
It’s why I generally avoid conflict or situations that may cause distress. Hence the reason I’m sitting in a cinema on a Monday night; a month after the film has been released, with only eight other people in a 1000 seat theatre. Seated exactly where I like to sit: two thirds of the way up, about five seats right of centre, a long way from the nearest person. No dumb couples talking about furniture. No spotty film buffs noisily unfurling the plastic wrappers of boiled sweets. No popcorn munching, coke-drinking, basketball playing teenagers listening to their iPods. Apart from the film, there’s silence. Bliss. So imagine the shock when I hear:
‘Bonjour…Oui,’ in a 60 cigs-a-day mangled growl.
I can’t believe it.
What would Bond do in this situation? Nothing. Bond doesn’t sit in cinemas wasting his time. But if he did. He would no doubt suavely sidle over to the culprit, chop him in the neck, grab the phone and ram it up his ass. Hard.
But I’m not Bond. I’m Philip Ogley, so I leave him to speak while I tie myself in two with rage. The projector mercilessly playing down the remainder of the film to the closing credits. The lights go up and all eight of us leave the auditorium, but not before I have a quiet word with the phone guy.
Hours later, I’m in a police station explaining why I have duffed up an innocent Frenchman in the lift. ‘Just a bit of school yard exuberance,’ I say. ‘Nothing personal.’
In reality, I growl back at him in the cinema foyer as he continues his conversation. I want to make a scene, say something, but what’s the point. It’s over now. Time to go home. At least I saw most of the film. The first three quarters at any rate. And generally the best bits of any Bond film: the intrigue, the gadgets, the locations, the plot, the girls, the shocking one-liners. The endings are predictable. We all know Bond will live. We just want to know how.