Today, was the day. Things should have been different, I should have been there. I know in an alternate reality, I would have been there, perhaps with those who I no longer see or speak to. Today was not a day for such misplaced regrets and looking to the past with a sense of loss. It was about making a change and doing the decent thing, helping your fellow man. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I felt selfless and wanted to do something to help others, more than any point previously in my life. The cynics will say, that a punch of concerts around the world will do little to change the life of a continent. I beg to differ, I think raising awareness, opening our eyes to the plight of these people, gives us a opportunity to want to help others like never before. Yet, I think it goes beyond the political will of eight men. The problem is far greater, the problems deeper rooted and it will take thousands if not millions to bring a prosperous future to the one place on this planet that has lost wealth, while the rest of the world continues to enjoy it. Much more than a story state of affairs. While I was watching the television coverage, late on Saturday evening into the early hours, I tried to picture the number of children that had died, in pointless circumstances due to poverty. When you consider that the suffering is preventable, you too want to make a difference.
While I had every opportunity to sign the petition online, but I wanted to make my position clear in public. I had already seen the Live8 petition stand when I had arrived. So, straight after the movie, I headed across to add my signature. The process was rather amateur, a young blonde girl was using a notepad with 3G card to add the stack load of signatures to the site. Having signed, I felt I had gone some way to making a difference. The reality was I was gutted for not being given the chance to be there, but I felt helpless having to watch the live footage on television.
If you did not know, you will know now, that my life is never simple. A weekend can be turned on it’s head by one minor alteration. So, you would think an afternoon and evening in Central London would be simple. Not in the crazy world of Andrew Tegala. On Thursday evening, a news flash on BBC London News headlines (after the main headlines from Huw) showed the worse site for a rail commuter from this side of the world. The collapse of a tunnel at Gerrards Cross meant days, if not weeks of delays for rail users from the Midlands into Central London. As it happened, this too was the journey I was to take on Saturday. Therefore, I grabbed my PDA and tried to find out further information, even attempting to browse, the Chiltern Railways web site. The line would be closed for at least two days and a replacement bus service would be put in place. This was the last thing I needed, so I considered my option. I could drive to Uxbridge and park in Sainsburys. Or, perhaps slightly closer, go over to Chalfont and catch the tube from there. On Saturday morning, I pondered between the two stations, with Uxbridge way in the lead, based on familiarity stakes, but in the end I opted for secure all day parking, which is never guaranteed in a supermarket.
I was out of bed by 8.30am, but wish I had got up slightly earlier. By 9am, I was out of the house and drove to the other side of town to wash the car and carry out the usual weekly maintenance checks. Coming home, just as the rest of the household were getting up, I decided how to fill my next few hours, before I headed off. The car needed a quick hoover, so I rushed out and gave it a very swift clean, just to make it look a little better inside. Then it was a quick shower, before heading into town to do some quick errands before I drove up the A404, towards Amersham. I parked in a almost deserted car park and headed into the station, it was coming up to 1pm and the station was dead. Sure we were on the outskirts of Buckinghamshire, but I expected more of a crowd, not sure why. I paid for my travel card and was informed by the friendly ticket attendant that the next train was at 10 minutes past the hour, fantastic, just a few minutes wait. The Metropolitan Line takes me directly to Baker Street, one change and I’m a stone’s through away from Leicester Square. I got off at Piccadilly Circus and walked the few minutes across to the famous square. Busy, as I expected, there were several trailers parked up and looking into the garden centre, I could see a stage being setup. Something was happening, or about to happen. I walked passed a Police trailer giving the public safety awareness information and spotted a familiar face in the crown ahead, as he turned back around. It was Ian from the famous house pound, Four Poofs & A Piano Then it clicked, it was Gay Pride Day in town. This would explain the various colour outfits worn by men, dressed up in drag. There was a great atmosphere around, with everyone having fun, even with such a strong yet passive police presence. I headed across to the cinema to collect my tickets and spent a few seconds starting at the big movie poster above my head. I was really looking forward to this movie.
Meeting up with my friend, we headed over to Haagan Das, for some ice cream and tea. My food consumption up to this point in the day was just some soggy corn flakes and I was very hungry. Yet, I needed to save room for some popcorn. The doors to the theatre had opened by now, so we rushed across to get to the cinema, which was already quite busy. Taking our seats, I felt I had made the wrong decision. Perhaps a seat on the upper tier would have been a better experience. Too late now, the cinema was quickly filling as the advertisements played. Pearl & Dean? I’m afraid not, just Carlton Screen Advertising and not a patch on the masters, but never mind. We are here for the movie, not for the commercials. By the time the movie came on, I was really excited. Would it live up to the hype? I suppose, this is summer blockbuster for me (even taking into account what I am about to write). Last year, it was the Spiderman sequel, which I really enjoyed. I love Tom Cruise. I suppose, apart from the understandable height issues, he is the one man on this planet I would like to be. It is difficult to describe, but with that toothy grin and charismatic charm, he is a rare beast. A smooth white man. (Does that makes sense? Is it politicially correct?) Do I care? No. What I am trying to say is that he gives off the sort of a persona of a man that always makes an impact. He walks into a room and people stop and stare. He is a highly accomplished actor, even if I have not seen his most complete work, Born On The 4th July (sorry Paul, I will get around to it sometime!) Steven, without a shadow of a doubt is my favourite filmmaker, even surpassing the great Alfred Hitchcock. So, with those names behind this picture, surely it cannot fail. Well, unfortunately it does and that it because of the ending. I will not go into the details, I have no need to spoil the experience for you all. The first hour is amazing, breathtaking and highly compelling to watch. There are some interesting twists and turns as you begin to realise how bad humanity reactions to being threatened by an unknown force. Yet the constant question you keep asking yourself is where is this all going? Unfortunately, Steve does a bad job of handling the plot, so the pace drops towards the end and it never really survives. Our hero does a fine job, but I would have liked his character developed further and the relationship with his children placed under greater scrutiny. There are always more questions posed than answered with this movie, which is a shame because the original master piece by HG Wells was special. When a movie lacks purpose, it loses momentum. I expected much better from this A star team. Leaving the cinema, I felt deeply disappointed. There is almost a schoolboy, year 9 English class, ending, which no teacher would have ever accepted. I would go as far to say I would not even rent the DVD, I would wait for the movie to be screened on Sky Movies to watch it. Quality, stay in Saturday night movie. A shame, because Cruise, as one of my all time idols, deserves so much better.