Friday 12th October 2007

I tend to blog at least every seven days, usually every few but always within ten. So you know something is wrong if I have not had the chance to update in nearly two weeks. The past twelve days have been strange. Emotionally I have been all over the shop. Professionally life is hitting the buffers and personally in places it has hit a brick wall. This is very different from the notes I had drafted for a proposed entry on Wednesday 3rd October. “Could life get any better?” is the phrase I see typed a few paragraphs down. I find myself asking the complete opposite, “Could life be any worse?”.

The story begins back on Sunday 7th, almost a week ago. As I drove back home from Pav’s house (he had taught me how to wash my car properly) somehow I my stereo picked up BBC Radio 2. It was playing the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. It was coming up to 4pm in the afternoon. The following evening, a little later, around 5.30pm, I was behind a silver Citroen C3 and in the window was what appeared to be a bright neon Baby On Board sign but at closer inspection it just had the words, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Sentiments that keep ringing back in my mind. Along with other idiomatic expressions, such as “worse things happen at sea!”,

The previous Monday (1st) evening I had received a friend request from my best friend from secondary school, Steve. He messaged me a few times on FaceBook but we eventually become friends (electronically) and exchanged MSN addresses. The last time I had any contact with Steve was back in 2001, I remember I sent him a birthday and Christmas card. It was the first semester of my second year at DMU. Feels like a whole lifetime ago now. I was exchanging these messages with Steve, while using the family Toshiba Satellite Pro in the lounge, minutes before Eastenders started at 8pm. I had an thirty minutes to fill after watching the First Look edition of Hollyoaks on E4.

Fast forward back to this week and on Tuesday afternoon, I was heading back to the office. The weather on the M25 was grim, grey, wet, with the visibility extremely poor with all the spray on the surface from the rain. I was in the middle lane, but wanted to overtake the vehicle ahead of me. I noticed a silver BMW 3-Series Compact overtake me first, so waited for him to clear before I headed into the fast lane. Due to the weather conditions, I was driving at a steady speed and with full concentration. I watched the Beemer ahead of me, and then was shocked by what happened. Time slowed down and I watched the events unfold in slow motion. His nearside rear wheel blew out and he slide towards the crash barrier and then span around. I slowed down just in time and put on my hazards to alert traffic behind. I came to a stop over the stones which had brushed across from the central reservation onto the fast lane. I jumped out of my car and helped the driver. He was visibly shaken but not injured. He seemed to be very concerned about getting to work. A patrolman for VW Audi group (how typical) pulled up, but although he works for the RAC in a roundabout sort of way, he could only help the driver get his car off onto the hard shoulder. It was time for me to depart, as I did so, the driver, gave me a firm shake of the hand, thanking me for stopping. Do not mention it at all, is what I said in response. All I had offered to do was make a call for him. He declined this, explaining he had RAC membership. It got me thinking, I had recently cancelled my membership.

Back on the road on Thursday, on my way to Croydon on the same motorway. I was once again in the middle lane, one vehicle behind a trailer carrying various Honda 4X4 SUVs. I just knew something was wrong, when I noticed him brake and the vehicle behind head into the fast lane to overtake. Then it happened, the truck driver slammed on his brakes, a tyre had blown and went under the trailer and the rubber smashed against the concrete barrier. The driver, with great experience and skill, managed to pull his long vehicle over onto the hard shoulder, a few hundred hards prior to a slip road. It could have been so much worse.

Sorry about the constant skipping back and forth through time, it will only be for this entry, trust me. I took my sister to the IMAX cinema on Saturday to watch Transformers. Even though I had seen the movie on a standard cinema screen back in July with Pav, I thought my sibling deserved the treat. Her first weekend back home. In 1998, I walked past the cinema, just a few minutes walk from Waterloo on my way to my YTS interview with IBM on the Southbank, it was heavily under construction then and one day I thought it would be lovely to catch a movie there. Only until recently have major releases been remastered for the biggest screen in the country (apparently, according to our tickets). We got to ticket office early, as I had been advised to on the phone and collected our tickets at 7pm, a good hour before the screening. We decided to head back to the station and check times for the final tube trains home. I had collected a Chiltern Railways timetable for Wycombe at Marylebone. I had been a bit stupid and forgotten that the Bakerloo Line runs to Waterloo, there had been no need for us to change for the Jubilee Line at Baker Street. Never mind, you live and learn. We went back to the cinema and headed upstairs to the auditorium, it was quite but slowly filled up. You could make out the large nature of the screen from the sloped ceiling. There was a small bar, selling nothing but Cobra beer. There was a tiny retail section with just two tills, selling the usual suspects. There was a long queue forming as 8pm came around. We had been one of the lucky early punters. The cinema seats five hundred. During the performances, the entrances are locked. We were eventually let in and took our seats to the left of the screen, in the middle. I was astounded by the size of the screen, it was impressive. We were all seated within minutes and a member of staff introduced us to the show. There was a brief sound and light show, explaining the sheer power behind the IMAX brand. The fact that the screen has tiny holes for the sound to travel through and all the main speakers are located behind there. Onto the main feature.

There were several IMAX special scenes, some which I noted, some which I missed, due to the sheer amount of action unfolding in front of my eyes. My sister loved it and I was glad she did. It was great to bring her out for this treat after her long year working on her Masters in Sheffield. While I have always stated I would never go to the cinema to see the same movie twice. (A pact I started with my good friend Andrew Todd, back in middle school) This case I will make an exception. The IMAX experience is something else, you really feel in the picture, even without those cheap 3D-glasses. The powerful sound system, bigger than life screen and full digital projection brings the movie to life. Just read some of the facts. Highly recommended. We just need more IMAX movies, not just DMR (digital up scaling to the IMAX format from standard film). Wouldn’t life be great if every town and city had an IMAX cinema, as the de facto standard. Sure, it will never happen, because that would ruin the whole point of the experience.

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