I did something unusual the other night. I went to the cinema. I hadn't been for a few years, not because I watch all my movies streamed at the speed of light online, nor because the overpriced snacks offend both my palate and my purse, yet end up assaulting both.
It's because I don't like watching films.
I know that this is a serious character flaw, something that makes me philistine and a cultural black hole. I know I'm missing a century's worth of comedy, tragedy, high drama and fine writing. I know it makes me sound like an idiot. I just hugely dislike watching most movies. I find dramatic tension, the thing that drives any film forward, unbearably stressful. Watching films with other people leaves me wriggling and longing for a book. Watching them on my own happens very, very occasionally. Then I have a good worry all the way through about what's going to happen (don't go up there! Don't sleep with him! Don't go back to your old criminal gang for one last job!) and then worry about it for days afterwards.
But an early screening of Skyfall that I was lucky enough to get tickets for lured to break my self-imposed cinema ban. I don't do films but I do love Bond. It's partly because despite what peril he's in, we all know that he'll be all right in the end. His poor, if comely, companions have a 50/50 chance of making it to the closing credits alive, but James will prevail. No matter which era, and which actor, I can always find a Bond I want to watch.
I like the gadgets, the cars, the ludicrousness, the tunes... but mainly I love James Bond because he reminds me of my father. Not, I hasten to add (sorry Dad), because my father is an international spy who can make women disrobe at the raise of an eyebrow or because he looks good in a pair of trunks, but because he loved the Bond books, and films, as a boy, and I loved sharing both with him as I grew up.
Every new film makes me think of him coveting the stick-on bullet holes that came out at the same time as Goldfinger. It makes me think of the original paperbacks I collected to emulate the 13-year-old him.
So I might be back at the flicks sooner rather than later, with my father in tow, because while I'm no film fan, I'm fond of Bond and even more so of my dad.