Susie Rushton: Stop talking at the back there ...

Urban Notebook

Tuesday 13 January 2009 01:00

The self-imposed January pub ban still in place, on Saturday, just for variation, we try out a new cinema, in Hammersmith. It's a bit shabby, and the liquorice allsorts unchewably hard, but the audience are a spirited bunch.

An hour into Slumdog Millionaire, just as he's asked the 10,000-rupee question, somebody in the middle of the auditorium hisses, "Will you BE QUIET!" I crane my neck. I hadn't noticed it before, but a small group at the back are chatting away. And now, as they carry on talking, undeterred, I can't think about anything else. It's as though they're jabbering right into my spine.

A fortnight ago I was subjected to this torture during the Che double bill. Two French girls behind us translated the English subtitles to each other – for four hours. Desperate not to become an interventionist (although it is inevitable), I stayed quiet and resorted to huffs and stroppy shuffling, to no avail.

The Hammersmith audience, though, are more forthright, and after a while, something brilliant happens. Four ushers enter, and stride up to the back row. A proud interventionist has tipped them off, and every single person in the cinema is now turning around, ignoring the action on screen, agog at the scene kicking off in our very midst.

I can't make out every recrimination, but eventually the talkers get up, shamed, and are hustled out. There's a round of applause, and jubilant whooping. So yes, it was the best dramatic picture for me, too.

Foxtons feel the crunch

I see that Foxtons are experiencing financial difficulties – just a hiccup with their "banking covenants", apparently. Not that many Londoners would have sympathy with the estate agent's woes. In fact, the infamously aggressive outfit – and hasn't everyone's got a Foxtons horror story – has only been doing the dirty work for greedy vendors all these years. Here's hoping the property slump will mean fewer of those green Foxtons-branded Mini Coopers, a symbol of the reckless boom if ever there was one.

Train round the bend

The Golden Globes reminded me how deeply unfashionable the Hollywood red carpet has become, if we take "fashion" to imply newness or innovation. Am I the only gown-watcher to nod off at the sight of yet another actress pretending not to trip over a three-metre bridal-style train dragging along the floor?

You can't blame the designers who make these dresses, since they don't send frocks with trains like the one worn by Eva Longoria Parker, left, down their own catwalks, even at haute couture – so the demand for "more length" must come from the actresses themselves. Ladies, it's time this fusty old trend ended up on the cutting-room floor.

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