True sacrifice

A holiday abroad does so much more than just give your body and mind a well-earned break. You find yourself thinking about the more important things in life, rather than fixating on how quickly people will work out it was you who fucked up their macro, or hiding in the toilets for two hours fretting about whether or not the person you sit next to saw you slagging them off on instant messenger.

You probably take yourself off to a much poorer country for a beach holiday, because you want your money to go as far as possible. You might go somewhere in Asia. Sure, the flights will cost you a pretty penny, but you’ll struggle to spend more than the cost of a Pret salad on most three-course meals, so you can square it away in your mind. And once you’re there buying cocktails for the same price as a packet of Hubba Bubba, your body starts to relax and your mind starts to find that peace and calm you’ve been searching for in the months since your last sojourn.

All the while you’re in a bubble, cut-off from reality with no idea what’s going on at home. So imagine the horrifying, falling sensation that overcomes you when you return to London and read the biggest story of the past fortnight.

All the benefits of every single four quid, hour-long relaxing massage I had undergone were reversed when I got home and read – and believe me I am still ashen-faced with shock as I write this  – about the Back to the Future Secret Cinema catastrophe.

For the blissfully ignorant, let me fill you in. The biggest immersive cinema event in the history of big, immersive cinema events was called off with – oh god I think I’m going to be sick again – merely hours’ notice. Some people were actually on their way to the event when they found out. Some people had taken time off work to attend it. Everyone had put their money and their faith into the belief that they would get to watch an 80s classic in dress-up, with some real life actors thesping about the place, whilst also being able to get bollocksed in the process.

One account I read, in amongst so many harrowing details of devastation and loss, was written by someone I consider a modern day Joan of Arc. Not only had she arrived early, but someone she was meeting there had almost boarded their train to meet her. Suffice to say she was distraught, but showed supreme strength and dignity in not allowing her companion to make a wasted journey. That’s true friendship. That’s true sacrifice.

And of course there’s a backlash.

Supposedly they’re a pampered bunch of spoilt film nerds with too much money, an unhealthy obsession with mediocre 80s cinema and an unfulfilled need to raid the dressing up box, harking back to a repressed and lonely childhood.

Or are they just serious, hard-working people, with realistic expectations that, when they’ve paid over the odds for organised fun, have meticulously selected something to wear that says “I’m wacky, but I also like to get things right *points and winks*” and have arranged their diary accordingly, they will be able to embark on their organised fun in a punctual and efficient manner?

Well you show me the father of four selling tat on an Asian beach for pennies who wouldn’t sympathise with these poor sods. Do you honestly expect me to believe that a family of six living in a shack who sell their ancient, healing and holistic massages for less than the cost of a bag of Butterkist wouldn’t break down on hearing about Secret Cinema’s recent atrocity?

Just because they don’t have money doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings.

All I can hope now is whatever has brought about this disaster is resolved by the end of August, in time for the date on my ticket. Or I’ll be shaking like Michael J Fox and weeping into my three quid, hand woven, silk pashmina.

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