A Pash for Pashminas
Last night, Anna and I went to the cinema.
As we sank into the giant, marshmallow-like seats and broke into our bags of pick ‘n’ mix with the unashamed ambition of finishing them before the main attraction (no mean feat given we’d arrived fifteen minutes into the ads) I clutched my cup of hot, overpriced tea and allowed myself to hope that ‘How to be Single’ would be the ‘Bridget Jones’ for a new generation.
Forty five minutes later, my tea was drunk and my blood levels spiking dangerously with all the strawberry cable and chocolate brazils coursing through my veins.
More immediately, my temperature was dropping. The thing about these twenty-first century cinemas is that not only could you fit most of the England rugby team comfortably in one seat, but the air con is zealous, bordering on the utterly furious.
I felt movement to my right. Anna was caught up in the cool air current too. As one we reached into our bags and pulled out the Emergency Pashminas – hers a shade of Morroccan Camel, mine Brilliant White. Wrapping them around us, we made it to the end of Dakota Johnson’s unlikely journey through singledom with the threat of imminent hypothermia staved off. (‘Bridget Jones’ it wasn’t.)
Twenty five years ago, the temperature in cinemas wasn’t a thing, or if it was, I never noticed.
Generally speaking, if things got a little chilly in the flicks, I’d snuggle into the unwashed warmth of my boyfriend’s knitwear, or, if I was watching at the Regal in Leamington Spa, I’d simply light another cig and cup my hands over its glowing end. Happy days.
Back then, a trip to the flicks throbbed with the potential for some intimate post-movie analysis over a bottle of wine, starting with the plot and ending somewhere near the navel.
These days, the apres-pic is all about inputting confectionery-based based calories into My Fitness Pal and turning the heater in the car up to full blast.
Knowing that I am not alone in the Emergency Pashmina department has given me confidence. Last summer we hosted a Spanish student for a long weekend.
Probably on Sundays in Barcelona he’d be kicking a ball around on a beach in his shorts or sitting at a street cafe drinking a carafe of something pretty in the company of olive skinned young women in strappy sandals.
In the UK our options, already squeezed by the thickening cloud with its potential for rain, amounted to FIFA 15 with the broken joystick (if that’s what it’s called) or Yeovil Cineworld.
“Come and see ‘The Riot Club’ with me,” I said, “it’ll give you an insight into the British class system. We can tell your parents it was educational.” Of course, my own children had no interest in discovering more about the British class system; “We’re victims of it!” They announced as I tried and failed to persuade them to accompany me and Marco.
So on a grey summer’s day I stepped out in my sandals and crossed a wide expanse of car park to lead my charge into a cavernous temple strewn with popcorn.
It felt strange for two reasons. First, it was 11am on a Sunday morning, and second, I was going to the pictures with a young man of 18; just the two of us. Weird.
I bought my ritual tea and pick’n’mix and we went into Screen Three. Once in, Marco settled himself into one enormous seat and I into another.
Because it was June, which anywhere else in the Northern hemisphere would suggest ‘Summer’, I suppose the manager turned up the air con. He really had no need. My Spanish companion, in T shirt and tattoo seemed unperturbed; I, on the other hand, had already had the heads up from my nipples that the temperature was practically sub-zero.
Fortunately I had come prepared, because I am knocking on in years and I know what I need. Out came the Emergency Pashmina and out came the bed socks. Marco looked at me and frowned fleetingly. Like it never gets chilly in Barcelona?
Bed socks and pashminas; that’s class.