Thursday 7 May 2020

Are you sitting comfortably?

During the global coronavirus lockdown, many of us are looking for comfort in our favourite things. From books to video games. Personally, I've immersed myself in Star Wars and classic Doctor Who whilst friends and family are on the frontline, deserving far more than a nationwide weekly clap on a Thursday evening once this is over.

Paul is here to guide us through these uncertain, and frankly traumatic, times. Stay safe!

Guest post by Paul Moxham

My daily scrolling through Twitter was paused recently by someone who essentially wrote - if you’ve not used lockdown to enrich your life somehow, you didn’t lack time only discipline.

A sentiment I wholeheartedly agreed with. Which is why I thought to myself at the start of all this that it might be nice to try to watch all those films I’ve always said I’ll get around to. A sofa-based film festival, taking in all countries, genres, directors and time periods. There are some absolute potential doozies in the line up; Bait and Portrait of A Lady on Fire, Midsommar and Uncut Gems; via classics like The 39 Steps and Cat People. It doesn’t even cover new straight to streaming releases like The Assistant and Why Don’t You Just Die! The list goes on and on. Every evening would be a voyage of discovery into uncharted cinematic waters. Ask me how many I’ve watched. Not a single one. The voyage has become more of a sunbathe in the balmy glow of nostalgia.

At every single opportunity to watch something new, I’ve opted for something I’ve already seen. I’ve chosen the warmth of a cosy duvet over the bracing winds of discovery. I’ve been quite tough on myself about this; in the same way that I’m tough on myself for not going running. I huff disappointedly, have another biscuit and sit on the sofa. I’ve sat back and continued to work my way through the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the umpteenth time. Thanks, Disney+ for making that far too easy (for the curious, I’m going through them in chronological order rather than by release date). I’ve always considered myself open to the cinema in all its guises; on my shelves, you’ll find Spielberg alongside Lean, Wilder, The Cohens, Nolan, Kubrick etc. But when the chips are down I’ve bolted back into my cave. Which incidentally you can tell is not alphabetized.

The fundamental question is, is this such a bad thing? Surely there’s nothing wrong with craving certainty in uncertain times? And at the end of a day of (attempted) home-schooling and cat herding, my mind just wants to go to places with no sudden, unpredictable movements.

Seeking those sorts of experiences is not unusual, but where is the guy who was always looking for different, exciting films to rave about to his friends? Somewhere along the way I’ve conflated film exploration with effort, with fear, with eating my greens. Now, kids, greens are good for you, and they’re nothing to be scared of. You never know you might just love them.

So maybe it’s time I embraced the new again, find a new favourite, see the world in a different way. And if I commit it to print, I might just do it.

Although not right this second, Guardians of the Galaxy has just started...

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