It doesn’t take a pathological republican to feel slightly overwhelmed by the approaching Diamond Jubilee festivities. The weekend has been especially pimped to last four days. That’s four days!
So many flags, so many crash barriers, so much fizz in special Union Jack livery, so much pomp, so much circumstance…
I hope the weather holds out for every subject in the country who’s having a street party, and I hope every tourist in Central London gets a good view of whichever carriage or boat they hope to photograph on their phone. I really do. Me? I’ll be sitting in a darkened room for as much of the Jubilee as I can physically manage.
When the Great British Summer eventually rears its ugly head – or, ugly bare, cooked-salmon-coloured beer belly in the case of the Great British Male – you get a sense of everybody hightailing it to public parks and beaches, or at least to sit in hot cars on the way there. Me? I like to go to the places where everybody isn’t.
The cinema is a perfect example of such a glorious refuge. We are, after all, talking about air-conditioned dark rooms that also happen to show films. And serve cold drinks. (My local arthouse even serves cool beers and chilled wine – in plastic glasses, but hey.)
And what delights await the Jubilee-resistant non-sun-worshipper on this executive length weekend! For a start, Prometheus arrives in cinemas on Friday, which means there’s a pretty safe alternative to the pageantry and partying in the form of a dark, gloomy, terrifying sci-fi horror epic, in either 2D or 3D according to taste. That’s showing pretty much everywhere.
Men In Black III is also out there, for sci-fi of a slightly less serious sort. Marvel’s Avengers Assemble continues to pack them into multiplexes. Dark Shadows I found a bit underwhelming, but if you like Johnny Depp and are prepared to forgive him for going through the motions for his pal Tim once again, it’s escapism that’s at least well designed.
And, there’s The Dictator with Sacha Baron Cohen adjusting to a life where he can no longer put on a funny voice and fool people into thinking he’s a funny foreigner and must now appear in straightforward fiction, providing surefire laughs.
Should you wish to drag your kids away from the jelly and jelly sweets (which we must assume can be bought for one weekend only in Union Jack bags), Top Cat 3D is old-school animation that’s surely machine-tooled to cross the generation gap. And chastely sexed-up fairy tale Snow White and The Huntsman is only a 12A. I could go on. Consult local press for details.
If I were the Queen and had a personal fortune of £310 million, I’d give everybody in the country a free cinema pass for the Jubilee weekend. We’d happily stand to the National Anthem before each screening in return, wouldn’t we? And salute, if that’s the way she wants to play it.
If, like me, you opt to mark Her Majesty’s 60 years on the throne by spending two hours and 26 minutes in a darkened room watching a farmer and his daughter eke out a living in rural Hungary, in black and white, as a storm and possibly the end of the world approach outside – in other words, experience Bela Tarr’s valedictory “remodernist” epic The Turin Horse – then do let me know.