Seen it! (on the sofa)

Casino Royale was on TV last night, so I’d thought I’d giveit a watch. I still think it’s one of the great Bond films. As I watched it, sitting on the sofa, I thought back to the day, now over ten years ago, when I persuaded Charlie and Tony to drive me from the MMU campus in Alsager to the cinema in Stoke so I could see it. C was my PA, but Tony was just a good friend. He wasthe one with a car though, so I felt very grateful that he would do such a thing out of pure kindness. Mind you, I think they both wanted to see it too.

That seems like a lifetime ago now. The university campus in Alsager no longer exists, and my friends have all gone their separate ways. I still remember how excited I was, though, having seen it, as my friends drove me back to campus: the film’s ending had simply blown me away and made me giddy with glee. I must have been like an excited child after a sugary sweet, being guided home by his concerned parents. Watching the very same ending last night took me back to that moment, as Tony and Charlotte drove me back to the university dorm room which would prove so formative for me, now over a decade ago.

It made me wonder how my friends were, after all this time. Time moves inevitably on, and it feels like so much has changed. The film I wanted to go to see in the cinema so urgently is now just something one watches casually of an evening, before going to bed. Charlie now teaches and performs music; Tony I’m not sure about. For me, the peaceful paths of that pleasant rural campus have morphed into the labyrinthine roads of a vast metropolis. Where the window by my computer once looked out over football and hockey pitches, now I look out onto a road and countless houses beyond. If someone had told the guy who went to see that film ten years ago where I’d be now, I doubt he would have believed them. So much has happened since then too: I have so many more memories and experienced so many more things that perhaps I’m not quite the same naive innocent person I was then. Yet the two moments, one in Stoke and the other last night in Charlton, were drawn into one by a moment of film. That surely is one of the powers of film.

Another year will soon draw to an end, and a fresh one will begin. With all the promise that heralds – or otherwise, on the political level – one must always remember what has been before. Wherever my friends are right now – all of them – I hope they are happy and enjoying theirselves, and that they have an awesome 2018.

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