I feel certain that habitués of GofaDM will have come to rely on it to help them stay abreast of popular culture. It is surely the first port of call for those wishing to evince a passing knowledge of the latest scandal to strike the X Factor (Reggie and Bollie were robbed as I understand it) or who has triumphed on Strictly (a member of the previously Unwanted) just-in-case they find themselves trapped in the snug with a young person and need to make conversation.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should make clear that I have never knowing seen – and less importantly heard – more than a few seconds of the X Factor, I rely for all my knowledge on this (and so much else besides) on the live blogging skills of Stuart Heritage.
However, I don’t always outsource my interaction with popular culture and occasionally surf the zeitgeist in person. So, last Thursday morning I set off on my velocipede to see the latest instalment in the increasingly numerous films of the Star Wars trilogy. Might this be an option for the Church of England? We’ve been stuck with just three members of the Holy Trinity for quite some time now, surely adding some CGI-heavy new members could be a way to bring in the young people and boost declining church attendance? Or perhaps it’s time to re-boot the franchise and go back to the beginning with a dark, new origin story for the faith? I’ll admit that there might be some doctrinal issues involved with these options, but the church has made bigger U-turns and it’s not like I’m espousing the Monophysite heresy.
I seem to have wandered into theology by mistake, let’s see if we can turn this post around and return to JJ’s latest. Unusually for me, I went on the opening day (to the general public) of the film: this did not so much reflect excessive keenness as a look at the 5-day weather forecast which suggested it might be my last, best chance of visiting the flicks without getting very wet and windswept (I still got slightly wet). I eschewed the 00:01 sold-out showing as the older I grow the more highly I rate the benison of sleep: so the chance of communion with my duvet was always going to beat anything Hollywood could produce. Instead, I went to the 11:45 service (aimed primarily at the senior citizen) which was largely empty: patience and common sense unusually swiftly receiving their just reward. Despite the relative antiquity of some of the cast, the film did not seem to prove a big draw for the pensioners of Southampton.
Out of deference to those who have not yet seen the movie, I shall avoid any spoilers – but I can say that the film is good fun. Perhaps slightly too many nods to the original trilogy, but the new cast were very good: I think John Boyega may become a national treasure well before his time. I have to say that the passage of time has not improved the standards of health and safety used by the bad guys – and the good guys are little better, though less over-manned. There is also great joy to be found in spotting British actors (and a wide range of Scottish accents) in minor roles, my personal favourite was a brief glimpse of Harriet Walter. I would also note that Rey had suspiciously good fingernails for a scavenger: they may not have heard of guard-rails in that distant galaxy but they would seem to do some excellent manicure work. I didn’t spot a nail bar in the film, but perhaps one will appear in a subsequent director’s cut.
So, I think we can all agree that my finger is well and truly on the pulse – which should excuse the next ten posts on obscure Belorussian theatre of the 18th century.