The Immersive Brontes!

At home with the Brontes feeling their pain.

At home with the Brontes: feeling their pain.  (Graphite study from my collection.)

A couple months ago – my colourful nephew came to visit us from London. I remember listening attentively as he enthused all about his latest ‘money making’ venture – ‘Immersive Cinema’ – apparently it’s a sort of audience participation thing – where you enjoy a meal while being immersed in a fantasy world that has been brought to life around you – as if straight out of the silver screen.  Apparently – being entertained in this way is a booming culture – especially in trendy London circles. Without wishing to pour cold water on anyone’s fire – I kept my thoughts to myself – but couldn’t help wondering who on earth needs to be spoon fed an imagination in this way – and pay for the ‘pleasure’.  I wished him well with his venture of course!  He is such a tonic – always fizzing with ideas – and dreams – and that’s wonderful.

Last night – I immersed myself in some TV – I think it is the first time in over a year that I have actually sat down and watched a television programme of any sort – apart from catching the odd bit of breakfast news in the mornings while on the move.  

What a treat was in store…  

The Bronte Sisters on my widescreen.

The Bronte Sisters on my widescreen.

Everything had been organised like a military operation so that I could sit down and watch – ‘To Walk Invisible’ at 9 o’clock – on the dot.

'To Walk Invisible' on my telly.

‘To Walk Invisible’ on my telly.

Two whole hours of uninterrupted telly – while my two sons set about building a ‘do it yourself’ Gingerbread House – they are twenty-three and sixteen – nearly seventeen. It was a present from eldest son to youngest son who is learning bricklaying at college; an inspired gift that kept them happily amused. While they busied themselves in my cosy parlour downstairs – I retired upstairs to my bedroom where the telly is.  Rather stupidly – the window had been forgotten and was still on the latch from earlier – my unheated room was cold and offered as much comfort as Haworth Parsonage in the 19th century!  I sat down in the armchair with two hot-water bottles – two cups of tea and a blanket around my shoulders – and immersed myself in their unforgiving world.  It would have been nice to have had some powered heating but somehow the realism of seeing my breath condense while still inside – only added to the two hour drama – I was rapt throughout as well as suitably numb!  I thought that the actress who played Emily was particularly powerful – brilliant.  All of them were.

How cold those three sisters must have been inside that roomy Parsonage; wearing long dresses with rising damp – and necklines that exposed them to the grip of every sneaking draught.  My god – I felt their pain!

Something that warmed me up. Two hours later - the Gingerbread 'Parsonage' was complete

Something that warmed me up.  Two hours later – the Gingerbread ‘Parsonage’ was complete!

Back to the modern-day – to where I started.  I guess – I kinda see where my nephew is coming from – although I think immersive cinema is really about this 21st century’s unrelenting pursuit of pleasure and always having ‘a good time’ no matter what the cost is. I don’t get it.

"O dreadful is the check--intense the agony-- When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins to see; When the pulse begins to throb--the brain to think again-- The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain." Emily Bronte

“O dreadful is the check–intense the agony–
When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throb–the brain to think again–
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain.” Emily Bronte


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