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…
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.
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!
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.