I AM missing going to the pictures an almost ridiculous amount at the moment. 

It’s been almost a year since I last inhaled the gloriously warm, comforting, popcorny and slightly foosty smell of the Showcase in Coatbridge. 

Almost a year since I last justified to myself the price of a large fizzy juice. Almost a year since I had the jarring experience of walking out of a dark screening in the cold, harsh light of day. 

It’s been so long that I think the next film I go and see, regardless of whether it’s good or not, I’ll proclaim it to be a masterpiece purely because it will be such relief to be back in the pictures. 

Glasgow Times: Toy StoryToy Story

I remember going to the pictures with my pals for the first time when I was about 13 to see Meet the Fockers. 

A squad of about 10 of us all hooting and hollering together in a row was one of the most joyful moments of my life. Then there was the time a few years later when a few of us went to see The Inbetweeners film, the story of four incredibly awkward teenage boys on their first disastrous lads holiday that left us both laughing and feeling extremely mortified that this was probably how the rest of the world saw us. 

I think the very first time I went to see a film was Toy Story back in 1995 at The Forge, I believe. I don’t remember too much about the actual experience and the feelings of being in the pictures for the first time ever, but I do remember being stunned at the size of the screen and that I demanded we sat in the very front row. 

I think I’d imagined we’d be going to watch a film on what was just a big telly, rather than a screen that spanned floor to ceiling and wall to wall. It was so big it overwhelmed me. Then came the sound from all angles, enveloping four-year-old me to the point I became quite frightened. 

The bright, primary colours of the Toy Story world soon calmed me down though and I relaxed into my seat. It got to about half way into the film however and we 
the viewers soon find ourselves in the room of the film’s antagonist, Sid. 

Sid likes to experiment on his toys, breaking them apart and combining them with others to create frightening, Lovecraftian horrors. I was not prepared for this. 

When a mechanical spider with a one-eyed baldy doll’s head sitting atop rises up out of the darkness, I absolutely freaked out and had to be escorted from the building by my maw as she tried not to laugh. “That was scary,” I said to her at the bus stop as I started to calm down. “Naw it wisnae,” she said with a smile. ‘It’s no real, just remember that.

It’s aw just kid on.’ 

That’s something I’ve never quite been able to take on board, that what you’re seeing on the screen “isn’t real”. Because for the two hours or so you’re in there watching a film, it absolutely is real. You’re lost in a different time, a different place, a different universe. 

It feels like you’re in a dream when you’re watching a film, just totally immersed in it.

Especially when you’re watching a good one. But even a bad film, when watched in the pictures can be elevated to “half decent” status by the magic of the place. 

I’ll happily give up and turn off a film if I think it’s rotten when I watch it in the house but I’ve never felt close to walking out of the cinema in the middle of a film. 

I have, however, come close to walking out of good films when I find myself sat next to a noisy eater or a persistent poke rustler. 

The worst thing cinemas ever introduced was nachos, in my opinion. The noisiest food on earth. 

Glasgow Times: Nachos at Urban Beach Hotel

It makes me laugh when I think of someone who’s been tasked to interrupt my viewing pleasure, as I often think when I’m sitting beside one of these people. “Right,” their boss would say, “he hates the sound of pokes rustling so we’ve wrapped everything in five layers of tin foil inside a poly bag that’s been knotted at the top. 

“Make sure you rummage about for a good 10 minutes as well. Maybe try and drop some of it a few times.” 

But even they cannot stop me from having a good time, I’ll find a way to block them out and enjoy myself. 

When the pictures open up again, I’m going to block off a whole day and just watch film after film for hours to get my fix. 

If you sit next to me and must insist on being as noisy as you can, just know that you won’t get a rise out of me. I will seethe silently and imperceptibly but be aware that I will be dying inside.