Dear Dave

Friday 17 April 2009

Forward to the past

Dear Dave,

It was brought to my attention recently that it's ten years since The Matrix was released.

My first reaction was that it can't possibly have been that long. It simply can't. Thinking about it more carefully, however, I remembered going to see the movie at the cinema with Sarah and then sitting outside a café in the sunshine with a beer, discussing why the machines had been foolish enough to use humans as batteries rather than cows. The peculiar thing about this memory is that at the time, the most extraordinary part of these events was the sunshine. Going to the cinema with my wife without having to rush home afterwards didn't seem in any way unusual. That hasn't been the case since Fraser was born.

Given that he's nearly nine, I was suddenly glad that it's only been ten years.

Actually, I'm more scared by how long it's been since Back to the Future came out. In 1985 Marty McFly took a trip back in time thirty years to the other world that was 1955. Now 1985 is almost twenty-five years ago. It was kind of weird watching the film with my kids at the weekend - if anything, the parts referring to the 'present' made less sense to them than the bits set in the 'past'. Watching the sequel set in the 'future' will just be bizarre. (In Edinburgh in 2015 we're not going to have flying cars and hoverboards, we're going to have a brand new tram system. You know, like in 1885.)

Still, they're going to have to sit through the whole trilogy whether they like it or not. We're trying to get them to watch some of the classics from our youth so they don't keep looking at us like idiots when we make jokes about flux capacitors and being slimed.

OK, maybe that's too much to ask for... but at least they'll know what we're talking about while they look at us like idiots.

So far we've had more problems with this scheme than we were expecting. The kids enjoyed watching Ghostbusters, for instance, but it had more swearing than we remembered (as did Back to the Future!). Since they liked that, we talked up Gremlins, only to discover it's a 15. There must be a whole load of gore I've forgotten about. It's going to be eleven years before Marie really appreciates why I refuse to feed her after midnight.

Then there was the dilemma over which order to show the Star Wars films...

Fraser got to go watch E.T. at a special outdoor showing at the Film Festival last year. It rained. Both boys have seen the Indiana Jones films but Lewis was maybe a little young. Never mind The Matrix being a decade old - by the time any of my kids are old enough to watch The Terminator, Skynet will already control the world.

Ho well, we recorded Groundhog Day off the telly at the weekend. That will have to do instead...

Yours in a woman's world,


PS We may not have flying cars but advances in technology mean that John Lewis have done away with the old ticket dispenser they used to have in the kid's shoe department. Rather than take a number, I now get to enter the age and gender of all my children on a touchscreen and receive an Estimated Service Time in return.

Normally I get given an E.S.T. that's half an hour or so in the future and yet if I sit down with the children and look in the mood to buy shoes, I'm served within five minutes.

The machine excelled itself the other day. Entering Marie's details at 5:28, I was given this:

Ticket giving an estimated time of service of 6:28.

The shop closes at 6:30.

Personally, I'd rather have the hoverboards...

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