I HAVE warned you. It’s from here, Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About [bookmark it now]:
It’s getting worse. I’ve mentioned this, in passing, before, but it’s getting worse. We were watching Hannibal on DVD the other week, and Margret was sitting beside me, looking at the screen, right from the moment I hit ‘play’. This, incidentally, is because before we watch any DVD or video we have this ritual.
Mil – ‘Are you ready?’
Margret – ‘Yes.’
Mil – ‘No you’re not, you’re clearly not. Sit down here.’
Margret – ‘I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m just cutting out this magazine article and putting the kids toys away in an order based on the psychological warmth of their respective colours and making a cup of tea and wondering if we should move that mirror six inches to the left, but I’m ready – go ahead, start the film.’
Mil – ‘No. I’ll start the film when you’re sitting here. If I start the film now, you’ll sit down in three minutes time and say, “What’s happened?” and I’ll have to do that thing with my mouth. Not going to happen. You sit here right from the beginning.’
[Margret makes an injured pantomime of dragging herself over to the sofa and sitting down beside me.]
Mil – ‘Thank you.’
[I press ‘play’. The FBI copyright warning comes up and, knowing full well it won’t work, I repeatedly try to fast forward through it for the annoying amount of time – precisely long enough for me to fully hate the FBI and the entire motion picture industry – it takes to fade. A logo swirls around the screen. Darkness. A single, threatening, bass note rumbles low. Swelling in volume as the first image seeps into life.]
Margret – ‘I’ve just remembered, I need to phone Jo.’
Mil – ‘Arrrrggghhheeeiiiiiieeeeerrrrgghhhhhhhhgkkkkk-kkk-kk-k!’
Margret – ‘I only need to ask if she has a text book – carry on.’
Mil – ‘No. Make the phone call. I’ll wait.’
[Three hours later. Margret returns; I am still on the sofa, remote control poised in my hand, but now visibly older and covered in a light film of dust.]
Margret – ‘OK, done.’
Mil – ‘Right.’
[I wind back four or five seconds to have the moody intro again, Margret complains we’ve already seen this bit and – as it’s getting late now – there’s no need. I reply it’s important for setting the mood, she thinks it’s a stupid thing to do, the exchange degenerates into a twenty minute row about foreplay, and then we finally begin to watch the film.]
So, that’s what happens, every time, and thus on this occasion as with all others, Margret has been sitting beside me since the very beginning of the film. Which, casting your mind back, you’ll recall is Hannibal.
Titles. Silence. A face appears.
Margret – ‘Who’s that?’
Getting worse. I was watching the Davis Cup on TV and, as the players are sitting down for a of change ends, the camera idly pans round the crowd, pausing on a woman eating an ice cream. Margret says?… Louder – I can’t hear you… Yes, yes she does.
I’m here to make an appeal for the population of the Earth to wear name tags at all times, three tags if you’re an actor: your character’s name, your real name and a list of things you’ve been in before. Please, do it. They only cost a few pence – please don’t make me beg.