Going to the cinema is usually a stress free affair, especially in Rome.
The cinemas are big, the receptions large and there are always about 6 screens in whatever flicks you choose. Saturday night me and my new girl went to the movies to see Twilight 2: New Moon.
I was magnificently underwhelmed by the first one and came to the conclusion that the reason it was so shallow is that it was meant solely for teenage girls who'd read the books and knew exactly why Edward and Bella fell in love as it took up 56 pages of prose, as opposed to a couple of minutes of screen time.
Bought our tickets and with two hours to spare decided to partake of a dinner at a local restaurant. The architecture around Termini and Rebibbia, while not as impressive as the ancient parts of Rome, is still beautiful and after savouring the view of the large, sculptured fountain outside the Warner Village cinema (this thing isn't in the middle of a traffic roundabout, it IS the roundabout) and the various buildings as we made our way to a pizzeria.
The waiters outside must be on commission as they locked on target as soon as we started perusing the window menus and were practically falling over themselves to show us to a table. What appeared to be a good deal of "Tourist Meal" at 10 Euros a pop, turned out to be "school dinner"-esque pig swill that made my bird feel sick and while I wasn't that bothered as I've lived on value pasta and gnochhi before now, we failed to tip and made our way back to the cinema looking forward to a big bucket of popcorn to eradicate the memory of the Tourist Trap Trattoria that we'd inadvertently chosen.
Queue for the movie was beyond belief and ALL these people had tickets. Roughly 500 in what could, in the kindest way, be described as a "dog's hind leg". About half of those appeared to be not yet eligible to vote and I guessed the numbers would have been higher if it hadn't been a late showing on a Sunday night.
Bloke checking tickets near the front of the queue told me I had to queue up and THEN use the bog, even though his predeccessor two hours previously had said it was ok once she saw we'd actually purchased tickets. I told him to shove off and walked past him, causing my girlf to fume about how I needed to respect the rules, even those I didn't like. I retorted that some rules are common sense (such as not using the "entrance" gate in her store as an "exit"...which she says I tried to do the first time I met her) while obstructing me from having a piss is just stupidity.
Film was good, and much better than its rather shite predeccesor (have to remember to pull my T-shirt off when some attractive bird has a cut head, to offer her as a bandage). Althought Edward Cullen turns out to be a bit of a puff when it comes to fisticuffs with other vampires.
My girlf decided to nip to the toilet literally 2 minutes before the sodding film ended which probably pissed off the pubescent patrons in the adjacent seats. Outside in the foyer she asked what happened in the end and wouldn't believe me when I said that Mr Sensible Reformed Blood Slurper had proposed to Bella. I eventually had to grab two women walking past to confirm it which led later to being told off for asking strangers to back me up.
The joys of compromise.
Being in what may flower into "love" soon is a strange experience. First of all I have a single bed which I find a complete arse ache after months of a double and kipping outside in 25 degree summer nights in Plakias. A double bed is better because a). You have tons more space and b). If it's someone I pulled when I was steaming drunk and they turn out to be butt ugly in the morning, I can put as much space as possible between us without being deliberately insulting (I am, after all, the sensitive one). With my new girly I don't mind having to spoon all night and for the last 2 weeks we have shared the same bed which before I found cramped just on my lonesome.
Yesterday she accessed her Facebook account, accepted my Friend Request then and found my status comment which was a repeat of a comment she'd made to me. It read "Lance thinks that 'Why of all the people who passed me by, both at work and in the street that I took no notice of. Why was it an Englishman, an English teacher, NO a 39 year old English teacher that made me stop and stand still?'....is probably the most romantic thing any bird has ever said to me".
She was narked off that I'd called her a bird which I pointed out doesn't mean "penis" like in Italian but is admittedly very sexist.
Do I care? No.
Watched Intolerable Cruelty with George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones last night (while curled up on the sofa with my bird...I mean girlf, eating choclates. Ugh! I am going down this road aren't I?) Pants wettingly funny, espesh the exchange "do you hate men?" which got the reply "people who hunt wild animals don't hate animals" or Massey meeting "The Senior Partner".
Run up to Xmas and yours truly needs to find somewhere to live. My tenancy in this freezing cold, falling apart dump runs out at the end of December so we all have to up anchor and sod off by the 1st of Jan. I had an interview at a flat with four women in it which was sweet (espesh as they made me dinner and one of them Facebooked me within a couple of hours) but they never got back in touch. I want to live in the St. Giovanni area of Rome, same area I was in in 1996 when I lived here before and got an interview with a guy who lives right opposite the church in a 2 bedroom flat. Got there and like many Italian flats it got a tiny (nae, eentsy) box elevator to get up to it and the front door is like something from a 1930's Soviet submarine. Bloke who owned it was a nice enough chap and proclaimed himself to be an opera singer, English teacher, masseur and voice actor. I got the feeling the room mate interview was going well when he started using expressions like "when you move in" and "when you take this room" etc.
Paid him the deposit 3 days later and it now means I have a warm flat with a double bed and will be able to go out pubbing and socialising in the city centre without facing a 4 mile walk home or wait while I become depressingly sober at the night bus depot.
Last week I asked my new girly if she wanted to watch a movie with me. As I had downloaded both Transformers 2 and Terminator 4 and also had Quantum of Solace knocking about on a memory stick, I expected her to plum for some science fiction hokus pokus or Daniel Craig chucking blokes off roofs and being a badass. Instead she whispered in my ear "I'd like to watch Saw 6 with you".
After a pause, I pointed out that I'd watched the first 10 minutes already and with the exception of the Angel Trap from part 3, this installment was gearing up to be the most barfsville yet. She insisted she would like to see it so for the next 90 mins we sat in front of my Asus Netbook with her head on my shoulder sipping tea, watching what was basically the equivalent of a mass autopsy but with people who are still alive.
Have to admit though, despite my misgivings about dating someone who loves Saw movies as much as me (am I a hypocrite? Yes. Do I care? No.) I have been nothing but impressed by just how clever these quite disgusting movies have remained throughout the last 5 years. Events in this one contradict events going back as far as part 3 and in a way that makes sense (not like that patronising bollocks they used to pull when Jason was brought back to life in the Friday 13th flicks). The acting's nothing briliant but the sheer downbeat tone (every hero from every movie is either dead, missing or turned out to be a villain) and audaciousness of the twists make them worth watching. The climax of part 5 had a bloke stuck in a room where the walls closed in and squashed him. I always wondered what he was going to look like when the walls opened again and sure enough we get it in nauseating detail in the first few minutes of part 6.
THE best scene of recent movie history though has to be the bit where a health insurance Vice President finds himself in a room with six of his employees strapped to a carousel. They are the evil little fuckers who find errors in people's applications and in a flashback we discover this cost one person his life when he was diagnosed as terminally ill and a mistake on his form cost him his health care and therefore killed him. A loaded shotgun on a pivot faces the carousel and the VP can spare two people by making the gun fire into the ceiling. Four will have to die, two can "get off". Cue lots of pleading along the lines of "I'm pregnant" and "my parents are rich they'll pay you". Think Big Brother nominations night, but with the added incentive that if you're not good enough, you'll soon be meeting your maker. Brilliant. I reccomened just THIS scene to anyone who's ever dealt with obstructive, rude little cunts in customer services. Go to YouTube and type "Saw, Carousel".
Pay day was 4th December and I asked for 500 Euros cash to supplement the cheque as I was unable to get to the bank before it closed on Friday and we were on a four day public holiday for Immacolata (Immaculate Conception. Last year I asked my teenage students what "Immacolata" meant in English and a very sweet, Twilight obsessed, 14 year old girl put her hand up and went "not doing dirties". I had to step outside for about 2 minutes before I could stop giggling).
Anyway...my money was in an envelope, my pay slip and cheque in another. I took them, signed the form, thanked the secretaries and went up to the staff room. Second envelope contained both the pay cheque and another 500 Euros.
After triple checking the amount I went back downstairs, coughed politely to get the 3 secretaries' attention and then asked for a drum roll. They looked at me non-plussed and one then went "don't do THAT it's dirty!" as I began kissing the second wad of notes. I then put it on the reception desk and said "think you might find an error in my wages today".
Cue lots of beatific smiles and even a brief smattering of applause plus the odd "bravo!" before I trudge back upstairs, morally sated but wondering if this was a test as it's 3 weeks before Christmas, I have only two weeks worth of work in December and I'm now "dating". My boss thanked me for my honesty the following Monday and I replied "believe me, THAT was harder than being in a wheelchair with a slipped disc on 3 types of prescription painkillers".
I had my palm read in New Delhi in October 2008 by some bloke in a second hand bookshop who told me that my life had changed on May 3rd of that year. It felt a littel creepy, particularly as that was the day I'd resigned from The Fuzz and while I had off handedly mentioned leaving my job in May I had NOT mentioned the date. This either makes him a very good bluffer with odds of 31 to 1 or that there's something in it after all. He told me to "lose my anger, then your life will be complete" and that the "change" that was initiated on May 3rd will be complete on December 12th 2009".
Well, December 12th rolled around and apart from some rather unpleasant nightmares which made me kick my girlfriend in my sleep (I was a surivor of the rage virus from 28 Days Later, being chased by infected children), there were no loud claps of thunder or visits from angels and shite-all appears to have changed. Book is out on the 15th though so we'll see if he meant then instead and the planets were fibbing about the date.
Having a girlfriend has proved to be testing to say the least. It's 9 years since my last serious relationship ended and even then, I've never cohabited before. As my new rose lives in the same building (me on floor 3, her on floor 10) we eat and sleep together nearly every night and she has picked up some of my habits that she says annoy her. They are in no order of preference.
1. Wiping my mouth with my hand while eating.
2. Walking around the house with no shoes on.
3. Leaving soap or even food particles on the washing up.
4. Cracking my knuckles.
5. Pulling silly faces, doing silly voices and basically "acting like 15 years old child" (she's Romanian)
6. Having toothpaste stains on my house sweater.
7. Spending too much time on Facebook or the Intenet as a whole.
8. Being able to remember how many people I've slept with.
9. Not washing my face in the morning.
10. Not washing my bed linen once a week.
I pointed out that while I appreciated constructive feedback, being spoken to like a 6 year old did nothing to help my mood and I then asked her if she'd like me to list 10 things I didn't like about her. She winced and went "ok" and looked at the floor, anticipating a tongue lashing. Instead I simply said..."nothing. I like you the way you are" to which she glared at me and snapped "THAT'S JUST BEING CRAFTY!"
A few days later I posted the video for 1997 One Hit Wonder, Anouk's song "Nobody's Wife" on my Facebook profile and sure enough, my girly found it. She was none too impressed that I'd written "substitute the word husband for wife and this is my song" and we had an argument that lasted about 25 minutes about my lack of commitment. I countered that as much as I like her a). we'd only been dating 3 weeks, b). she is my girlfriend not my wife or fiancé and c). it's only a fucking song.
I contacted 6 police officers I used to work with in both the City of London Police and...the Other Force, to offer them copies of Stab Proof Scarecrows which comes out this week. I stated in the e-mails that they were the only ones who had my complete respect and that it would be my privilege to send them free signed copies. The officers were:
1. A senior Special cop from the City of London. Very inspirational and led by example. He was very touched and offered to pay for his copy to which I replied "don't be silly". He DID however want to know what "the other 10% was" when I told him that the book was 90% positive about COLP.
2. An Inspector from the Other Force. A fast track guv'nor who'd only been in 6 years but was completely "balls out" and had his officers' backs and put himself on the line many times to do "the right thing". He stated in his reply that he'd like a copy and then added "I always wondered what happened to you".
3. A former tutor Constable of mine from the Other Force. He was probably the most inspirational officer I ever worked with and was one of very few that didn't try to cover his own arse by blaming other people or falling back on policy. He replied he was "honoured to have your respect" and that he hoped I had written about "our interesting adventures together".
4. A former Sergeant from the Other Force. This poor sod was sent to prison for 2 months for threatening a mugger with a knife (unfortunately after the "suspect" had been handcuffed and was in legal custody) who had robbed an old woman with a blade. No physical contact was made but he was with a New School probationer who are encouraged from day one to rat on fellow officers. The Sergeant lost his job, his liberty and I recently found out, his marriage too. One character in the book was based on him as he was an inspirational and courageous man. Once I found this out I increased the chapters to give him more page time and got in touch with his now ex-wife on Facebook to offer him a copy, stating that I knew full well "what happened recently".
5 and 6. My former female Training Inspector (now a Chief Inspector) and a Trainer from the Police College in the Other Force. The former was a complete disciplinarian but obviously cared deeply about her probationers and their welfare. An inspiration to anyone who cared to see her for the very compassionate and professional officer she really was. The latter was an Old School, retired cop who was so outspoken in class they made him do Race and Diversity retraining at the age of 60 (I think the line "the only good Pikey is a dead Pikey" probably didn't help). The Lady CI replied to me saying she was unable to accept my offer, as was the Trainer, as there are rules and regulations on "gifts and gratuities". That presumably translates as "I know you are about to have a meeting with the Assistant Chief Constable about the bullying and disability discrimination that led to your resignation so thanks but no thanks".
Finally, I have realised that as much as my cynical heart and cold shell are warming next to the fire of true love, I STILL love watching porn. As much as it's nice to wake up in the arms of your beloved, feel her hair tickling your face and kiss her gently to wake her up. I STILL enjoy watching Vallarie from firsttimeauditions.com getting fucked on the casting couch, pretending to have an orgasm and getting her face cummed on by the guy, before whispering "thanks, that was a fun audition".
Life's too short to not watch porn.