When I look through my adult life so far there are a few constants - the love of family and some good friends - yet the most regular rhythm, the most dependable refrain is that of change and disruption, of uncertainty. One thing, though, holds true through all of that, and it’s odd that I only seem to recognise it now. When I enter the quiet dark hall of a cinema, arms laden with sugar or beer perhaps; when I find a seat as centrally as possible, ideally with no-one in front of me… as the lights dim, my heart pounds a little as if on a plane about to take off. And as the screen starts to glow, as another world emerges to seduce me, my day’s problems begin to fall from me like a man dropping his clothes before he jumps in the sea.
It is strange that it has taken me so long to articulate this - not just in web text - but in my mind too. The distractions of the day, the worries and anxieties and frustrations about this abuse of corporate or government power, or that slight from someone dear, may be eased a little through meditation, sometimes a lot through a great book, but none for me so totally as through a good film in a darkened space. Even a mediocre one. These last few days my worries have been transformed into something hopeful through the brilliant yet McBlockbuster Wreck It Ralph, the visceral if hackneyed Oblivion, and then the powerful epic Midnight’s Children. Imperfection is not a problem, I seek just a voyage to a convincing new world, and people I can pin my internal struggles to, and reason to think much bigger than my own worries for a while.
Cinema feels like a lover I’ve depended on for as long as I can remember, but too rarely stop to say thank you, to recognise its wisdom and power. And this in turn reminds me that although Netribution is mostly tumbleweed, dust and spam links now, it reflected my excitement at where cinema will travel to next, in a connected world of ever cheaper kit and decentralised distribution.
The last thing I wrote on this site was nearly two years ago. I was a keen digital cinema entrepreneur taking the lessons from Shooting People and self-distributing the funding book into ventures new. And then my sister died after a brutal battle with cancer - and as I started to get over that, a friend killed herself. And I couldn’t talk about it here, indeed I still don’t really feel skilled enough. So I said nothing, but begun to question almost everything, Our current media space helped neither of them, while the superfast hyperconnected ad-driven pervasive digital frenzy that’s replacing it seems even worse equipped. While overflowing with ideas and research projects and possible new businesses, I floundered, unsure what would kind of media world would have been better for them. And I still don’t really know how to get to that, save for the fact that a good film can be as healing as a medicine, a great story as powerful as a hug or good conversation.
So, dear lover cinema, forgive me my unfaithfulness, my absence and neglect. You’ve been there for me when others haven’t. You’ve made me mad and struck me sane. You’ve shaped so many of my views - often misguidedly and with the values of one race, class and gender - but also most regularly with a reminder that what makes me human and hurt, makes everyone human and hurt - it’s shared by us all. Thank you. Let’s begin again.