As I live and breath, Mary Poppins has returned and she came in the form of a practically perfect (in every way) antidote to too much Christmas chocolate and an excess of lounge lizarding in festive pyjamas.
As I didn’t have access to young children, I nagged Favourite Son and Favourite Daughter into Boxing Day submission to join me at the cinema; to be fair, only FS needed much persuading, and I hadn’t realised Liverpool were playing that afternoon, so he had grounds to protest.
Let’s face it, any Boxing Day entertainment is a people-watching reward. Even after just 24 hours of family confinement, you can smell when cabin fever has set in. We were sitting smug however, after the year we’ve just had, there was no way we were going to spoil Christmas by arguing, and so didn’t have any real need to come up for air. It was just Mama J’s need for blatant nostalgia that got us to the cinema and there we sat – for once – arriving in plenty of time to see the trailers.
From this throne of smug, we were rewarded by the arrival of a couple, faces whipped into submission by too much festive spirit, each with their own cardboard snack tray. They were not talking to each other, but were instead fixated on their personal cardboard tray of goodies – blue slush puppy, explosion of pop corn and family bag of Maltesers for her, for him the largest Christmas latte available, matching pop corn mountain and a family bag of Skittles. We were impressed by their refusal to talk to each other, their refusal to do any Malteser/Skittles trades and the financial investment they must have made to pay for this edible promise of getting Christmas back on track.
FS told me to stop being so obvious about my Smug Watch, so I put my binoculars away and ferreted out our smuggled chocolate orange from my handbag, and a small flask from my coat pocket. I know it’s an urban myth that cinema attendants bag search you for contraband, but it still feels like an achievement to avoid a pay day loan for confectionary.
Out of interest, this is the second film I’ve seen recently which has been panned by the critics but loved by the punters. (‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was the other, if you haven’t been paying attention).
I love the fact that I come away from the cinema feeling I’ve listened to the original ‘Mary Poppins’ sound track , when in fact all the music is new. I coped with my childhood chimney sweep being replaced by a cheeky lamplighter (a painless switch for it’s only Lin-Manuel Miranda, folks – my ‘Hamilton’ rapper crush – playing the part of Jack. Farewell Dick); I find I can cope with any film that squeezes in a song for Meryl Streep – who is clearly having a blast – and, weirdly, I can cope with Colin Firth in the role (plot-spoiler) of a baddie. To be honest, I’ve watched Colin and his drenched shirt so many times in ‘Pride & Prejudice’, that reader, it’s a wonder we haven’t been married for years, and things have been feeling a little stale lately.
Reflecting on the film next day with FD we decide that just like Batman and The Jedi, Mary Poppins was ripe for return – and clearly very patient, having waited since 1964 to pay this homage to the original Disney classic.
After pledging that I would refrain from any New Year Janus- type looking over my frozen shoulder, I’m now just going to chip in with the thought that Mary would have been an excellent role model for me last January – indeed, she may lead me nicely into 2019. Two hours in her company and by mashing up her song lyrics, I’m reminded that some people like to splash and play – can you imagine that? Nothing’s gone forever, it’s only out of place. Mary’s also reminded me that life can be full of stuff and nonsense but that everything is possible, even the impossible. She’s also reminded me that a bit of red lipstick, a neatly powdered nose and a carpet bag mean that you never have to explain anything and that a cover is not the book.
The price of these three cinema tickets could save me a lot of therapy expense in the long run. Spit Spot.
As we leave our cinema seats, even FS acknowledges that it’s been a good afternoon. (He’s also checked his phone and realises that Liverpool have won, so it feels like a jolly holiday even to him. (sorry I can’t stop myself). I glance down at Snack Tray Couple to see if they are riding our kite and see Mr Skittles give Mrs Malteser a playful hug. Super and docious as I live and breathe.