« Year In Review | Main | Just wait ten minutes... »

Media Glut

I think it's the little things that always throw me in a new place. I can deal with the idea of being in a country where sheep outnumber people. I can deal with the idea of living in a place where everything (and I mean everything) is built on a hill. I can cope with being a foreigner.

What I cannot cope well with is popcorn.

See, I love popcorn. Hot, buttery popcorn from movie theaters is my not-so-secret vice. I have an ex-boyfriend I miss (more than one, now that I think about it) who would make me popcorn, either on the stove, in the microwave, or (eventually) in our shared popcorn maker. And man, do I miss that popcorn maker. One notable ex even bought me a specific-for-popcorn big glass bowl.

They don't... do popcorn properly in Scotland.

I found myself hooking up with a friend yesterday to finally get around to seeing the Narnia movie. (One comment only: Tilda Swinton is my master now.) Having not been to a movie despite living in a country where they host the International Festival for movies, I was quite excited. Popcorn! And moving pictures! And popcorn!

(I don't own a t.v., you see, so moving pictures are occasionally very distracting... they talk! I don't have to read to be entertained! Yay!)

So, like an excited four-year-old, I rushed off to the snack bar to buy myself some hot, buttery, gonna-kill-me-young popcorn.

"Okay," said the man behind the counter. "Salty or sweet?"

To which I responded with a graceful "Huh?"

It seems in Scotland they don't make hot, buttery, gonna-kill-you-young popcorn. Their popcorn in movie theaters is cold. And either comes salty, or sweet, like cold candied popcorn.

I was terribly heartbroken, and went with the sweet stuff.

My date for the afternoon was very understanding, and did put up with a lot of me randomly saying "But... but... the popcorn is wrong!" Occasionally I'd just stare into it, hoping that it would suddenly turn into buttery, salty, hot goodness.

Then the movie started, and I didn't care nearly so much. Because movies in Scotland start with incredibly and surreally bad advertisments.

Remember, I don't have a t.v. For all I know, these wretchedly awful advertisements are the norm here. From the really bad, stereotypically-gay PR agents in an advertisement for cell phones to the laughably horrible ads for cars, I spent most of the first 15 minutes in the darkened theater with my jaw dropped open. (Simon kindly kept lifting it up for me. He's such a nice boy.)

I don't know what it is, maybe my mind just doesn't accept advertising anymore. Unless there's a huge buzz on the 'net, I don't see ads at all outside of print media, and even then my eyes mostly just go over them. Have they always been this awful? Is it a cultural-awfulness? I have no idea.

(There were some very good ads for good causes. The one where they show a Tim Burton-esque scene while describing what childhood abuse does to someone was excellent, and the one reminding people to turn off their cells and pay attention to the road was stark and to the point. But that was about a minute out of 15. Yes, 15 minutes of ads. Then the trailers for new movies.)

This all ignores the most important part of the movie going experience: There were nice, comfortable seats, with lots and lots of legroom, and a place to put my disturbingly cold popcorn and my oversize cola product.

But really: Tilda Swintin is totally my master now.


TrackBack URL for this entry:


awww :) i feel your pain! it's meant to be hot and buttered, dammit.

i dunno which theatre you were in, but if it was the cold faceless multiplex cineworld, this is a recent development. a year or two ago, out went the hot dogs and the fresh popcorn, in came the pre-packaged EVERY BLOODY THING. talk about talking the soul out of the cinema experience! luckily it is not the same everywhere in scotland. some chains, and most of the few remaining independent places, still serve up the real thing.

(in terms of edinburgh, i think the cameo in tollcross still has it? not sure about the filmhouse on lothian rd...)

you mean there's places where you DON'T get tons of ads and trailers? :O The worst I've seen was when one of the local malls had an outdoors cinema for the summer, and they treated us to 15 minutes of commercials before the movie and 15 minutes more *during* the movie. They just stopped it and *bam!* same dumb commercials again. *shudder* But the ads and trailers and normal here (incidentally, I saw Narnia last week too, and they showed that turn your phone off ad too. maybe it comes with the movie?)

I only can get cold carmel popcorn in Asia. Over Xmass I took the rugrats (neices and nephew) to Narnia and snarled at Bill when he tried to take some of my good western popcorn. Poor kid but he'll learn.

I feel your pain. The two times I went to the cinema when I was in Scotland (One in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow), I spent a good, long while at the concessions stand, muttering to myself about the candy being wrong. Can I just say how much I hate Smarties?

Buy some popcorn and pop it yourself. You'll feel better :)

Germany's the same way -- only there, in my experience, sweet popcorn was the default and you only got salty if you asked for it. Amusingly, my exchange partner always went up to vendors and insisted on salty popcorn for me, even though I had nothing against the sweet stuff, because she thought it would make me feel at home (which wasn't really why I went to Germany in the first place...). She meant well, anyway.

Post a comment