The Last Picture Show


As well you might by now know, I am a man who deals in cold hard fact. And thus fiction in it’s many myriad forms has never held any interest for me. This was revealed to me at an early age, when it was that as a small child and put to bed – on occasion my grandfather would read to me a story. He delighted in turning to the pages of Hans Christen Anderson and The Brothers Grimm to entertain me, as had they entertained him as a small boy.

I would of course, however, regularly take him to task for the obvious inconsistencies and impossibilities that such tales would throw up. Rapunzel – to grow hair to sufficient length with which to fashion as a rope for passing suitors, would have had to be growing it for at least seventy to eighty years – depending on length (again my grandfather and I would often argue as to how tall this actual ‘tower’ was). So far from being the beautiful princess waiting at the window for her rescue, she would have invariably been quite the wizened old crone. And one who constantly bled from the follicles, such would be the force exerted on her scalp by someone attempting to climb her hair. Quite frankly such a task would kill her.

Similar a house made of sweets, the like of which Hansel and Gretel happened upon in the woods, is quite impractical in either wet and hot climates, and would have suffered equally badly in both.  And the name Rumpletilskin is preposterous- who’d ever guess that!

So it is I grew up to be the man of science I am today. But I am not so uncultured as to be completely unaware of the current topics of conversation that filter through the laboratories and classrooms here at the Institute. The latest talk being about a motion picture causing quite the stir called ‘Avatar’. Now I have not seen this picture. Nor have I any interest or intention to rectify this matter. To date I have only ever sat through one film in my lifetime. And even then I stumbled upon it quite by accident, as I was trying to set the timer on my then BETAMAX video cassette machine to record the latest episode of Tomorrow’s World. Tthe one where they previewed the ‘fold up car’ – idiots!

Instead I found I had recorded a film entitled ‘Beneath The Planet of the Apes’. Now this film, despite it’s promising title, of which I imagined might in some way, relate perhaps to Desmond Morris’ The Naked Ape, was instead some incomprehensible rubbish about spacemen, mutants with nuclear bombs, and monkey’s riding around on horseback. So perplexed and then angry I was by what I watched, I promptly destroyed my television and have never owned one since.

If this makes me some social leper – then so be it, but quite frankly if it also means I don’t have to suffer seeing that hack Winston’s stupid big face spewing out whatever asinine scientific theory he’s currently trading in then all the better. You can keep your blue people!


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