Neither seen nor heard…

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Harsh? Maybe. Fair. Oh yes indeedy. Twice this week I’ve to endure noisy children; once in the cinema and once on a train, and I feel the need to vent my spleen dear reader.

Okay, so maybe the cinema one was partly my fault. I went to see Wall:E on a Sunday afternoon, so there were always going to be loads of kids in there. Standard rule of cinema-going: if you want to avoid the screaming hordes while seeing a film rated lower than 15a, go to a late show.

However, this was worse than usual. I don’t mind a bit of random commentary from the kids - in fact it can be quite funny sometimes. When I went to see Spiderman 3, the moment Thomas Hayden Church appeared on-screen, loads of kids in the cinema said “It’s Sandman!” under their breath (even though at this point he wasn’t - he was just some bloke). They no doubt recognised him from all the merchandising and such like that they had been surrounded by for weeks before the film came out. “I hope he’s as cool as he looks on the side of my trainers/cereal box/mobile phone” they were probably thinking. The adults were probably thinking “Oh, it’s that bloke from Sideways - I hope this is as good.” I’m fairly sure both age groups were sorely disappointed…

Anyway, I will begrudgingly admit that kids have just as much right to be in cinemas as I do (although, they did pay less for their tickets for exactly the same film, same size of seat, same air…) But if they aren’t even going to watch the film then they should get the hell out!

On Sunday there was a family sitting a few seats along from me that consisted of 2 adults and 3 kids: one wee girl (I’d guess she was about 1-ish) didn’t even look at the screen and spent most of the time singing to herself; another slightly older girl seemed to be fairly quiet throughout, but eventually got taken outside by the father as she was crying. Finally, there was a boy of about 4 (at a guess) who said at one point “Mum, I don’t like this!” and later “Mum, I’m bored”. From my point of view the first of these was the worst - she was only 3 seats along from me and pretty much kept up as a secondary soundtrack for the whole film. ARGH! But it seems that the other two were hardly enamored to be there, and surely the parents weren’t enjoying the film either? I would have thought in that situation that at some point the parents would have realised that this was a lost cause and they were just ruining it for everyone else?

As you might have guessed (and hoped) from all this, I don’t have children myself. And yes, it’s easy for me to judge other people with their kids. So easy in fact that I’m going to do it again right now.

I was heading back to Glasgow from Aberdeen earlier in the week, slightly hungover and rather tired. The first hour or so was nice and peaceful, and I dozed away while listening to various things on my iPod. That is until Burt Raccoon woke up… Actually, that is until we got to Dundee.

A mother got on the train with her 2 kids, a boy and a girl of about 6 and 4 respectively (at a complete guess, but they may well have been younger). For a while they seemed to be sitting nicely (ie quietly) and doing, well, something. I didn’t really pay them any attention as I was still in my dreamland, being sung to sleep by Joni Mitchell (or somesuch). The first time I really noticed them was when they all started noisily tucking into various foodstuffs, which may well have contained large amounts of sugar. Or possibly cocaine. Whatever it was, trouble wasn’t far behind.

The first crime was the wee boy playing his Gameboy (DS) without any earphones, with the sound turned up (he was playing a Star Wars game as I could hear the Mos Eisley Cantina music). I myself have often played my own Gameboy (Advance) on trains and am ridiculously paranoid about making sure no one can hear the tinny music coming out of it. My annoyance wasn’t just that he has a DS and I don’t (I bet he has a Wii as well, the git) but the fact that the mother didn’t tell him to turn it down. As it turned out he only played it for about 5 minutes and then got bored…

The two kids started screaming, purely to annoy the mother. She reacted by hissing at them to be quiet, which just made them laugh more and scream all the louder. They then started hitting each other, and not just little play fighting, but what looked like full-on beatings. What was Super-Mum’s great way to handle this? By hitting them. Mmm… healthy rolemodels…

The kids didn’t really seem to care about this very much, and reacted against it by playing-up even more. This included more screaming, banging various things off the table and running up and down the aisle. The mother did some more hitting, shouting, and general exceptional parenting. This went on for about 45 minutes I reckon until we finally arrived back in the Weeg.

So let’s pass some judgement here. I guess in both stories it’s clearly the parents who were mostly at fault, and if I wasn’t such a coward then perhaps I would have said something in the cinema. I don’t think there was anything constructive I could have done on the train, and hey - they might all have turned on me (like I say, I’m a coward).

Still, especially in regard to the two on the train, let’s not go too easy on the little ones. While there is something to be said for nature and nurture, there’s also something to be said for just being a wee shite.

Rant over. Next week - why kittens and puppies should all fuck off and die.


3 Responses to “Neither seen nor heard…”

  1. Heather Says:

    I would add another book to your collection, entitled All Children in the Lanarkshire Badlands are Little Bastards Who Throw Glass and Insults at Passing Cyclists Indiscriminately and Why No Polite or Sane Person Should Ever Go There for Fun. Too long? Not quite catchy enough?

    I can also see an as yet untapped source of wealth for Cineworld et al in the provision of creche facilities so adults can go and enjoy a film without their pre-literate offspring making it hell for everyone else. Asda does it - why not cinemas?

  2. The Bob Says:

    Now that’s a good title. The rest of the book would write itself! And in fact I can see a series of movies set in The Badlands of Lanarkshire…

    The other option would be, instead of salt or sugar, they could sprinkle a mild sedative over the popcorn.

  3. Heather Says:

    One idea for a sub-title might be ‘Ye Can Get the Train from Cartsdyke But Ye Might Get Battered’ - helpful advice given to us by the lovely young scallies upon whose broken Buckie bottles we’d just deflated our means of getting the hell out of there.

    On the subject of popcorn sedatives, you’d have to sell a special ‘children only’ range, with plastic toys to entice and distract the youngsters. Do they still give prisoners bromide to stop them raping each other in the showers?

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