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A hundred minutes of solitude December 9, 2005

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
I remember now. I remember in the mist of that drunken haze what all that enthusiasm was about and why dashing to see a German film about Belarus was supposedly a blessing in disguise. What seemed such an amazing thought then, and a fairly average one now, is that it reminded me of the relative joy of going to the cinema alone.
It’s a tradition I began in earnest a couple of summers ago when the Russian was away for a stretch – I don’t mean in prison – but which had lapsed. On Tuesday, I was having a fairly boring evening at the computer, ignoring work and doing a bit of local blogging, and I came across this helpful site which recommended the film in question (there is a site after all) and I dashed out in time to catch the late, local viewing.
And going to the cinema alone is bliss. In fact, I find doing most things alone bliss. I turned up, got me a Baltika no. 3 (can’t compete with the local brews, of course, but for old times’ sake) and took my seat right at the front, which I can never do if I’m in company. The cinema is one of the few places you can go to alone without it being mortifyingly embarrassing. My sister once regaled me with how brave she’d been by going for a weekend to a different town and booking herself into a nice hotel and sitting at the bar. The fact that she rang me throughout the weekend made me think it wasn’t being such a success after all. “Are you sure folk don’t think you’re a prostitute?” I asked. (This at least made her laugh.)
But the cinema, au contraire, is fine on the solitude front. Maybe a few other cinema-goers think you’re a bit of a lonely loser, but I personally think they think you’re just a little bit interesting and exotic (although, admittedly, there wasn’t a stampede of folk desperate to introduce themselves when the lights came up). And it feels like a treat, uncoupling the film from a social event. If I’d gone with a friend, we’d have had to talk about the bastard afterwards and I’d have had to worry they had their bloody popcorn and we sat somewhere with a suitably obscured view. Whereas alone, I could slouch in my chair, swig at my beer, guffaw till my heart’s content and generally think cinema is SO a thing to do alone. (The ensuing binge-drinking, on the other hand…)


1. lukeski - December 9, 2005

So was the bingette on your own as well? Is it acceptable to drink on your own in Berlin? I am looked upon strangely if I sit in a pub drinking and reading. Surely the Continentals must be more civilised;)

2. Broke in Berlin - December 9, 2005

It is in homosexual establishments, which are always full of the lonely and unloved. In two of my local haunts, I can normally exchange a vaguely familiar word with the bar-staff or, you never know, I might even, on occasion, actually talk to a fellow punter. It depends on sociability and drunkenness levels, of course. This could lead me into a minor tirade about language again. Zum Beispiel, I went to a club alone a few weeks ago and I had no hesitation in starting to chat to a little gaggle of Americans there. But my poor German always gives me cockshrink and I’m rarely brave enough to make the first move. On the plus side, our German friends like a good old Quatsch so it’s usually not that hard to chat to someone. But often, like on public transport, I’m perfectly happy to be there alone, with just my Weissbier for company, and observe the evening go by. That can be lovely too.

Hmm, T&T in the World Cup. Dwight Yorke will be pleased.

3. Wyndham the Triffid - December 9, 2005

I’m happy to go see a film on my own these days but still can’t manage to sit in a bar on my own for more than 10 minutes without feeling like Billy No-Mates. I do that thing where I look at my watch every two seconds just so everybody knows that I’m waiting for someone. Actually, these days I appear to be without a watch so instead I frown at my phone a lot. Or look at my wrist.

4. Broke in Berlin - December 10, 2005

Wynders, the frantic wrist-/phone-watching is an awfully good tactic. I do it too, if sober. If a tad tipsy, as I was after ONE beer at the cinema, I have no qualms. I flaunted my solitude for all to see, even revelled in it, but I have got a sneaky suspicion, now you mention it, that there were Teutonic whispers along the lines of Wilhelm-ohne-Freunde mouthed in my direction…

5. Bren - December 11, 2005

In Australia (home) I would pretty much never go to the pub alone, except after work. I’d stop in to the local, have one beer and then be off home (I worked hospitality, so I’d finish late).

But here in Israel, pub life is just sooo entirely different from anything I came across in Australia, England or Ireland. Totally different. So I’m happy to go to any pub here with no one but my thoughts, and I drink happily content.

6. Broke in Berlin - December 15, 2005

And is it easy, Bren, to get yakking to the locals? When once in one of the aforementioned homosexual establishments, I sat with just my beer for company when, to my joy, I heard two gentlemen next to me speaking what I thought was Hebrew. I’ve actually done a Hebrew evening class, but gave up pretty quickly when I understood I was the group thicko. When I pounced on one when the other went to the loo and dazzled him with my one and only sentence of Hebrew (turns out I was saying it wrong. I met another Israeli (who initially pretended to be Cuban!) in a well-known touristy bar in Berlin and he said I was confusing the words for brother and soldier!), he looked bemused and made his excuses.

Anyway, now that I’ve got some free time again, I think it might be time for a beer this evening!

7. Blonde at Heart - September 4, 2006

I like going to the cinema by myself. Usually it is to watch films no one wants to watch in the cinematheque, where there are loads of people who go to see films alone. Never tried to go to the “regular” cinema alone.
As for going to pubs alone, I have done it twice. One time was heaven. Just me and the vodka and papers to write my (slightly dizzy) thoughts. The second time was hell. A huge American tried to flirt with me. Yikes. Even the bar-tender tried to flirt with me. Double yikes (he looked OK, but, shouldn’t costumers hit on the bar-tender and not vice-versa?). The second time I was actually waiting for a friend. I was so happy to see him.

8. BiB - September 4, 2006

That sounds wonderful, that the bar-staff flirted with you in a break with mores.

Actually, I haven’t done a solo cinema evening for ages. Now that the Russian is away again, perhaps I should revive the tradition.

9. Blonde at Heart - September 5, 2006

Try to get it, if not, I will try to pass it to you in some way. Ivry lider, a very popular singer in Israel (and gay) did for a soundtrack of a new film Gershwin’s “The Man I Love”. It is absolutely marvelous (what with the gay layer which adds something extra to it). Do try. If you are not successful, leave a comment on my blog.

10. BiB - September 5, 2006

I’ve found it and am listening to it right now via his website: http://www.ivrilider.com/english/. Hurrah for the internet! And thank you for pointing it out.

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