Michael Heath

Diary - 28 December 2002

The Spectator's resident cartoonist displays an unusual form of musophobia and fights the lonely fight against the Christmas blockbuster

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This is the first Christmas in recent years that I haven't spent in traction or immobilised by glandular fever. You may imagine that I spend my days drawing and whistling in a carefree manner, but there are tears behind the laughter. Two Christmases ago I was invited to the Erotic Review party in a club in London's Soho. I had worked for the magazine doing dodgy drawings at fifty quid a pop, so they owed me a drink. Besides, I was eager to meet the Erotic staff who, I felt sure, writhed around all day on their laptops sans knickers and headaches. I found the club, walked in and was unable to see anything except a bar, far off in the distance, full of decadent, half-naked women and helpless men being used as sex objects. I leered towards them but found myself in midair, having missed the staircase. Then I landed on the dance floor and broke my feet. Not very sexy. I lay there in the dark, thud-thud music banging away in the background. I was panic-stricken. How was I going to get up the missed staircase and out into the street again?

I suppose everyone thought I was drunk. I was not. A girl came over: was I all right? 'No, I've broken my feet. Get me some vodka.' After downing two large, anaesthetising vodkas, I stood up and walked out. This was the worst thing I could have done and I spent the rest of the evening in the casualty dept of UCHL. Eight months later, I could walk without crutches. My football-playing days are over, but that's OK as I've never played football.

I have put up a tragic, one-man fight against blockbuster movies. Quite apart from the environment they have to be watched in - people eating mountains of popcorn, walking about, talking on the phone - I find the amount of money spent on hyping these beefburger films unbelievably depressing. I first put my foot down in a serious way by refusing to see Titanic, and have also managed to stay away from Gladiator and Star Wars one, two and three with all that dopey John Williams music. The millions who go to see this gunk couldn't be dragged into Cocteau's La Belle et la b