Recently I went to see a Dr Who movie at the cinema. It might actually be called Doctor Who. I’m not really sure and that was part of the problem.
I went to see it because I had never been to see a movie at the British Film Institute in London and I quite fancied collecting that experience. There was a chat on Twitter about it and I like Dr/Doctor Who, so I thought I’d give it a bash.
When I say ‘I like Dr Who’ I really mean that. I settle down to watch it with my wife and some Pringles on Saturday nights. If we miss an episode life goes on. My wife and I have an informal arrangement that if I meet one of the assistants in real life I am allowed to marry them. I can’t name episodes or characters and I don’t watch spin offs or get magazines.
If Dr Who were to clash with Spurs playing or Wales in the rugby – no contest. I’m watching sport.
So I turned up at the cinema and saw the following things
– An unruly crowd, turning ugly at the prospect of not being able to get their tickets quickly enough to catch the movie
-a grown man swearing loudly and repeatedly, after he had failed to persuade someone that I couldn’t recognise to give him an autograph
-almost everyone except me had a uniform. For some this was explicit, tshirt or long scarves – for others it was more a subtle uniform that meant you could pick them out as a type
I thought ‘it’s OK, watch the movie and scarper. You don’t belong here’.
I settled down in my seat and then an hour long panel discussion on ‘Dr Who the wilderness years’ started . People whooped and cheered at the group on stage. I had no clue who they were.
At this point I switched my people watching mode on and noticed a few things
– I saw these people as sad lonely Sci Fi outcasts with a minority passion. In fact I was the outsider who didn’t belong
-their passion was genuine and their enthusiasm wonderful to watch. It reflected badly on me that I was so cynical about it.
– I resented being the outsider. That was what was leading to my sneering and unfair judgement. I felt out of place in the environment and was desperately reaching for some kind of superiority to justify it
I’m not saying all this translates straight back to work – but it was a magnified version of what happens in life. We dismiss that which we don’t feel part of.
I put my preconceptions to one side and listened to the panel debate. I enjoyed it. Then I watched the film. I enjoyed it. Then they announced another panel debate and I thought this is getting ridiculous and left.
A glimpse into someone else’s world is intriguing, educating and energising. It doesn’t mean you need to live there but it does mean you are more likely to appreciate it.
PS – Now with added Simon Heath genius