Last week, I saw the final installment of the ‘Harry Potter’ series. To say that the movies have been something of a big deal is like saying that the Titanic had some teething problems. I enjoyed it immensely, although my nephew Brodie was keen to identify the differences between the movie and the book that underpins it. Apparently, there are heaps. It’s fair to say that the movie may disappoint die hard fans, not least for the conspicuous absence of Bruce Willis.
Last week, I saw the final installment of the ‘Harry Potter’ series. To say that the movies have been something of a big deal is like saying that the Titanic had some teething problems. I enjoyed it immensely, although my nephew Brodie was keen to identify the differences between the movie and the book that underpins it. Apparently, there are heaps. Certainly enough to occupy the time it takes to drive from Knox Shopping Town to Narre Warren. It’s fair to say that the movie may disappoint die hard fans, not least for the conspicuous absence of Bruce Willis. That said, Alan Rickman is all over it, so perhaps that’s some consolation.
At the time of the original movie, my nephews were small enough to sit on my lap. This time around, they drove to the cinema. Well, not quite, but they’re well past sitting on anyone’s lap by now. I’ve seen the occasional Potter film and, so far as I can tell, they all lead to a battle between good and evil. This, I feel, falls under the heading of ‘give the people what they want’ rather than, say, a ‘Crying Game’ style twist that will make you fall from your chair. (Although, to be honest, that would be amazing.)
I confess that I am yet to read a word of the boy wizard’s adventures. This, I am sure, makes me one of only three people in all of Western Civilization who remain immune to the literary charms of the juggernaut that is JK Rowling. It’s not by design – I have absolutely nothing against her. I simply haven’t read any of her books. This means that I am uniquely unqualified in an area of prime cultural importance. A complete social dunce, if you will. An absolute certified pariah in our great global village. In metaphorical terms, I am a castaway on a lonely island, totally cut off from the continents of humanity. For all intents and purposes, I might as well reside on another planet. It is for this reason that small talk with me can be like pulling teeth. Indeed, this general sense of cluelessness has been directly responsible for the death of more dinner party conversations than is polite to mention. For, in truth, my ignorance of Harry Potter is far from the only example of this self-imposed social exile.
I suppose I could characterize my failure to read Potter’s adventures as being the result of a refined literary palate and that I would never lower myself to slum it with the Hogwarts crew, but that would be a big, fat, dirty lie. Indeed, were I to assert that my lack of familiarity with Harry Potter and friends is a result of being up to my armpits in Foucault, Balzac and whichever other French malcontent ever put pen to paper in between sparking up a Gitane and necking a bottle of exotic plonk, my nose would most certainly be pressed up against the computer screen by now. The fact is that absolutely nothing (and really mean nothing) is beneath me.
Put simply, anyone who watched the first three series of ‘Big Brother’ cannot sit astride the cultural high horse and look down on anyone.
It’s not just Potter either. I am yet to read a book by Dan Brown, listen to an album by Lady Gaga, create a facebook page or watch an episode of Glee. I’m not sure what the current criteria for being Amish is right now, but I am reasonably certain that I tick a lot of the boxes. In fact, I’m pretty much on the cusp of rejecting zippers and Velcro. Only the fact that I am completely and utterly useless in terms barn-raising prevents me from having to nominate ‘other’ in terms of my religion on the next census.
There can be no reasonable excuse for being quite so disconnected. All I can say for myself is that I simply never got around to doing all the things I ought. Frankly, I’m the first to admit that I can never really consider myself to be a well-rounded individual if I don’t first gorge myself on every cultural treat that’s available.
It’s time to make amends. From now on, I’ll speak of the Twitterverse as though it was something real and important and not just something that under-employed comedians do. I will treat the idea of an ‘everyday rewards card’ with the respect it deserves and even give it a ‘top up’ amount to compensate for the fact that they suck like a nuclear powered Hoover. Finally, I will start sending text messages on a regular basis, ending all of them with ‘OMG’.
But to make my bid to be a better, more modern (less Amish) human being complete, I should begin with a simple apology. To Harry Potter, I am sorry. From this point on, I shall devote all my energy to ensuring that the Quidditch is finally recognized as an Olympic Sport. I’ll overlook the fact that the love story sub-plot between Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley is the most improbable love affair since Mr Snuffalufagus sent Big Bird a Valentine’s Day card. I’ll keep my thoughts to myself about whether the entire battle between good and evil might have been wrapped up a lot quicker had Potter put down that crooked looking wand and traded it in for an AK47 assault rifle. What a different film it might have been if Lord Voldemort – with his strange 1970s rock star nose – had been summoning up the forces of evil, only to find Harry Potter coming over the horizon in a Black Hawk helicopter. Had that been the case, though, there’s every chance I would have shown some interest a lot sooner.