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There are too many sub-plots at the movies

IF YOU like darkness, loudness and hugeness, you must love a night at the pictures.

Glaswegians certainly did, and doubtless still do. Indeed, Glasgow, it says here, was once known as "cinema city".

According to the Sunday Herald, in the 1930s the controversial urban expanse had more cinemas per cranium than anywhere outside America.

No wonder. It's a place to forget your worries. Or at least it was. The Glasgow Film Theatre is launching a history project in which volunteers will harvest local memories about cinema-going experiences during the 20th century.

Here's one they've already gathered, from the minors' Saturday matinees at the Olympia Cinema, Bridgeton, in the 1950s: "You got a present if it was a birthday … all the boys used to pretend it was their birthday."

I am shocked. My thesis was going to be that crime and the cinema was a modern phenomenon. But it seems the two have long been linked.

It's why I no longer go. Although I disapprove of most forms of social activity, I dislike anti-social behaviour too and, living an arguably sheltered life, the cinema is where I've experienced it most.

I had a boiled sweet thrown at my head in Norwich. Not many of you can say that.

You do say, however: "We've all had boiled sweets thrown at our heads. Get over it. Move on."

But I cannot. The incident still haunts me daily. I boo Norwich's football team whenever they come on Match Of The Day.

At the cinema, neds are attracted to me like a magnet. As the lights go down, just when I think I'm going to get away it, in they come. Texting.

The only empty seats are usually next to me and, without even asking my permission, they just take them.

I may have mentioned before, several times, that they tittered at Treebeard during one of the Hobbit films. I am not a violent man but, on that evening, I came close, I tell you.

Let me recap other major incidents I've faced at the cinema.

I told a ned behind me to can it and he called me "beardie". The worst of it was that my then uber-liberal burd took the ned's side.

She didn't have to say "Shut up, beardie" as well. Humiliating.

That was at a biopic of JM Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, so you're not safe at any movie really.

You'd probably be safe at the GFT, being an arthouse cinema. However, even there, you run the risk of an individual in peculiar spectacles loudly explaining the film's subtler points.

Again, I'm prompted to recall the time I attended an Edinburgh arthouse joint to see The Eternal Sunstroke of the Spotty Mind, I believe it was called.

The film was ruined for many people by a drunk man snoring all the way through it. Alas, that drunk man was me. Years later, I saw the film a second time, but enjoyed it much better the first time.

Something about the cinema makes me doze off. I know: it's the whisky I smuggle in. No, it's the warm, cosy darkness: so reminiscent of the womb.

Once, at a small rural cinema, I was dragooned into watching a chick-lit adaptation about this lass who goes to Iberia to write a novel but spends all her time getting off with Spanish waiters.

I nodded off pretty promptly, but so did the only other male, at the other end of our row. Somebody said we looked like a couple of comatose bookends.

I had my revenge by taking that same sci-fi-hating partner to a Star Wars film in the city. I'd looked forward to it for ages.

However, fortified by a vat of wine and a heavy meal, I slept through it in its entirety, right from the lights going down. Three hours she had to watch on her own.

With such anti-social behaviour so prevalent, the cinema isn't for me. True, I'm tempted by the forthcoming X-Men movie and by Disney's Maleficent. But I'll wait till the Blu-rays come out.

At least, in the privacy of my own home, my head remains unmolested by confectionary.

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