Last night I paid 13 pound 50 for the privilege of sleeping for 160 minutes at the BFI IMAX in Waterloo, the largest cinema screen in the UK.

I seldom go to the cinema because as much as I love films, my attention span does not allow me to concentrate for longer than about 45 minutes. As a result, there are dozens of films I have only watched halfway.

But last night had to be different, I thought. I was really looking forward to seeing Watchmen, there was a fun group of ten of us going, and I had taken all the necessary precautions to be awake and alert:

  • I went to work early, left early and went home for a short nap (which turned out to be just a lie down and a rest, but that’s good enough);
  • I ate a light dinner before leaving, to avoid stocking up on popcorn/nachos/similar sleep-inducing crap;
  • I did not drink alcohol before the show;
  • I took two caffeine pills half an hour before the start (my first intake of caffeine for several months), and a third one just as we entered the theatre; and
  • I took off my coat not to be too hot.

So I sat down, watched the trailers, watched the first scene, and as the opening credits started rolling, I thought ‘wouldn’t it be funny if I fell asleep before the film even star… Zzzzzzz z z z’.

Funny indeed.

I woke up 2 hours and 40 minutes later when the lights came up and people were starting to leave, with the disappointing feeling I had just seen a very sleek (and short) music clip. At six pounds seventy-five per minute.

It breaks my heart to say this, but it will be a while before I dare entering a theatre again.