Being as how I’m now back in what we are pleased to call ‘civilisation’ (cue Gandhi on being asked what he thought of Western civilisation saying ‘It would be a good idea’ which is pretty much what I thought of Soviet communism) I have been to the cinema. In Loughborough there is an impossibly cheap picture-house which goes by the name of Curzon and seems to employ only ghost workers, since you get your tickets from a machine and occasionally someone checks them at the door, though on this occasion they didn’t. It reminded me of returning from my first visit to Spain in the early hours of the morning, sweeping through a deserted customs, reclaiming our baggage from a silently swirling baggage carousel and getting into a very quiet taxi to go to our bed and breakfast. On arrival I smiled broadly at the man on the desk and said at a volume suitable for the Costa del Sol, ‘Hello, we’ve booked a room in the name of -‘ He cut me off with an appalled look. ‘Sh!’ he said. It struck me as amusing that the first word anyone spoke to me on landing in Britain was ‘Sh!’
But I digress. At this spectacularly cheap cinema we were privileged to view ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.’ It was great; much lighter than the Harry Potter films (though it had one or two dark moments) and centred on the wizarding community in New York in the 1920’s where the Muggle (or ‘NoMag’) communities seem to be channelling the Puritans of the 17th century. Enter Newt Scamander who, for those paying close attention, is mentioned at least two or three times in the Potter books as the author of the eponymous ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ and his suitcase. The suitcase, like one of Hagrid’s bags concealing some nefarious animal, appears to contain a life-form of some description. Fortunately the case also has a Muggle-worthy button and so gets through customs but his luck doesn’t hold as the beasts get out and cause havoc in New York. I won’t spoil it by saying any more, but it’s a highly entertaining film and Eddie Redmayne is excellent as the Doctor Doolittle of the wizarding world.