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MARTEL MAXWELL: A midweek trip to the cinema is my way of raging against the machine

A night at the cinema: a proper midweek treat. Photo: Shutterstock.
A night at the cinema: a proper midweek treat. Photo: Shutterstock.

Sometimes routine is everything. It helps you get up, look forward and achieve – no matter how small the success.

And sometimes, the thought of a whole week of the same old schtick – waking, dressing, working, school pick-ups, rushing, bribing a kids to do homework, worrying and so on and on – is too much to bear.

And so, on Monday I decided to throw caution to the wind.

When the school bell rang for home time, I was waiting in the playground.

“Do you have a snack mummy?” The youngest said he could eat a donkey.

“You always have a snack,” they whined as I drove in silence.

They changed their tune when I pulled up at the cinema.

“On a Monday? No way. You’re the best!”

Granted, Camperdown Cineworld is hardly rock n roll but, what is these days?

Even if you didn’t have the responsibility of children, work, a mortgage or rent we have all been constrained into a one-size-fits-all model of mask wearing and cancelled plans.

We are all hamstrung to various degrees and if raging against the machine that is Monday means a surprise trip to the cinema, count me in.

Kids made the most of the novelty night out

Sensing this chilled-out me was but a temporary state of madness, they rinsed me while they could and the ticket counter was a blur of popcorn, hotdogs, fizzy drinks and squeals of delight.

Of course, there was only one option for our movie of choice – the much-anticipated and long-awaited Sing 2.

No spoilers here but I’ll tell you this much: it is brilliant and I slightly fancied aging pop star Clay Calloway (it’s an animated film and he is a lion).

Martel Maxwell’s kids at the cinema.

As I looked along the row of seats at my boys, faces flickering red and white beneath the screen, my heart swelled.

These are the moments they will remember.

And suddenly my own cinematic moments came to mind – a fuzzy, early memory of seeing ET with a great aunt and uncle…the Abyss in the Old Vic, filled with smokers and smoke when I was an early teen accompanied by a nerve-wracking kiss with the man who – 20 years later – I would marry.

Dundee has seen the closure of cinemas that were close to our hearts and home to many memories. But some survive in spite of nigh-on impossible conditions.

If you’re anxious about crowds, rest assured the cinema was less than a tenth full when we visited. Steering clear of busy times, like weekends, helps.

The experience was just as magical for my kids as it was when my generation started cinema-going.

And I love that while so much has changed some simple pleasures remain the same.

Maybe I’m a mushroom after all

I was most confused by the messages I started receiving on Twitter a couple of weeks ago.

“Is it you?,” asked one.

“Take it off, take it off,” demanded another. And “You’re mushroom, aren’t you?”

It was utter gobbledygook until I clicked on the site and discovered they were talking about ITV1 show The Masked Singer.

Joel Dommett, Mo Gilligan, Davina McCall, Rita Ora and Jonathan Ross – but no Martel Maxwell – in The Masked Singer.

It’s a kooky concept, where well known faces cover up with a mask and outlandish outfit (on this series there’s a mushroom, a firework, a stack of donuts and a traffic cone among others), then sing songs for a panel of famous judges to guess who it is.

I know, if I read that blurb I wouldn’t be cancelling anything to stay in and watch it either.

But it’s compelling, fun and something the whole family can watch and enjoy.

I was flattered anyone would think I’d be in the mix to be chosen – and especially that I was the mushroom who could fair belt out a song.

But believe it they did. Someone even sent me a link to show the speculation had made the national newspapers.

On that note, I think mushroom is still in the competition and hasn’t yet come in with the fewest public votes, meaning she has to reveal her identity.

So maybe I’m double bluffing. Maybe I’m moonlighting on Saturday nights and I am a mushroom after all.

Weathering the latest storm

The recent storms have left many a window in Dundee rattling at night.

Fallen trees near Forfar after Storm Malik. Photo: Graham Brown/DCT Media

But spare a thought for those who had their power cut off – and in some cases just weeks after the last storm left them without heating or light.

It’s an inconvenience for everyone but for some, having no power can be life-threatening.

Some live remotely and are at the end of the line for repairs. Others with mobility problems get through stumbles down pitch black stairs by sheer luck.

Hopefully this spell of weather is not as bad as last time and no one is left in the dark for days on end.

MARTEL MAXWELL: So long Night Fever, roll on our next visit to V&A Dundee