Gertrude’s Diary #27 – Truly, Madly… badly

Gertrude's Diary

It has been an entertaining month in Gertrude-world. As well as the burlesque circus that is Insatiable Banalities and it”s big brother, The Backyard Backanalia, I saw Norman Gunston interviewing Frank Zappa on the ABC”s 50 Year special, which is my idea of the perfect TV moment and I now have no need to ever watch TV again. Unless they repeat the Gunston and Zappa thing.

Another highlight on the entertainment horizon this month was the screening of Truly Madly Deeply at Electric Shadows. Electric Shadows, Canberra”s one and only source of “art-house” movies is closing shortly to make way for a bigger, better, Dendy cinema inside the hideous monstrosity that is the Canberra Centre. I”ve always had a fondness for Electric Shadows, with it”s excellent bookshop and adjacent caf”, and Truly Madly Deeply is my favourite movie ever.

It was a bitter night (that was the week we had snow), and so I was wrapped in a large black shawl, perfect for concealing a bag of illicit popcorn and a box of tissues. My companion, the dear Kandy Aye, laughed when I accidentally dropped the box of tissues as we stood at the Candy Bar to purchase the obligatory choc-top, but I knew he”d be thanking me later. Truly Madly Deeply is a movie of charming simplicity that skilfully navigates a sometimes light-hearted, often moving and always truthful path through the themes of love and loss. To be concise, it”s a romantic comedy. But a superior British one with Shakespearean actors.

We seated ourselves comfortably in the nearly empty theatre, and chatted amicably through the Val Morgan advertising. The moment arrived. With a bit of silence and the curtains shifting a little, the opening music started, but the lights were still on. There was some discontented muttering from the audience, building to one or two calls of “lights!” and about 30 seconds into the movie the lights went off. Not quite the silent attention with which to immerse oneself in the opening scenes of one”s favourite movie, but never mind.

As Nina talks in moving detail about her lover Jamie over scenes of her walking alone through the streets of Highgate, the picture was suddenly washed out to grey and there was some frantic movement behind us in the projectionists room. More mutters from the audience before the proper contrast was restored. Hmmm. “Is it a work-experience projectionist they have this evening” I wondered. Reassuring myself that there would surely be no more distractions, I settled in for the important moment in Nina”s dialogue with her therapist when we learn that Jamie has been dead for some months.

But no. Moments later there was a crash and the picture and the sound died completely, accompanied by laughter from the audience. Drunk, I decided. The projectionist must definitely be drunk. This mishap took a little longer to rectify. The lights came on again and KA and I talked about what a great, world-class city Canberra is and how sad we are that dear, old Electric Shadows is closing down.

Thankfully, once picture and sound were again restored the rest of the movie passed without incident, with much resort to the box of tissues ” KA just as much, if not more than I. He was still sniffing and dabbing his eyes as we left the theatre and made our way to the car. Even a hapless projectionist can”t dull the effects of romantic comedy. It”s strong stuff.

Whatever you”re watching may it be enjoyable. Try to avoid too many Christmas specials and you should be right.


Portions of this tract are completely fabricated, and the vast majority of the piece referring to Mr Kandy A wrongfully attribute some eye dampness and nasal discharge to romantic comedy exposure. This proposition is considered libelous, and maliciously defamatory, as the plaintiff was suffering at the time from an unspecified respiratory illness, and any sobbing that you cite as supportive to your premise can be attributed to self-reflective realization, and contemplation of the personal circumstances found, which involved the aggrieved being seated next to yourself at the showing of a film already acknowledged as a romantic comedy.

I will await your pertinent response before referring you to my legal counsel for redress.

Kandy A

(the Plaintiff)


Dear Mr A,

Your accusation of slander is a tissue of lies. But then, you’re very familiar with tissues, aren’t you?


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