A lot happened yesterday. It was a good day, a day of genuine happiness. I handed in my notice at work. So, up until two pm yesterday, i worked for Costa Coffee, something I tried to avoid telling people. Not that I was ashamed of the job, I didn’t think it was beneath me or anything, I just reckoned people expected something more from me. I know I did. I expected more of me.
Amazingly, my last week of work coincides with the week-long holiday I am owed by the company. So that’s it. I’m done. Yesterday was my last day of physically working in Costa, and although I’m still technically employed by them for this week, I never have to wear that shirt again. And I’ll miss my colleagues, my fellow coffee warriors, because I made friends there.
It also proved to me that I can work as a tiny underappreciated cog in a giant corporate machine and not lose the will to live. Yes, I had fun, but at the end of the day it was a means to an end, and that’s okay. And I make a fucking good coffee.
Anyway. Moving on.
I went to see The Theory of Everything on Tuesday night. Not my choice of viewing, but Mum was paying for the tickets, so I obliged. At the end of the film, she turned to me and asked:
“Did you cry?”
Now, it must be noted that I am an emotional wreck when it comes to watching films. I cry at them a lot. Green Mile – acceptable. Aladdin – okay, if you’re feeling delicate. Step Up 2 – absofuckinglutely not. And yet, I did. There’s something wrong with me. I cry like a serial lemon-slicer. But not this one. I wanted more science, less love.
The film centred around the relationship between Hawking and his then-wife, Jane. Yes it was sweet. Yes, it ticked all the emotional boxes – overcoming adversity, love despite everything, children, bad floral print dresses – but it felt like an obituary. And correct me if I’m wrong, but the man is very much alive.
The little glimpses that we got of Hawking’s amazing intelligence were not enough for me. The production company (whichever one it was, it really doesn’t make a difference) had the chance to cinematise the amazing workings of an extraordinary human brain, to present ideas to the general public in a way that wasn’t dull or dumbed down, to make a film about life, the universe and everything, and they made another love story. And I appreciate the love story happened, and that yes, it must have been difficult, but it is a little fucking patronising to say to the public – here is an incredible man, now feel sorry for him. Because apparently that’s the only way we can understand Stephen Hawking. If we can feel sorry for his wife.
Whether you agree with his theories or not (and I don’t know enough about them to know where I stand) you have to acknowledge the fact of his brilliant intelligence. And if you don’t want to do that, look at the biological defiance of medical diagnosis. He was given two years to live whilst at uni, and he’s still alive and still writing and still thinking and what an amazing thing that is. Never mind the romance. Never mind whether or not he believes in God (another main theme of the film – who cares?!). What about the mindblowing tenacity of the human brain/mind? Fuck the sob story, give me some science, some spirit, some kind of appreciation for the amazing creations that human beings are. And we are.
It’s an Oscar film. Eddie Redmayne was, admittedly, brilliant as Hawking, and he will probably win an award or twelve. But it’s a surety. An actor does a decent portrayal of someone with a physical disability, they’re going to win something. It would have really cemented his victory is Hawking had also been black and gay. Not that film awards are predictable, of course. It’s anyone’s game. Just like elections.
And with that, I’m done for the day. It’s half one, I’m on a train to Southampton for a week away from everything. That’s the theory, anyway.