Duke’s Diary - January 21, 2012

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This column could cause you harm!

Warning. The following article contains elements of flash photography and items which may cause offence.

Obviously I’m not being entirely truthful here (which may cause offence) – there’s not really that much flash photography. Actually there’s none. But I felt I’d better warn you just in case that whist you were reading it, somebody passed close by and took a picture using flash photography which caused you so much discomfort you decided to sue me using one of those no win-no pay solicitors who advertise on television in between the news bulletins which are peppered with so many warnings about flash photography and other dangers I’m surprised anyone is left watching them.

The warnings I like best are the ones preceding films on Sky putting us on our guard for violence, bloodshed, strobe lights and “scenes of a sexual nature.” Nothing is more guaranteed to keep my attention – though I’m often inclined to complain afterwards because there’s not enough of any of the above actually featured.

Cinemas have started putting warnings on their film listings. Try your hand at guessing which films these are describing (a) Contains moderate action violence (b) Contains real images of moderate violence, injury detail and brief nudity (c) Contains infrequent moderate battle violence and (d) Contains moderate physical and psychological threat and brief medical gore.

Given up? Well, they are (a) Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol, (b) The Iron Lady (c) War Horse and (d) Contagion.

I don’t know about you but the thought of even “brief nudity” in the Margaret Thatcher film The Iron Lady put me right off it – even if the thought of watching some of the things she did to the country and its industrial heritage hadn’t already made me avoid it like the plague.

Fylde Film Society seemed to be hedging its bets describing next Monday’s screening of How I Ended The Summer as “contains infrequent strong language and moderate threat” before adding “everyone’s welcome!” complete with their exclamation mark. What is “moderate threat” anyway? Is it like “moderate battle violence”? I’ve never actually taken part in a battle but I’d hazard a guess that they aren’t actually all that “moderate”.

We aren’t immune to warnings at work either. At the foot of our main staircase is “nice shoes – don’t fall head over heels” complete with the picture of a woman wearing shoes she’d be lucky to walk in let alone climb or descend stairs in.

The thing is though it’s at the bottom of the stairs – ideal reading for anyone who has just tumbled down them trying to read it at a distance.

To get to our Christmas party we had to pass various posters warning of the perils (and legal consequences) of drinking and driving. All very sensible of course but there was still an element of party pooping about them. I thought about putting second copies of them all next to the originals so that everyone thought they’d drunk themselves into double vision. But I didn’t. I just had a sickly sweet soft drink and went home to a welcoming whisky.

The sort of warning notice I’d like to see is “Be very wary of anyone ruling a major country such as North Korea with a hairstyle like Kim Jong-un”; “Do not trust anyone who even pretends to sound convincing when saying we are all in this together” and “Just because fracking is a word which always brings a smirk to our smutty faces do not believe anyone who says it won’t cause your walls to shake next time they do it.”