I WENT to the moon on Saturday. Just for a few minutes.
It was that kind of day. I couldn’t have lingered if I’d wanted. Paris was calling for an afternoon rendezvous.
Sunday was equally hectic. From Spain to Mexico by mid-afternoon and just time to squeeze in a Polar expedition before supper.
I travelled swiftly through space, time and history thanks to other people’s imaginations.
And when it all stopped, I felt curiously bereft. Monday I came down to earth – and work – with a bump.
The man sitting behind me on Sunday night probably had it about right.
“I’ve taken the week off work and aim to see as many as I can.”
You’ve guessed it, we are talking films here. And be warned. I’m willing to reel on and on.
I’ve always been a film devotee so when a friend dropped in a brochure for Holmfirth Film Festival asking was there anything I wanted to see, I knew I was in trouble.
What would I not want to see? It felt like “Here’s your starter for 10”. There was a challenge coming on.
My absolute must was The Great White Silence, Herbert Ponting’s 1924 documentary about Captain Scott’s doomed race to the Antarctic South Pole. Check my bookcase and next to Shackleton and Thesiger, you’ll find Robert Falcon Scott. No brainer this one then.
And I can make an equal case for peering into The Mexican Suitcase.
In the late Eighties, one of my weekly jobs as a junior reporter was to trawl through Examiner archives and write a few paragraphs from 50 and 25 years ago.
Instead of concentrating on the doings of the great, and also the not so good, of Huddersfield, I found myself being ambushed week in week out by horrifying reports about the Spanish Civil War.
I was bursting with questions about it but this was a tragedy that no-one at home, particularly my grandparents, wanted to talk about. What to me was history fresh off the pages of my own newspaper was all too real in their memories.
So I just had to lift the lid of The Mexican Suitcase to learn more about the Spanish Civil War.
My first festival outing though was a long shot. An irresistible invitation to share Le Voyage Dans La Lune, the cinema’s first science fiction film.
If only NASA had listened. A century ago, French film-maker Georges Melies had the journey timed to perfection. A trip to the moon, sir? Certainly sir.
No there’s no training or special kit. Come as you are. And the travelling time? Fourteen minutes.
Mind, the return trip could be quicker as that’s down to a quick shove off the moon’s rockiest cliff – and a piece of string.
It was glorious stuff. Early on a Saturday afternoon, the Picturedrome in Holmfirth was packed, mainly with families, and off we went.
It was a wizard journey full of character and charm as a group of French astronomers did the impossible and put a rocket through the eye of the moon.
The festival organisers followed that with Martin Scorsese’s enchanting film, Hugo. I was in heaven.
It was a perfect pairing. Scorsese’s obvious passion for the wonders of early cinema and film restoration are used winningly in Hugo which is no more or less than a fable for the power of film to win hearts and change lives.
And the way the movie echoes Melies’ pioneering work in 1902 says much about the ghosts of early film who continue to provide the key to the creativity which is at the heart of all modern film.
You can tell, I was, by now, on a roll.