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Compromise, or How We Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Movie Night

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"You're going over to Beverley's tonight, right?" Nightingale asked me. We'd just gotten back from Birmingham - yes, magic sometimes happens in Birmingham, I was surprised too - and it had been a long day.

"Oh, right, I was," I said. Putney seemed like a long way away right now. "When I can find the energy to stand up again."

"You should, you haven't seen her since last week," said Nightingale. I do not ask how he and Beverley communicate about these things. It's weird enough that they do.

"No, I want to, don't get me wrong," I said. I felt my mobile vibrate in my pocket. "Hold on."

It was Beverley, but it wasn't good news, which Nightingale easily read in my face. "Something wrong?"

"Lesley's in town," I said. "I'm still invited over to watch a movie, though."

That actually was about all I did have the energy for, but I wasn't sure I had the energy to drive to Beverley's to see her and Lesley. Lesley and I are friends again, basically, which is helpful when you're seeing the same person, but I'm not dating her. And, you know. The taser thing.

Sometimes I wonder what the me of ten years ago or so would have thought of this situation, and then I remember that Pratchett quote about the road to being you now going through being an idiot before, so I stop wondering.

"That hasn't happened for a while," said Nightingale. Despite the fact that he’s not actually going to try and arrest her anytime soon, Nightingale and Lesley absolutely do not get on. Everybody involved in the overly complicated diagram that is my love life - do not ask what my mother thinks of it - conspires to make sure they're never in a room alone together. So far it's worked.

"No, it hasn't," I said. "Trying to decide what I'm going to tell Bev."

"There's no reason they couldn't come over here," Nightingale said; I sat up just to look at him disbelievingly. "We have a television."

"Uh," I said. "Thomas. Are you sure that's a good plan?"

"I didn't say I was going to involve myself."

"Don't be ridiculous, we're not kicking you out." I considered this. As a plan, aside from the obvious pitfalls, it had its merits. "Really, are you sure?"

"Honestly, Peter," he said. "We're all adults. Establish a few ground rules and it'll be fine. Besides - one or both of them might not want to."

"Okay," I said, typing on my phone, "but I'm blaming you."

"And I'm not suggesting it as a regular thing," he added hastily; yeah, there was no way he wanted Lesley back in the grounds of the Folly, even outside the actual building, regularly. "But this once. Why not?"

"Famous last words," I said. My phone buzzed. "Too late to take it back; they're coming over."


  1. No magic

  2. No phones

  3. No picking a movie you know somebody else hates

  4. No picking a snack you know somebody else hates

  5. No needlessly pointed comments

  6. No death glares

  7. No running commentary

  8. No complaining about historical accuracy

  9. No complaining about scientific accuracy

  10. Not limited to but especially including accuracy about the laws of physics

  11. No complaining about police procedure

  12. Especially when it’s not even set in the UK, do you lot even know anything about American law

  13. No complaining about environmental accuracy

  14. No putting anything in anybody's drink

  15. No joking about putting anything in anybody’s drink

  16. No more than two drinks per person, because that got weird

  17. No talking about the time it got weird

  18. No debating conspiracy theories

  19. No debating time travel

  20. No sci-fi for more than two nights in a row

  21. No romcoms

  22. Seriously, no romcoms

  23. No movies where the dog dies

  24. The person who chooses the movie is responsible for verifying whether the dog dies

  25. There’s a website for that, I’ll show you later

  26. There’s a website for a lot of things these days

  27. No movies older than fifty years

  28. Movies older than fifty years are allowed but only if they're shorter than three hours

  29. No DVD commentaries even if they're shorter than three hours, Peter

  30. No filmed versions of plays, because that's just pointless

  31. Shakespeare doesn't count for rule 30

  32. No period Shakespeare, though

  33. The Baz Luhrmann one is the best Romeo and Juliet, what is your problem

  34. No weird art-house movies

  35. Just because it has subtitles doesn’t mean it’s a weird art-house movie, Lesley

  36. It does have to have subtitles for those of us who don’t speak every language in Europe, Thomas

  37. No commentary on whether you’ve been somewhere the movie is set

  38. No requests to explain foreign customs

  39. That applies to everybody in the room, even if we are watching a Nigerian film

  40. Rule 38 is rescinded

  41. No arguments about Marvel versus DC, because nobody cares, Peter

  42. No debates about which superhero would win even if they’re from the same publishing house, because NOBODY CARES

  43. No debates about whether anybody in this room could beat a given superhero, because very seriously, nobody cares

  44. Of course any of us could take Iron Man, why are you even asking that

  45. No arguments about Star Trek versus Star Wars

  46. Star Trek and Star Wars are not ‘basically the same thing’

  47. No spoilers even if the movie came out before the three of you were born

  48. No pretending you didn’t see the movie in the theatre before we were born just to troll us

  49. No pretending you don’t know what trolling is

  50. No complaining the snacks are too spicy

  51. No adding extra chilli powder to the snacks when nobody’s looking, Beverley

  52. No complaing about book-to-movie adaptations

  53. No more book-to-movie adaptations

  54. Unless nobody’s read the book

  55. No lying about whether you’ve read the book

  56. We don’t believe you forgot, Peter

  57. Running commentary rule exception: when the movie is urban fantasy

  58. No urban fantasy unless everybody is in the mood for a comedy

  59. Of course this is a fucking comedy, did you see those vampires

  60. No more than one Tolkien-based movie an evening

  61. Even if it’s not the extended edition, Peter, there is no way you’re making us watch the extended edition

  62. No director’s cuts if they’re longer than the original movie

  63. No spoilers if you work out who the killer is halfway through the movie

  64. Even if it’s really obvious and you couldn’t help yourself

  65. No explaining how you’d recreate the heist in London in front of the serving police officers in the room

  66. No, not even hypothetically

  67. No, not even if you ARE a police officer

  68. Explaining how you’d do it in other countries is acceptable, fine

  69. No trying to recreate stunts using magic, see rule 1

  70. No trying to recreate stunts without using magic

  71. No doing anything that might require a movie time-out in the blood bin

  72. Because it upsets Molly, that’s why

  73. No upsetting Molly

  74. No falling asleep

  75. No falling asleep on other people

  76. Especially people you’re not dating

  77. No leaving Thomas and Lesley in the room alone together even if they ARE both asleep

  78. And even if there is a surprising lack of explosions


  80. Even if the only person you show them to is Molly

  81. No horror movies if Molly is watching as well

  82. Because she might try to reenact them and I live in the same house as her, that’s why

  83. If you do want to watch this NON-HORROR movie with us, no livetweeting

  84. Yes, all forms of social media are considered covered under ‘livetweeting’

  85. What part of “no phones” wasn’t clear, honestly

  86. Sorry, Molly, we do like having you here

  87. No impressions of movie characters

  88. Even if it’s really quite a good impression

  89. No impressions of other people who are watching this movie with you

  90. Especially if it’s a good impression

  91. No cancelling movie night for pointless reasons

  92. Murder is not a pointless reason

  93. Immediate threats to life and limb are not a pointless reason

  94. No threatening to cause one of the above two to get out of a movie you were outvoted on watching

  95. Having the flu is a pointless reason

  96. Look, we’re all going to get it eventually anyway

  97. If I have to deal with that horrifying thought, so do the rest of you

  98. We’re stopping that train of discussion right there

  99. No trying to explain movie night to other people

  100. It only confuses them.