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Fifty Shades of Grey review: Fear not ladies, Jamie Dornan's there in body if not quite in spirit

In Pictures: Fifty Shades of Grey London premiere Close

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London.

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London.

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(Left - right) Sam Taylor-Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and E L James attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 12, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Fifty. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

(Left - right) Sam Taylor-Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and E L James attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 12, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Fifty. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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Jamelia attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 12, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Fifty. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Jamelia attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 12, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Fifty. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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Eddie Boxshall and Denise Van Outen attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 12, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Fifty. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Eddie Boxshall and Denise Van Outen attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 12, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Fifty. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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Dakota Johnson signs autographs for fans attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 12, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Fifty. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Dakota Johnson signs autographs for fans attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 12, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Fifty. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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Kate Garraway attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 12, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Fifty. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Kate Garraway attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 12, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Fifty. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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(Left - right) Esmee Denters, Steve McCrorie, Lucy O'Bryne and Joe Woolfrod from The Voice UK attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 12, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Fifty. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

(Left - right) Esmee Denters, Steve McCrorie, Lucy O'Bryne and Joe Woolfrod from The Voice UK attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 12, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Fifty. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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British band Vaults pose for photographers ahead of the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in central London on February 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

British band Vaults pose for photographers ahead of the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in central London on February 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

British director Sam Taylor-Johnson (R), British actor Jamie Dornan (2nd R), US actress Dakota Johnson (2nd L) and British author E.L James (L) pose for photographers ahead of the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in central London on February 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

British director Sam Taylor-Johnson (R), British actor Jamie Dornan (2nd R), US actress Dakota Johnson (2nd L) and British author E.L James (L) pose for photographers ahead of the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in central London on February 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

US actress Dakota Johnson (L) is hugged by British author E.L James (R) ahead of the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in central London on February 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

US actress Dakota Johnson (L) is hugged by British author E.L James (R) ahead of the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in central London on February 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

A lone protester holds up a placard as talent arrives for the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in central London on February 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

A lone protester holds up a placard as talent arrives for the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in central London on February 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

A lone protester holds up a placard as talent arrives for the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in central London on February 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

A lone protester holds up a placard as talent arrives for the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in central London on February 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

US actress Dakota Johnson poses for photographers ahead of the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in central London on February 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

US actress Dakota Johnson poses for photographers ahead of the UK Premiere of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in central London on February 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Dakota Johnson attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Dakota Johnson attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Director Sam Taylor-Johnson (L) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Director Sam Taylor-Johnson (L) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  (L-R) Director Sam Taylor-Johnson, actors Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and author E.L. James attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: (L-R) Director Sam Taylor-Johnson, actors Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and author E.L. James attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  (L-R) Esmee Denters, Steve McCrorie, Lucy O'Bryne and Joe Woolfrod from The Voice UK attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: (L-R) Esmee Denters, Steve McCrorie, Lucy O'Bryne and Joe Woolfrod from The Voice UK attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Sadie Frost attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Sadie Frost attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Kate Garraway attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Kate Garraway attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Ashley Roberts attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Ashley Roberts attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Author E. L. James attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Author E. L. James attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Vaults attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Vaults attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Dakota Johnson attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Dakota Johnson attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Dakota Johnson attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Dakota Johnson attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Maria Menounos attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Maria Menounos attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Director Sam Taylor-Johnson (L) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Director Sam Taylor-Johnson (L) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan attend the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Lizzie Cundy attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Lizzie Cundy attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Jamelia attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Jamelia attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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A protester holds a placard as people arrive to watch the film "Fifty Shades of Grey" on its opening day in Los Angeles on February 12, 2015.  "Fifty Shades of Grey", the long-anticipated movie version of the bestselling erotic novel, began its worldwide rollout opening in theatres across France, Germany, Belgium and Serbia, days ahead of its key target territory the United States.          AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTONMARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

A protester holds a placard as people arrive to watch the film "Fifty Shades of Grey" on its opening day in Los Angeles on February 12, 2015. "Fifty Shades of Grey", the long-anticipated movie version of the bestselling erotic novel, began its worldwide rollout opening in theatres across France, Germany, Belgium and Serbia, days ahead of its key target territory the United States. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTONMARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Women pose for photos in front of a poster advertising the movie "Fifty Shades of Grey" on its opening day in Los Angeles on February 12, 2015.  The long-anticipated movie version of the bestselling erotic novel began its worldwide rollout opening in theatres across France, Germany, Belgium and Serbia, days ahead of its key target territory the United States.          AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTONMARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Women pose for photos in front of a poster advertising the movie "Fifty Shades of Grey" on its opening day in Los Angeles on February 12, 2015. The long-anticipated movie version of the bestselling erotic novel began its worldwide rollout opening in theatres across France, Germany, Belgium and Serbia, days ahead of its key target territory the United States. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTONMARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attending the UK premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London.

It's been four years since Fifty Shades of Grey snuck its way into the book collection of millions of otherwise sensible women around the world - and two years since plans for a big screen version were announced.

The book has sold 60 million copies since then, becoming an undeserved but undeniable cultural phenomenon.

Not least, it led to the invention of the term mummy porn, boosted worldwide sales of cable ties, introduced bondage as a perfectly normal topic of conversation and gave us all an impolite interest in Jamie Dornan's manhood.

And now finally it's here in our cinemas - after a drip-feed of sneak peek clips and images over the last year slowly built up to mass hysteria.

If its journey to our screens was an act of foreplay, you could describe it as one long tease.

But is it a tease that ends in a bit of an anti-climax?

As someone who has read all three books in the EL James trilogy, the prospect of watching it in a cinema wasn't one I relished.

It's one thing reading it on a Kindle when no one knows what you're up to, an entirely different matter enjoying it in public.

There's also no getting away from the fact that Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the worst written books I've ever read.

So as I settled for the opening credits at a Press screening yesterday, I wondered if it would be just too excruciating to sit through, despite my best wishes for our Jamie?

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Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey. Photo: Focus Features

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey. Photo: Focus Features

©Focus Features/Courtesy Everet

Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey. Photo: Focus Features

Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey. Photo: Focus Features

© Universal

Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey

Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey

The Fifty Shades Of Grey film has been given an 18 certificate by the BBFC with no cuts (Universal)

The Fifty Shades Of Grey film has been given an 18 certificate by the BBFC with no cuts (Universal)

A scene from Fifty Shades

A scene from Fifty Shades

Anastasia meets Christian's parents in new steamy trailer for Fifty Shades Of Grey aired during Golden Globes

Anastasia meets Christian's parents in new steamy trailer for Fifty Shades Of Grey aired during Golden Globes

© Universal

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey. Photo: Focus Features

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey. Photo: Focus Features

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan star in Fifty Shades Of Grey

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan star in Fifty Shades Of Grey

The Fifty Shades Of Grey movie hints at sadomasochistic themes

The Fifty Shades Of Grey movie hints at sadomasochistic themes

Dakota Johnson plays Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Of Grey

Dakota Johnson plays Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Of Grey

Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades Of Grey (Universal Pictures)

Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades Of Grey (Universal Pictures)

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey. Photo: Focus Features

Or, God forbid, what if I enjoy it too much?

Let's start at the start for the one person in the entire universe who has missed the Fifty Shades hype.

Our Jamie plays the handsome but damaged billionaire Christian Grey who has it all, including a penchant for spanking and whips.

His swanky Seattle pad comes with all the mod cons, including a 'red room of pain', packed to the rafters with paddles, whips, clamps and racks.

Dakota Johnson plays his ingenue Anastasia Steele, a student who interviews him and comes away with a penchant for biting her lip.

There is a romance at the heart of the storyline - but what cinema-goers are wondering is how the director has handled EL James' notorious full-on raunch?

One of the biggest surprises is that Sam Taylor-Johnson has created a beautifully shot movie which has stripped back the cheesy plot and clunky dialogue as much as possible without starting to write a whole new book.

Dakota Johnson's Anatasia is nowhere near as irritating as the original character and doesn't exclaim 'oh my' once.

It's actually quite funny too, with a daffy Dakota delivering some decent punchlines.

But that brings me to two things I can no longer avoid - our Jamie's performance in the bedroom and, of course, the smut.

Anyone going to see this film in the hope of getting hardcore porn might come away a bit disappointed.

Yes, there's a lot of nudity, gasping, arching and mild enough spanking but it's more likely to make you laugh than head to a DIY store.

There's an almost sophisticated treatment of the sex that you wouldn't expect from reading the books.

It's only in the final scenes that the content becomes uncomfortable and very disturbing.

Jamie Dornan is a fine actor but Fifty Shades won't be remembered as his finest moment.

He looks the part, fitting the devastatingly handsome billionaire spec and then some. Anyone going simply to gaze upon the golden torso will go home happy.

His American accent is flawless - but he looks mortified and uncomfortable on more than a few occasions, as if he can't quite believe the dire words tumbling from his mouth.

When he's not whipping, spanking and domineering, he's delivering lingering gazes and intense stares that come straight from the Joey Tribbiani School of Acting.

In the same way EL James didn't win the Pulitzer for Fifty Shades, nor will its film dominate the Oscars. But fans know to point that out is to completely miss the point on why so many women loved these books. And why millions of you are stampeding to the cinema this weekend, oblivious to any criticism.

If you haven't read the books, or hated them, avoid this movie at all costs. If you enjoyed the books, you'll love the film because against the odds, it's actually not bad at all.

It's much better than it deserves to be so get your tickets, get your mates, get a few cocktails down you first and enjoy it for what it is.

Belfast Telegraph