Sunday, 6 March 2016

A Night At The Movies

While I enjoy company, I’m not the kind of person who’s ever felt uncomfortable about going places by myself. Whether it’s a gig, a restaurant or another country, it’s never been a big deal if I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to share the adventure. However, I realised a long time ago, that other people could feel awkward about my solo presence, as if it were a problem that they were expected to fix. This was particularly noticeable in restaurants; when I used to travel for work, I sometimes felt inclined to eat somewhere other than my hotel room. On several occasions, the discomfort of the servers was unmissable. Whether they were unhappy that I was taking up a table that could have accommodated two people or, as I suspect, they were dreading a moment when I would burst into noisy and unhygienic tears at having been stood up, the solicitude of the repeated “Are you all right?” was not conducive to good digestion.

By contrast, the shadowy, half-illusory world of the cinema has no such qualms about opening its doors to visitors, whether they arrive in ones, twos or severals. That, together with the allure of disappearing into another world for a couple of hours has long ensured the popularity of a night at the movies. But are the pics set to become the pastime of a bygone age, as quaint as musical evenings around the family piano or hitting one another with quarterstaffs? With the availability of large screens and movies on demand, do the cinemas offer enough to compete with Netflix (plus optional chill)? Troublingly, my visits to the local cinema often find me the sole viewer for a showing; unless other screenings are filled to capacity, I wonder how long it will be before board meetings take place in which phrases like “economic viability” and “margins on concessions” hover gloomily around the table like harbingers of the theatre’s doom.


Sadly, for many cinemas it is, of course, already too late. In them, we have not only lost access to local movie screenings, but also, in many cases, we have lost beautiful and historical buildings. This was the case with one cinema close to my heart - the lovely art deco Coliseum, which graced the town of Porthmadog, north Wales, since 1931. Since that time, it was a focal point for entertainment in the town, as well as being the venue for the screening rushes of cult TV show The Prisoner, which was filmed in nearby Portmeirion. Despite a spirited campaign - which began shortly after the Coliseum closed in spring 2011 - to restore and refurbish the Coliseum, it was recently confirmed that its demolition would now go ahead.

Alison Raouf
Reactions:

0 comments: