Pictorial blethers

By blethers

Downtown ...

A change from my usual fare of rustic vistas ... this is downtown Dunoon, a photo taken from just outside Morrison's supermarket. The blue warehouse-type building is the Studio Cinema - not, as you might think, a small specialist cinema catering for the more out-of-the-way tastes, but the only cinema between Greenock and ... I don't know where. Oban? Actually, it houses two screens; the smaller venue is marginally larger than a decent-sized room.

I go there occasionally, though every time I do go I recall the time I went to see The Bridges of Madison County - remember that movie? Meryl Streep? Anyway, it begins in a kitchen, with family members discussing their mother (Meryl S) and her wayward behaviour. A faint rumbling noise added, I thought, to the familiar domesticity - perhaps a tumble dryer? And then we moved to another scene, another time. The camera moved in on a bridge in the countryside - one of the eponymous bridges. Birds sang. And it was still there: that faint rumbling noise. It belonged, it seemed, to the projection mechanism of the cinema. And then there was the time that I'd to go out to the desk to ask someone to turn up the sound as my (slightly deaf) companion couldn't hear a word ...

The walls used to be lined in pleated gold silk material ( I can't think if it's still there) which over the years became impregnated with the smoke of the cinema audiences of the past (remember watching films through a blue haze and going home stinking like an ash-tray?). And in these days it was full of a Friday evening ... But the last time I was there, almost a year ago, it was to the small cinema. I was with a friend. When we sat down, we were the only people there. Two minutes before the lights dimmed, a couple came in and sat further back. And that was that. The programme played to an audience of four.

And to finish this absurd piece of local history: when I first moved to Dunoon, in the mid-70s, there was a proper cinema in Argyll Street. It was called the La Scala, and it had a balcony and red plush seats which had springs sticking up through them and - in some cases - a distinct slope forwards. It's now Mackay's shop.

I love a big cinema. I love big sound. I love reclining in comfort to watch a movie. And if the seat vibrates when I'm flying a Spitfire, that's good too. Other than that, however, I'd rather stay home with the telly ...

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