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“save our cinema!” – the walthamstow protest

May 19, 2011 17 comments

UCKG crowd already in, Cinema crowd trying to get in...

Last night, I was extremely proud to be part of my community.

For those who don’t know, Waltham Forest is one of only two London Boroughs without a cinema (the other being Lewisham, I believe).  We had a lovely cinema up to 8 years ago.  A beautiful art deco building where the Beatles and the Rolling Stones had played gigs and where Hitchcock had seen films as a boy.  It is a Grade II Listed Building and the last remaining British cinema with its original Christie organ in situ.

However, in 2003, the then EMD owned cinema was in rather a state of disrepair, seemed to have restrictions on films able to be shown, was starting to smell rather heavily of wee and was therefore not as well-frequented (a bit like the Rose & Crown before that got taken over!).  So, it was sold, to the United Church for the Kingdom of God.

Over the years, we have been told various tales of how the building is unsuitable to be re-opened as a cinema, but this has been challenged at every stage of the way.  For the past 8 years, UCKG have petitioned to change the building use to a place of worship.  Plans have even claimed to use the building as ‘a community meeting place’ with an apparent ability to show films.  Are the majority of local people going to go to church to watch The Fast & The Furious 5?

What we're trying to save (box office)

So, 18th May was a huge day for local residents, as it was Decision Day -the planning committee of local councillors was due to hear the arguments from both sides at a public meeting at the Town Hall and reject or accept the planning application from UCKG.

Being a proud member of the E17 ‘Awesomestow’ Twitterati, I had been really happy that so many of us were empassioned by the plight of the cinema, and arranged to meet up to show our support on the night.

When I got there though, there were even more familiar faces than I was expecting – I saw friends I know from the pub, members of my Book Club, neighbours, and even teachers from The Girl’s school.  Being able to mill around, mix in different circles and just recognise familiar faces in a huge crowd made me feel so ‘belonging’.

And there really was a huge crowd.  But from both sides.

With the meeting originally taking place in the Town Hall, the plan was to meet on the Town Hall steps.  However, the veune was changed, and the meeting took place in the nearby Assembly Rooms.  this meant that the ‘Cinema crowd’ were outside the Town Hall, and the UCKG were outside the Assembly Rooms.  And as they had generally had to come from further afield, they had a large crowd very early, which felt quite intimidating.  Our lot WALKED from home generally and arrived in dribs and drabs, slowly forming a HUGE crowd of support, which was incredible.

UCKG crowd assembled when we arrived

But of course, when the doors were opened, all the UCKG were already there, and got in first.  The hall takes over 1,000 people, but we were still left with about 2-300 people (guesstimate) outside, along with a couple of bagpipers, shouting our support through the windows to those within the meeting.  Luckily, the social bar just outside the building opened and helped fuel our morale as we were there for over TWO HOURS chanting, singing, waiting for the decision, and checking our phones and Twitter feeds to find out what was going on inside.

Photo from @essgee91 of inside - all the UCKG stood up and put on hi vis vests 5 mins into proceedings. Cultish?? (That IS an 'L' btw)

And the result was unanimous – 7-0 to reject the planning application.  It was a fantastic result for all involved (from our side of course!) and puts us one step closer to getting our cinema back.

After chanting “Save Our Cinema” for two hours, it was nice to chant “We’ve SAVED our cinema” and then the police moved in to hold us back as the UCKG people came out.Obviously they all had long journeys back home, buses to catch etc and so we were quite happy to shout”We live HERE, where d’YOU live?” for a while – at which point some of them seemed to want to have a dance-off.

Perhaps the greatest moment of the night was about 1,000 people waving “Byeeeeeeeee, cheerio, safe journey…” as they made their way home, and we all went to the pub.

Of course, UCKG still own the building, but there has been a Trust set up to try to raise the money needed to buy it back and refurbish AND the UCKG are extremely guilty of letting a listed building fall into a disgusting state of disrepair.  It has had illegal raves, has been flooded, has been boarded up and covered in scaffolding for years and they have done NOTHING to look after it.

And they must now know how opposed people are locally to yet another church (I believe we have over 230 already!!).

So, the first skirmish has been won – and now the battle proper shall commence.

Other links:

And – last but not least, my favourite response from the UCKG

The Churchy response...

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let me in (and other films)

November 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Let Me In

Yesterday, I went and saw a horror film at the cinema – at 1pm…which felt slightly odd, but in a guilty pleasure kind of way.

After my review of Let The Right One In, I thought I’d go and see the Hollywood remake to see what they’d done to it.

It actually wasn’t too bad.

Oskar and Eli had been replaced by Owen and Abby.  I wasn’t sure whether Abby was the best name for the vampire, as it is very definitely a girl’s name, whereas I think Eli as a name was a bit more androgynous – as was the girl in the orginal film.  There were parts where Abby could have passed as a boy, but she didn’t have the presence of the girl who played Eli.  in the original, Eli appeared very frail – thin, pale and seemingly in need of protection  whereas Abby, although often pale, didn’t look frail at all.  And there seemed no menace in her.

Owen on the other hand, was pretty good.  Obviously very geeky and an obvious outcast at school.

It was odd how they seemed to have recreated the climbing frame outside the apartments almost exactly – it was uncannily similar (from my memory).

The scene that I never liked in the original (the cats) isn’t used in the remake, which could only be a good thing – but I think that meant that the remake didn’t fully explore the secondary characters and their input to the story, so the whole thing felt a little less real.

The remake also seemed to CGI Abby’s killings which I really really didn’t like.  There was no need for it.

However, it was pretty well acted, and pretty true to the original, and the swimming-pool scene was still brilliantly done.  I’d probably give it 7/10, but I can admit that if I hadn’t seen the original, I’d probably be more likely to give it an 8!

When I came home, we decided to have a flim night, and watch all three that we had from Blockbuster in one go.  That included The Losers, which was good comic fun, although each main character seemed like a cheap version of a bigger star (eg, Jeffery Dean Morgan = Robert Downey Jr, Óscar Jaenada = Johnny Depp).  It was definitely entertaining though!

We then watched The Man’s choice – The Good German, which even he admitted was an absolute pile of shite.  i have no idea why that film needed to be made.  it was awful and I nearly died of boredom.  I would have rather gone to see the second half of Follies!

So, then we watched Perrier’s Bounty, which was brilliant, and made us forget the awfulness of The Good German.  Cillian Murphy plays a bit of a loser who gets entangled through circumstance into escalating danger and violence.  Jim Broadbent is fantastic as his off-the-wall dad who believes he is going to die the next time he goes to sleep.

There are some brilliant comic moments, and the ever wonderful Brendan Gleeson is a joy to behold!

It’s not for the faint-hearted – there is a lot of blood and violence…but, well, I like that kind of thing 🙂

l’appartement – france (1995)

October 24, 2010 2 comments

L'Appartement

I have had this DVD sitting on the shelf for a couple of years, I think, and for some reason forgot all about it!

I’m kinda embarressed that I’ve never seen this before, as I know that it is a film that epitomises French cinema.  All the elements are included – chain-smoking, male-hugging, brooding looks, casual chic fashion, women friends that always seem on the verge of lesbianism, deep-rooted envy, stalking, devastating misunderstandings and a splash of casual sex.

Perfect.

Vincent Cassel is one of my favourite actors, and it’s great to see him 15 years younger playing Max, a Parisian playboy type who has just decided to settle down and propose to his current girlfriend.  However, a chance encounter sends him chasing after Lisa, the big love of his life.

And who would blame him, as it is the infinitely beautiful Monica Bellucci (who he married in real life a few years later).  All is not as it seems though, and him, Lisa, his friend Lucien, Lucien’s girlfriend Alice and a widower called Daniel become embroiled in a web of lies, intrigue and heartache.

My rating 8.5/10

barbican screens to close

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

I have held a Barbican membership for many years now, and have been to see a wide range of different stuff there over that time.  I love the Barbican as they continue to provide non mainstream shows and productions.  My daughter also LOVES it there and is always excited to be making the trip.

I was quite surprised to read via Londonist that they are planning to close Cinemas Two & Three in March.  This seems a little odd as the cinemas always seem to be packed whenever I’ve been – and they are one of the few places in London that show the more unusual and independent films.

I hope that they DO move the screens elsewhere to enable the great selection of films to still be shown – but it will be interesting to see how they use the space in the future.

Categories: Arts, London, News Tags: , , ,
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