22 June 2024

The Holy Grail Of Cinemas:One Fans quest to find the ultimate cinematic experience

Welcome to my first quest into finding true ultimate cinematic experience. What each and everyone of us who are movie fans have our own vision of a cinematic experience it varies from watching in old retro cinema right upto watching the latest movies in the most modern technology and surroundings, we’re all different thats life. In this section I will try to cover certain things that I believe to give myself the ultimate cinematic experience, those littl things inlife that make that day or night out to the flick extra special or just sweet memories of things that dont exist anymore. This section doesn’t just have to be from myself YOU could get involved share your views of what makes cinema trip special for you (drop me an email at: thepeoplesmovies@gmail.com), remember it can be a memory or something from current times.


(images Grosvenor Cinema, Ashton Lane Glasgow)

Living in a big town or city or in easy access to those towns & cities, been a movie fan your local cinema 75% will usually be that big coperate chain that drains the fun out of actually going to the movies for the movies replacing it by the sadistic god of profit. Yes times have changed places have to move on so cinemas like these will exist but around our little merryland there’s still little mecca’s to all things cinematic still running, in a way things used to be before the multiscreens . Usually these little shrines are found in the smaller towns around the country but occassionally they are still in the big cities and towns hidden away.

How I would love to walk into a cinema that is located in the heart of my town centre or at least a few minutes walk away. Usually with one or two screens sometimes one or two more keeping the big multiplex’s for out of town shopping/leisure centre/malls. When you walk into to these little cinema’s you are greeted by a familar face, someone you greet in first name basis, they give you the tickets for your movie and turn around and serve you your popcorn and snacks. But if its a big popular movie you get your tickets head up a few stairs into a small concourse where you’ll find another member of staff who’ll be joined by the person from box office when things are quite helping you, the stand is alot bigger but not much. Now its time to head to the screen your greeted by a usher wholl collect your ticket and some cases escort you to your seat when the movie or previews have started.

The movie is now underway you’ve munched all your popcorn but you still feel peckish and the movie is at a vital stage so you dont want to miss a thing. Dont despair hungrary patrons here comes the usher equipped with a torch with a tray of ice-creams and chocolates so you dont miss a thing. Wait what if there’s no usher coming in and your stomach is really rumbling ? The screen’s lights suddenly go on and the movies halts, nothing to worry it’s nly a intermission it is off course a epic movie so things need to chill out and the project has to change the film around, so you have 15 minutes to get some munchies and head back to your set. You want a ciggerette? no need to go outside now just go to the back of the screen and puff away.

Alot what I’ve mentioned above you would never dream of happen nowdays at your local odeon or cineworld? If you are around 25-30 years or over some of what I said you may recognise, you simply be in a town where some of the above still happens especially if your  in a very small place and traditional is still a big thing. You really did feel  a day or night out in those days was a treat and a experience to cherish, you never felt bombarded with the commericalism you get today and then you didnt feel guilty or in need of a mortage to buy popcorn and buying in those days it was a treat….mmm wrestler’s hotdogs those were the days!!! I was shocked my mum told me my hometown of Paisley which is about 80,000 people the town had at least 7 or 8 cinemas many with funny sometimes tragic stories to tell

“The garage in causeyside street well years ago that used to be a cinema we called the ‘Flea pit”!!!”

In my time there was only one cinema and that was located 10 minutes walk away from the town centre, the Kelburn  which had at first 5 screens eventually becomeing only 2-3 when the cinema was split into 2 with the other half been a bingo hall. Trips to the cinema on Friday or Saturday nights I can just remember they where a rare treat and my heart was ripped out when the cinema closed in 1997 to be replaced by a showcase cinema 14 screen complex out of town which is impossible to get to if you dont drive.

When multiplex cinemas started to pop up in and around the UK in the late 1980’s into 1990’s they where very new to British and Irish movie fans so curiousity of watching news programmes from the states made people check these new fortresses out. At first I was wamazed with the sheer size of the places and that a complex that size would be in my town but after working there you get to see the true side of the cinema. Personally I dont like that cinema now but I dont want to go to a cinema where the staff are scared to laugh & talk with each other in fear of a reprisal from managers(who’ll blame the staff for poor attendances at the complex rather having a look at maybe the cinema’s location and transport is the problem. I dont want to go where the staff have obivious false smiles painted to there faces like someone is behind them with a gun into there backs making them smile, sadly where you may live and if you love films you’ll go there no choice.

Yesterday like every saturday (sometimes midweek) I venture out on my weekly pilgramage to the flicks counting out Showcase I have several places I like to go to. The usual huants are The Odeon at the braehead located edge of my town then there’s into city centre of Glasgow where the tallest cinema in the world is, the cineworld 20 screen complex but if I want a indie or world cinema fix its the GFT (Glasgow Film Theatre). Recently I decided to check out the cinema in Clydebank which was a AMC cinema but now its Empire and yester I found or should I say rediscovered another little gem.

This weeks releases weren’t really sparking any lights with me and it was a bright sunny day so I wasnt wanting to be stuck in the house so I decided to head to glasgow city as I had some birthday money to burn so it was a trip to Fopp. After Spending the birthday dosh I walked out the store happy with Red Cliff, State of Play and Moon all for the price of one new released dvd and decided  to check out GFT see what’s on, just missed Gainsbourg so for some reason I decided to walk to toward the city west end into the heart of studentland and Byres Road area. Of all the years ive been going to Glasgow I honestly couldn’t remember going to the famous Ashton Lane. Trying to get my bearings I finally found out it and made my way down the little crowded cobblestone street  and there she was standing at the end of the lane in her full glory, a cinema!!!

The Grosvenor Cinema I heard about for years but when it came to checking out places to watch movies it was never on my radar as a place to go to to watch the flicks (well it is now!). When I bought my ticket I said to the usher I’ve never been here but what I meant I’ve never been here since it was refurbished and made alot smaller as I can always remember as a kid going to see Airplane 2 here (im 35 now). I think the reason I fell in love with this cinema is the size the look (see images above) and the fact is located down a back street where you dont expect to see a cinema, plus you get the impression its an old rundown cinema, but its not.

Once you walk inside its a different world, very contemporary look, small concourse where you buy the tickets in the same place as you buy your popcorn along with bags of sweets as well as hershy bars which I havent seen for years. The bar next door (The Loft) seems they run the cinema (the bar used to be the the other half of the cinema) and the staff from their run things, no uniforms but friendly polite happy staff, I do love the fact they write all the screening times on a chalkboard, well it is only 2 screens.

Now I have my munchies I head to the screen to watch Knight and Day (which was maniac, not bad but not greatest review shortly) and at the enterence of the screen I was met by another staff member who escorted to my seat as you are allocated seats, this is an old fashioned way and the last time I had this was in Guangzhou, china. The chair is an leather recliner with a table next to it fo my munchies and theres even sofa seating at the back though I dont know how much better things would be there, you can even buy alcoholic drinks from the bar to have in the screen which does give you the impression of a arthouse cinema.

So would the Grosvenor been what I would regard as a cinematic experience? Yes in the sense of the way things are ran I did see alot of things that reminded me of the old days on cinema even the preview adverts are Pearl & Dean and to hear the old jingle again brings all the good memories back. This little cinema is definately a arthouse type cinema with traditional cinema values mixed with some modern ones, its like a little film fan haven mixing hollywood movies with indie& world cinema flicks. You dont get bombarded with florescent signs saying get this deal or that deal subliminally getting you to buy things you cant or dont want, no the grosvenor is a modern little cinema with a few posters outside telling you whats on inside there’s the sweets and popcorn and if you want them you know where to find them. It took me about 25 years to find this cinema and I can say it wont be another 25 years before I go back, until the next quest of the holy grail, farewell!

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1 thought on “The Holy Grail Of Cinemas:One Fans quest to find the ultimate cinematic experience

  1. Take a look at The Electric Palace in Bridport is a great traditional cinema complete with original 1930’s decor.

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