Sunday, 19 June 2011

Tristan Fry is not my dad.

Ah, there you are, I’m so glad you came back! Have you been queuing long? Anyway here we are outside the New Victoria cinema in Wilton Road SW1 - but then you knew that already otherwise you’d be around the corner at the Metropole, or the Biograph, or maybe even the Cartoon Cinema in the station (see previous blog if you’re just joining the back of the queue).
So we’re here today to see a double-bill of ‘The Golden Voyage of Sinbad’ coupled with a film whose title, along with the entirety of the plot, sadly escapes me. All I can remember about this second feature is that there was a scene set in a large dusty yard involving numerous cars circling around and around (accompanied by large clouds of dust). Title anyone? Answers on a postcard please and the first correct one pulled from the hat gets a free box of popcorn (or a packet of toffee Butterkist, Butterkist, rah rah rah...you remember how that old cinema advert went don’t you – or did I imagine it in the haze of some Orange Kia-Ora*and wine gum-fuelled hallucination?).
But I digress, it’s a habit of mine and one I’m afraid you’ll just have to get used to if we are going to remain friends. Anyway it’s 1973, I’m 5 years old, and I’m admiring the cheap ring on my finger which my mum has just bought me from Woolworths (aka ‘Woolies) just along the road. I have no idea why I wanted this cheap piece of costume jewellery, so please don’t read anything whatsoever into this nugget of detail. In fact this tiny insignificant piece of metal is destined to play no further part in this blog as I drop it down between the seats in the circle of the New Victoria before the house lights dimmed that day whereby it disappears forever – a bit like Woolworths. Now this particular Woolworths closed some years before the ‘great collapse’ towards the end of 2008. The pain that was felt across the country when the lights finally went out in every remaining store was nothing compared to the hammer blow to the heart when our local branch shut up shop forever. Practically everything I’d ever owned in those formative years had come from the shelves of that fine establishment. (For years after its closure I looked upon the Edgware Road with pure jealousy as it still had its Woolies - back then it also boasted the largest cinema screen in the country at its delta on Marble Arch). Today on Edgware Road where once there was Woolworths there’s now a Waitrose and the once magnificent Odeon Marble Arch is now a giant rabbit warren made up of 5 hutches. There’s an Argos and a Wetherspoon’s public house on the site of MY Woolies these days, whilst the New Victoria is now the Apollo Victoria Theatre and is home to the musical ‘Wicked’ (which in my opinion it most certainly isn’t - to use the vernacular of the young people of today). cont'd...