Thursday 7 July 2011

Pasta á la Noddy

Again, so soon? People will talk you know... Oh well let them! Don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to this film seeing as I’m a HUGE Slade fan. No that’s not a miss-print, you did just read that I am a HUGE Slade fan – or at least I WAS (caps lock getting a good workout isn't it?) back in January of 1975. Okay, so to continue with the awkward expositional opening paragraph if you don’t mind, today it’s the turn of the Metropole Cinema in Victoria Street to provide our cinematic pleasure in the form of ‘Slade in Flame' aka: 'Flame’, a gritty little gem of a film charting the rise and fall of a fictional rock band played by the very real glam rockers from Wolverhampton known as Slade. For some reason my mum and I were both into Slade at that time – why – well, as it was January that would have meant we’d just experienced: “It’s CHRISTMAAAAS!”  (poetic licence is employed with this Slade gag – ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ by Slade which features Noddy Holder’s iconic rasping battle cry to turkeys up and down Britain was actually released in Dec 1973 but I couldn’t resist it so sue me). Actually, I didn’t really mean that so please read that as please don’t sue me. Talk about treading on egg-shells, you readers are so pedantic. Now I’ve gone and lost my original thread – you see you wind me up and this is the result – a blog that rambles even more than the previous ones. 
Quick re-cap: January 1975 (it must be January as ‘Flame’ was released in that month and mum and I would unquestionably (don’t even think about it) unquestionably I say – have gone to see it as soon as it opened. In fact, probably straight after she’d treated me to sausage, chips and baked beans in the café across the road in Victoria Station: smashing! Now, seeing as I was only 6 years old at the time, my finely hued critical faculties which I possess today (along with my deep humility dearest reader) were yet to blossom and as a result my favourite scene in ‘Flame’ involved the character Stoker (a.k.a. Noddy-‘It’s Xmaaas’- Holder) having to slam shut a van door twice as it fails to close fully on his first attempt.  There you are, now I fully expect you all to rush out and erm, well not exactly rush out more like rush to your laptops or smart phones and order a copy from one of the popular online retailers (no product placement here my friend – all references to Kia-Ora orange juice, Rowntree’s Wine Gums and Butterkist popcorn are merely used for illustrative purposes and are in no way an attempt by me to influence in any way my bloggerees* confectionary purchasing habits). So is that all I have to say on ‘Flame’ I hear you mutter disappointedly at your monitor whilst absent mindedly kicking your cat/dog/rabbit/goldfish/Shetland pony in utter frustration and disgust? (In case anyone from the RSPCA is reading – that was also a joke, blimey, everything I type seems to be getting me into hot water tonight – my fluttering heart can’t take much more you know, I’m fragile). Well actually I’ve re-watched ‘Flame’ since then and I found it to be a gritty, cynical and thoroughly entertaining slice of 70’s rock cinema which is well worth a butchers (if only to see that absolutely hilarious moment with the van door).
Ok, so here comes the slightly tear-stained nostalgic moment so prevalent in these blogs of mine where I wistfully reflect on what has now become of the cinema to which we’ve just spent 2 very happy hours together in. It’s now an ASK pasta restaurant**, ironic considering the last ever film shown there was a Bette Davis picture called ‘Burnt Offerings’ (Here we go again – I just want to make it crystal clear that in no way am I implying that the ASK restaurant on Victoria Street nor any other branch of this fine chain of reasonably priced pasta /pizza restaurants has ever, or will ever, serve cuisine which is in any way over-cooked in the slightest).
If you do ever eat in this particular branch of the aforementioned pasta/pizza chain (no product placement here see) you will be struck by the magnificent grand high ceiling and glass frontage which used to allow light into the cafe above the cinema’s original entrance. What more could any Slade fan want?
So, here we are again. I hoped you enjoyed ‘Flame’, wasn’t that bit with the door...anyway, we’ll have to leave the Victoria area of London for our next cinematic soiree as I never had the pleasure of frequenting the Classic (also in Victoria Street, and now funnily enough also a pasta/pizza chain restaurant: Bella Italia). I have no idea what the last film ever shown there was, although I do recall a former chambermaid employed by my mum at the B + B we used to run in Victoria saying she’d gone to see ‘Grease’ there a ridiculous amount of times. (I just want to make it crystal clear that in no way am I implying that the Bella Italia restaurant on Victoria Street nor any other branch of this fine chain of reasonably priced pasta /pizza restaurants has ever, or will ever, serve cuisine which is in any way over-greased nor that any of their kitchens have an inordinate amount of grease prevalent in their cooking areas).
Till next we meet, take care and remind me to tell you about ‘Tubby’ at the Biograph.

*Bloggerees - I hereby claim copyright of this term (for what it's worth - which is probably nada).

**Sadly, the entire block on Victoria Street has since been completely demolished to make way for a monolithic Minecraft-like slab of office concrete. (Progress...?)