When I was younger, we used to live in a small rural community with one old cinema called the Regal; which always used to remind me of a grand old lady much in need of a new frock. The once plush red velvet seats and drapes had become threadbare and moth-eaten and the gilt paint had peeled on the plaster cherubs decorating the balconies. No doubt at one time this picture house would have hosted children’s Saturday morning picture shows provided a haven for young courting couples and a hangout for bored teenagers. I saw some of my most favourite films in that particular picture house and sat there blissfully immersed in some magical kingdom where animals could speak and boys could fly. I shed tears over Bambi and gasped with amazement at the adventures of a castaway. To this day the smell of pine disinfectant reminds me of running up a sweeping staircase to a waiting fairy-tale world of dreams.
This particular cinema was a small family run affair and subsequently, the same man would sell us our sweets & tickets. He also showed us to our seats with the magic torch should we arrive late and the film had already started. And wouldn’t you know it the very same harassed man would pop up again during the interval to sell us ice-creams from a lit tray hanging from around his neck. I suspect he was also the projectionist.
As an awe-struck child I imagined his job must have been the best job in the world and I so wanted to be a cinema usherette when I grew up; having endless access to exciting films, a never-ending supply of ice-cream and not forgetting the magic torch. As I grew older my career plans changed somewhat and my plans to become an usherette sadly never did materialise.
However, when my nieces were younger we played “cinemas” many times. The children had fun drawing the posters, making and handing out the tickets and sweets. We’d all sit down to watch a DVD pretending we were in the Dyson Palais and would switch the film off midway so that the kids could “sell” us ice-creams.
I, of course, got to live my life-long dream with the magic torch in those moments and that my friends was the closest I ever got!
Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.