Thepanch's Blog

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The Last Picture Show

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I love films. The sense of wonder, the clichéd one-liners, the guy getting the girl, the will they won’t they romances, every nuance of every scene. Good ones, bad ones, laughable dramas, not so funny comedies. A love indeed, that has endured since I was only a chap, knee high to a grasshopper if you please. My earliest film related memory takes me back to the old Xtra-Vision store in Rafter Street, where Music Net stood and DV8 now stands. When I was dragged down town on a Friday after school, to do the “big shop”, I would always coax my mother to leave me in the shop. Pauline, the lovely store manager would allow me to sit bow legged on the floor and gaze up at the big television screen up in the corner, and the young Jemmy would sit in wonder and awe at whatever film was being shown at the time. If it was just a string of trailers, I didn’t care; they were just a series of the best bits of loads of films thrown into one long, glorious set.

So imagine my joy and delight when The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film came over to Ireland, and somehow wound its way to our little town. And where was showing it? The Astor Cinema, you know the one above the shop that took forever to get to and then you had to have legs like a wrestler to traverse over the sticky patches! My eyes were wide the entire film. How did the Turtles talk??? How did they walk around like humans????? The wonder of film!!!

And then the Slaney Plaza opened. That was the clincher. No more long road trips to Wexford to the Cineplex, with crappy country and Irish on the radio, because my dad “was driving us down, I’ll play what I like.” To this day, Declan Nerney gives me a rash. But there was a cinema in town, and the first weekend it opened they were showing Twister. And you could enter those massive doors, walk up the red carpeted steps, and enter a world of tornadoes, flying cows and wonderment for the pricely sum of £1. Seems like forever ago. (And you got small pop and small popcorn!”)

And I went there every weekend I could manage. Pocket money? You’d find it in the cash register at Slaney Plaza. I can only speak for myself, but the place holds nothing but good memories for me. Sneaking in to see an 18’s film at the tender age of 15, because I had the nerve to go up, look the seller in the eye and squeal, “Howya, one please!” Taking a young lady to see a film about your man wanting to get with your one, but her dad hates him, and then taking the young lady for a slap up meal of chips and a milk-shake in Malocca’s, before she had to go get her lift at the bridge.

Maybe it’s a victim of these economic times, or maybe it just can’t compete with the bigger cinemas. None of that matters really. The town is losing a landmark, people are losing jobs and film lovers like myself are losing what effectively was a place of wonder, excitement, joy and if you were lucky, a kiss before she got her lift at the bridge. Slaney Plaza, here’s looking at you, kid!!


Written by thepanch

March 3, 2011 at 10:56 am

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