Satyajit Ray takes a shot
As we are all too painfully aware the battle to rescue the Odeon and reopen it as a Rex style working cinema has hit a nasty moment fundswise. But there are some who have been forecasting doom for the project from the outset. A minority, of course, but they do exist. One of them is the Picotts End Residents Association blog which said back in the autumn:
But St Albans isn't Berkhamsted. The Rex succeeded because it was a David and Goliath kind of battle which people in a small town greatly applauded. St Albans is more streetwise and chavvy than Berkhamsted.
My own Borehamwood ingrained instincts tell me that anyone who thinks St Albans is chavvy needs to get out more but maybe that’s how people in Berko and its environs see S.A. Certainly there are differences. S.A. is bigger, livelier, much more mixed in class/ethnicity/ and age groups. But surely this is not a drawback to having a successfully functioning cinema? Surely it offers all sorts of opportunities for ventures that the Rex, lovely though it is, could never stretch to. The Alpha could for example host short film festivals for the culturally diverse audience it will command - for example festivals of Italian, Bengali, Irish and Polish interest. S.A. is not short of teenagers who would be game for all sorts of programming, with or without 3D spex. Older people in S.A. tend to the media/bohemian far more than in the Rex's own audience. No offence meant, Berko, but anything the Rex can do, the Alpha could do with more risk and boldness. Streetwise and chavvy it may be here, but since when did that ever mean a lack of life – or people willing to buy a cinema ticket??