Thursday, 29 April 2010

AT LAST: Michael Glasheen on site

Yes, it's all going to happen - the final incontrovertible bit of evidence. Mick Glasheen, chief gaffer/fixer/craftsperson of the Rex was seen in Lower Paxton Rd at 8.15 this a.m. helping his mate Darren to park up behind the Odeon. Hurrah. In the dark days when restoring the Odeon seemed a very faint hope I used to think if I ever see Mick here I will know we've managed to rescue it.

And here he is, looking like Tony Soprano and wearing his lovely 'Who's the Daddy t-shirt?' And our Odeon is in his hands. At some point when he's not too busy will try to get a pic of him to post...but take it from me Mick's presence means action.

Friday, 23 April 2010

The Odeon: just how bad is it inside?

Not too dreadful actually.See the pictures taken this week now on the Allaboutstalbans link. I had imagined swathes of rotted plaster, stalactites/mites of decaying matter, vast holes, maybe the odd fox lair or two, corpses, bats pinging from wall to wall. But no. It looks like a...a CINEMA. And that's before a penny has been spent. How good is it going to look once £2 million has been spent with art and care? Fabulous, that's what it's going to be.

But, oh the memories. It's so painful. At least they've been rescued for us too.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

136th anniversary Arthur Melbourne-Cooper

Yes, it's Arthur M-C's birthday. The Odeon is basking in a cold April sunlight; no open doors and busy figures in fluoro jackets yet but it shouldn't be long. Maybe at some point in the future this date could become a day of special festivities - a programme of early Brit movies and Edwardian teas. Someone on the Facebook page is suggesting the cinema be named after Stanley Kubrick but , much as this blog admires S.K., the pitch here will be for it to be named the Alpha. After all A M-C was struggling in the teeth of all sorts of technical/historical/cultural obstacles S.K. never had to face, and yet managed to think up, cast, direct, make and get distributed over 336 films, 36 of them the effort consuming and intricate puppet animations.

And at the same time, and before anyone else, he saw what a cinema should and could be - and brought that into popular reality on this very site. He deserves credit for all kinds of firsts; the first ever animation, the first animated advertising film, the first ever long documentary (The GWR commission London to Killarney) and the first ever real film made in Ireland ( should have posted that on March 17th). But the best of them is his intuitive grasp of how people could get together comfortably and safely in large numbers to have a good time watching moving pictures - in comfort, if not a degree of luxury, with all sorts of accompanying treats. And who could deny they were going to need that blameless escapism in the years ahead of them. So thanks, Arthur Melbourne-Cooper and the Alpha...set to shine again.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

SOLD it's official

how nice...a sunny April day and the sold sign on the cinema again...

and now this blog can revert to what it was originally set up to be - a record for local residents and neighbours of the Odeon of the changes we can expect/hope to take place. Let's hope there are no more dramas/controversies/failures of optimism. Always a good thing to have someone independent on the spot too. We've spent too long fighting planning applications,sitting in inquiries/leafleting St Peter St to lose interest now. Nor have we anything to gain, not business, influence or media standing. This blog is a labour of love representing everyone who lives near the Odeon and who has hated seeing it wasting away.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Kubrick exhibition St Albans Museum

Of course Melbourne-Cooper is not the only man of cinema associated with St Albans. The city also has a proud link with Stanley Kubrick. As mentioned earlier St Albans Museum is currently holding an exhibition about his work with many associated activities. I went on Saturday and it's well worth going to. See their site for more info.

And for those whose taste is not really Clockwork Orange or Full Metal Jacket there's some lovely stuff on/from Barry Lyndon:

Sale proceeding

see allaboutstalbans site for statement by J H on first stages of exchange. So maybe the 9 April is the day we can celebrate.

15 April is Arthur Melbourne-Cooper's birthday i.e. the 136th anniversary - so the rescue /return of the Alpha and that nearly coincided.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

sa council suddenly realises town lacks cinema

See council sitefor report on proposal to turn the Maltings into art cinema. Will give this more reflection but immediate reaction is there's something very peculiar about the timing.

One thing at least about our council: for an organisation so over fond of that old management cliche the word 'vision', at least we don't have to worry about them ever coming up with something resembling original thought.

Friday, 2 April 2010

More on local film making

Click below for details of another nice new book for your growing libraries on this topic:

Odeon/Alpha Contracts exchanged

See Herts Ad for details. The cinema is ours.

I'm just looking forward to walking past it tonight on my way to the station and seeing it either without the for sale sign, or knowing the sign doesn't mean anything anymore.