Thursday, July 02, 2009

Cinema de Lux - Highcross

Cinema de Lux in Highcross was my destination yesterday morning as I headed into Leicester. Yes, I was fleeing the sweltering heat that has gripped the city for the last few days (If you live outside the UK, read 'sweltering heat' to mean 'mild summer weather') I was also looking for a way to chill my brain after the feverish unreality of seven days of non-stop screenplay writing and editing.

Why did I choose Cinema de Lux out of Leicester's clutch of multi-screens? The seats in the Odeon are frankly uncomfortable. Vue cinema - my usual destination - doesn't start screening until later in the day. And the others are somewhat off my radar. (I must explore more. Feel free to send me tickets and I'll review your cinema for you.)

So I took my first exploratory steps into Leicester's newest cinema. It was 11.25am and I was heading in to see Blood: the Last Vampire, reviewed in yesterday's posting.

First impressions were somewhat marred by the fact that the £1 voucher clutched in my sweaty hand was refused at the front desk. "You can't use that, I'm afraid. That's only valid after 6pm. The tickets are more expensive then, you see." I coughed up the cash and took my ticket. But as I was walking away I heard the same line being delivered to the couple in the queue just behind me. "You can't use that, I'm afraid..." I read the small print afterwards and was still none the wiser. It seems a petty policy and leaves a bad taste. However, I was so relived to be standing in the air conditioned lobby that this didn't feel like too much of a hit.

Going to the cinema during the day is one of the perks of being a self-employed writer. It is a way to avoid the crowds and all the distraction of slurpings and crunchings from the seat in front. I've been to showings when there were only four of us in a large theatre. But never before yesterday have I been the only viewer. I asked afterwards and was told they would still have shown it if no one was there.

With the luxury of solitude I tried a variety of different seats, in search of the optimum position. I turned my mobile off then turned it on again, realising that it really didn't matter because I wasn't going to disturb anyone. Then turned it off again realising that I didn't want to be disturbed either.

I watched the movie in eerie isolation, enjoying the chance to lounge around but realising that the feeling one is sharing a film with others does curiously add something to the viewing experience.

I should report also that the seats were more comfortable than those in the Odeon, though I still prefer Vue in that respect.

On leaving the lady usher asked if I'd enjoyed the film. I had. She loved it too, she said. Had seen it three times. Liked the way the plot unfolded, and that it was a vampire story - which she particularly enjoys.

She was genuinely interested, genuinely engaged and genuinely likes the cinema she works for. And that was great to see. If the place motivates its staff to feel so positive, perhaps I can forgive them the voucher scam after all.

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