Do you remember the cinema when you were younger? The thrill of the adverts and the smell of popcorn used to feel such a treat. The cinema was a real event to be savoured and excited for.
Adulthood changed all that for me. I spent most my cinema trips in a haze of paranoia a la Howard Hughes remembering the scene in Outbreak where the broken out disease is airborne.
It wasn’t only the close proximity to others which ruined the cinema for me, but the general low-budget element of cinema going. What happened to classic cinemas such the one Warbucks rents out in Annie? Why don’t ushers wear lovely suits and carry torches? Why must I have my drink in a plastic cup with a straw which continually squeaks when I sip at it? Why do I always sit behind someone taller than I with a wind problem?
When the Lounge in Whiteleys first opened, I felt I may have found an answer to my cinema-related issues. I asked if I could have a nose around and was impressed by the buttons to adjust the leather recliners on the arm and the half metre between each seat – and was particularly excited at the prospect of proper drinks and real food.
My look around was enough to make me book in immediately, and once ensconced in my chair, I felt a little as if I had stepped back in time. Yes, the ‘sound-proof trays’ do extinguish much of the irritating food-rattle, but there is the reassuring clink of ice against a glass every now and then, giving the impression of a speakeasy film screening.
I enjoyed the entire experience immensely and I now really can’t see myself wanting to visit the normal cinema any time soon – this has made going to watch a film feel like a real occasion again.