I recently took a little Friday night trip to our much-loved Memo to watch the brilliant Belfast on the silver screen…with about five other people.
Surely such a marvellous movie should have seen a more than small crowd but we Barrians just don’t seem to strongly support Barry’s only surviving cinema experience.
Stage shows, bands, gigs, ‘am dram’ and other stage staples seem to be working like clockwork but the film feels, in my view, is sadly lacking.
All the famous films are shown with increasing regularity, but every time I’ve popped along to a showing, it’s been almost empty.
Admittedly the chairs are not the comfiest, and it’s a tad chilly but the Bar was open which is always a bonus – with the option to take your tipple, and a warm blankie, in with you.
I think back to those packed Saturday Theatre Royale film showings of old as we all trooped in to take in the latest big screen blockbusters armed with goodies from the store.
I absolutely loved the vibe, the darkness, the torch-bearing Usherette and even the occasional peanut being lobbed over the balcony – remember that!
Not sure why we can’t catch those moments again, sans flinged foodstuffs, at The Memo.
Call me controversial, and not sure if this is possible, I’d even go as far as dumping the Memo main stage for film showings and try turning one of the upstairs rooms into a at least one cosy and cwtchy cinema.
And later I’d soon sort out some fabulous, but not too fancy, food in the bar area – not advocating oysters but a burger in a bun would be a start.
No, I’m not just being nostalgic either, I just think that with no cinema left in the town, this is an idea well worth exploring, especially with a captive market waiting in the wings.
Totally get that the Memo is also a prime party venue – I had my own Wedding Evening Party, and son’s Christening there – not on the same day I hasten to add.
But surely, in the words of my work world, there is a ‘workaround’ that could keep the party bookings, carry on with the stage and music stuff, with some rather radical cinema renovations added on top.
So silver screen dream or a real life resolution, you decide.
Well worth a thought, and some support, though isn’t it?
The Voice of Our Community
Sue Vincent-Jones, blogging as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and activist. She writes about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
Written exclusively for the Vale’s newest newspaper, and digital platform, The Glamorgan Star, her latest ‘Passing Comment’ column, an addition to the infamous Sue’s Views collection, can be found here.