"The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey"

Just had a customer at the cinema who wished to buy tickets but had forgotten her membership card with which she could get a discount off the price. So I asked her name so that I could search the members database to find her, she replied “wily, spelt W-i-l-l-e-y.”

I thought interesting as that’s not how I’d pronounce that surname and it put me in mind of the apocryphal quote attributed to cricket commentator Brian Johnston in regards to the West Indian bowler Michael Holding.

“The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey.”

And through his Wikipedia entry I find the following YouTube video of what is regarded as the best bowled over of Test cricket ever.

Man on the roof in Bath city centre

A crowd has gathered outside the cinema at the moment, but unfortunately they are not here to see a film.

Instead they are looking up at the roof of a tall building near us where a man has stripped off some of his clothes and is threatening to jump.

At least I think he is threatening to jump as he is mostly shouting abuse and it’s hard to tell what he’s actually saying. The police are in attendance but the bloke doesn’t want to speak to their negotiator.

It’s all a bit ghoulish.

Update 16:31 GMT: It’s all over apparently. The police have removed the cordon they put up blocking off access to Hot Bath street and most of St. Michael’s Place. The ghouls have gone away as have the photographers and cameramen from the local media. And I no longer need to explain to virtually every single one of our customers what the hell everyone is staring at.

The saga of cleaning the cinema.

Since Michael died earlier this year we’ve had real difficulty finding a decent cleaner to replace him at the cinema.

We’ve tried two different cleaning companies but they both turned out to be unreliable. You’d think that if the cleaner was ill or wasn’t able to work for some other reason that the company that we’d hired would find a replacement to do the job for that day as it is the company we have a contract with not the individual cleaner. But no.

So we gave up on them and tried to hire and employ some cleaners directly. We had no trouble in hiring a couple of people to do the job (let’s call them Bob and Margaret, not their real names) splitting the week between them , they both seemed reliable and keen and so we thought our troubles were over.

Until the ghost.

I got a text message yesterday morning informing me that Margaret wouldn’t be able to come in as she was ill. So I ended up having to come in early to give the place a quick once over before customers arrived for our free morning screening of The Assassination of Jesse James.

I come in today to discover that the real reason why Margaret didn’t come into work was that she was afraid of our ghost. But all is not lost as Bob upon learning about Margaret’s fears has decided to exorcise the ghost by burning incense and will accompany Margaret for her next shift to alleviate her fears.

I find that the place is spooky when no one else is around at night, it’s a creaky old building, but it shouldn’t be that bad during the morning because at least it is light outside.

Appalling violent computer game advert shocks cinema goer

A recent comment I spotted in the comments book of the Little Theatre cinema.

It’s obscene to advertise such an appalling/violent computer game – I am surprised that the Little Theatre supports the encouragement of killing other humans.

The advertisement in question was for the game Medal of Honor: Airborne, a World War II first-person shooter. I personally believe that there is no substantive difference between advertising a game like this and screening a movie like Saving Private Ryan.

In any case the cinema has little control over which adverts actually get screened and obviously does not advocate or endorse the killing of people, however unlike some of our customers we are aware that there is a difference between the killing of humans in real life and on the silver screen or a computer monitor.

US summer box office to top $4bn

The BBC reports that North American cinemas are experiencing a record-breaking summer at the box office. Takings are expected to top the $4bn (£1.98bn) barrier for the first time.

Box office analysts Media By Numbers say the $4bn figure outclasses summer ticket sales of $3.95bn (£1.95bn) set in 2004.

Their estimates suggest that this summer’s box office returns will stand at $4.15bn (£2.05bn) by the time the season officially ends on 3 September.

But they added that actual summer ticket sales are expected to be about 606m, only the sixth-best in modern times.

There’s a similar picture at our cinema, we’ve experienced a better summer than the past few years and that’s without any summer blockbusters as we tend towards the arthouse end of the market.

It seems that the death knell of the movie industry sounded by the MPAA in the US has been premature to say the least if in spite of rising numbers of people using BitTorrent to download movies that box office revenue is on the up too.

In fact MPAA research statistics would seem to indicate that it has not only been a good summer 2007 at the box office but that the figures for the year 2006 showed a rising trend across the board.

Grindhouse Rapist No. 1

I have a lot of respect for Bitch Ph.D and read her blog regularly but I think she may be overreacting about the Rapist No.1 action figure from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s new movie Grindhouse.


As well as the Rapist figure (which is the likeness of Tarantino as he portrays said character in the movie in one of his customary cameo appearances) action figures of other characters such as Cherry and Dakota are available to buy.

She seems mostly concerned that it is being marketed by the name Rapist No.1 doll but that is just the name of the character in the movie and to my mind is no different than a Freddy Krueger action figure. It’s not as if the figure is even depicted in an act of rape and can hardly be considered glorifying rape or fostering an attitude that rape is acceptable.

I haven’t seen Grindhouse yet but I would imagine if Tarantino’s previous movies are any indicator that this rapist character meets a gory and well deserved end. I think there is a debate to be had about the depiction of rape in movies and on television and the trend for the sexualisation of female victims of rape in them as opposed to the depiction of male rape victims. Also there is a disturbing trend (in comics it is referred to as the Women in Refrigerators Syndrome) for using violence against women as a plot device and motivating factor for the hero protagonist of the story to whom the victim is connected.

I think that Bitch Ph.D has picked upon the wrong thing for her argument here.

I don’t see the appeal myself for these action figures designed for adults and they are very much a niche product that as opposed to movies have little to no impact on society at large. I believe that had she not written about it then virtually the entire readership of Bitch Ph.D would never have known that such a thing as a Rapist No.1 action figure even existed.

Digital cinema

The Guardian: Celluloid dreams set to disappear in a digital puff

Before long film will be but a memory at your local cinema as reel projectors are replaced with newer, sharper digital systems.

I think that digital projection will be a great boon for cinemas and the independent movie industry. I think it will be quite a long time until the projection of film is phased out completely, we at The Little Theatre will be running both systems alongside one another for the foreseeable future.

One great advantage of digital projection is the lower distribution costs for the medium as currently the cost of a producing a single print of film is thousands of pounds plus there is the substantial courier costs for transporting 10 000 feet of polyester film (celluloid was discontinued decades ago). Digital ‘films’ will be distributed on hard drives and therefore will be of the order of £100 rather than thousands.

Lower costs will mean that more independent movies will be able to get a wide release among cinemas across the country. Better choice for the moviegoer and better chance for the small movie producers to compete against the big boys.