Grateful for a hidden gem of a cinema

ALTHOUGH Rosalyn Ziebell and Annie Mannion quite rightly point out that our Odeon cinema in the town centre doesn’t exactly cater for the art-house crowd, I wonder if they’ve visited the Electric Palace in the Old Town.

This charming cinema shows an eclectic mix of films, from the obscure to family favourites.

Earlier this year, I went to see The Great White Silence, the account of Robert Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in 1910-1913.

Not only does this wonderfully photographed film portray an extraordinary story, it was shot at the time of the expedition with equipment and in conditions that today’s film-makers (David Attenborough aside, of course) would surely baulk at.

On Sunday afternoon, in common with the rest of the audience, I blubbed my way through It’s A Wonderful Life, Frank Capra’s quintessential Christmas movie starring James Stewart and Donna Reed.

Its theme is that we all touch others’ lives for the better in ways we don’t necessarily realise.

After the film, my beloved and I sauntered arm-in-arm to the town centre for refreshments and found ourselves drawn to The Clarence pub by the sounds of The Sands Quintet, who were playing the most delightful jazz-tinged Christmas songs and other melodies made popular by Frank Sinatra.

There were perhaps 10 of us in the audience but the band, far from being discouraged, played out of their skins and provided a memorable evening for all of us.

During the second half, the singer introduced a guest guitarist who clearly enjoyed himself and, I’m sure he won’t mind me saying, needed the practice.

Although many of us have difficult lives with job and money worries, health and relationship difficulties and the like, there’s so much for us to be thankful for.

So, my resolution for 2012 is to make best use of the resources at my disposal and not to complain (not too much, anyway) about what I don’t have.

Merry Christmas to all at the Observer and to all readers.

DAVID PICKLES

St Helen’s Park Road