Cinema experiences – Kino Hawkhurst and Electric Palace Hastings

No, sorry, I have not as yet been to the new Kino in Rye. We’ll go very soon and I’ll report back.
     Last week we went to the cinema twice – unusual for us. We’d made an attempt to go to the Kino in Hawkhurst the previous week – it is usually a quick and simple journey, along the quiet, straight road via Sedlescombe, but on that particular day the A21 was closed due to flooding, and the traffic had been diverted onto the back roads. We crawled along in pouring rain behind a huge lorry carrying a crane, and although the road is straight, there was never enough clear space to overtake.  Arrived in Hawkhurst only to find all seats for the film, ‘The Imitation Game’, were sold out. Surprisingly, we weren’t even all that cross, but, determined to see the film, booked seats for this week.
     We very much like the Kino.  It has wonderfully comfortable high-back squishy seats with loads of legroom, handy cup/glass holders for the flat white or the Sancerre, a nice little cafe-bar, and an outside terrace area for summer evenings.  It is good to enjoy a bit of luxury. Although, don’t get me wrong, I’m not altogether turning my nose up at our own Hastings Odeon. However, those sticky floors, that sickly pong of popcorn and nachos, and the constant slurping, chomping, rustling and chatting from other members of the audience do get a bit wearing.
      The Hawkhurst Kino audience is posh. While we were waiting for the film to start Philosopher and I were speculating that the oast-houses of rural Kent would be deserted.  Many lonely labradors would be huddled against many Agas in red-flagged kitchens. (Kitchens probably fitted by Smallbone of Devizes. Does anyone know anyone who has such a kitchen? I just like the name.)  Anyway, being posh does not rule out loud haw haw talking, or stumbling up and down across rows of legs without realising you could just walk round the end.

Kino – comfy seats!
Kino terrace
Kino in Hawkhurst – old Lecture Hall


Outside the Building

     But what of the film? I had trouble from the start in that I don’t like Benedict Cumberbatch or Keira Knightly, and we both thought Turing was portrayed as just too clichéd autistic. We thought that the film-makers had tried too hard to beef up the story with dramatic happenings, which again, felt clichéd. It all felt a bit predictable.
      Anyway, I am looking forward to going to the new Kino in Rye, which has two screens, cafe-bar etc. It will be interesting to see the audience profile there. Parking might be a bit tricky for us non-Rye residents as the cinema is right at the top of the town, near the church.
      On Friday we went to the Electric Palace to see ‘Pride’, the film about LGBT people who supported the Miners’ Strike in 1984. I have lots of memories from that time – going on the ‘Saltley Gates’ march with Arthur Scargill, helping with benefit do’s etc.
     We had arranged to meet folk from the Writers’ Group there, and encountered other people we knew as well – that’s the thing with the Electric Palace and its audiences of boho Hastingas. While it is our local and we are fond of the place, it does not approach Kino luxury. The bum-numbing old and worn tip-up theatre seats are scarcely improved by the supplied cushions. The sound sometimes veers from the shrill to the boomy via over-loud or unintelligible. Some Hastingas favour the hairstyle I can only describe as erupting bees nest, and if you have one of those in front of you, views of the screen can be limited….
     However, Battleaxe always likes to accompany a film with the same slightly strange combination of a glass of wine plus a liquorice catherine-wheel, and the place has a cosy feel and a great atmosphere.

Electric Palace – a bit less luxurious!
Electric Palace

      So what of that film?  It was a real ‘feel-good’ movie, and enjoyable, but once again a bit full of clichés. The committed yet fun-loving gay folk, partying while the dread spectre of aids hangs over them… the miners and their families, initially so suspicious but then so warm and welcoming while having their grey Welsh horizons expanded, Imelda Staunton being cosily outrageous, Bill Nighy being fey etc etc. Our fellow audience members clearly loved it, and clearly all fired-up, applauded enthusiatically at the end. I’m not sure I could go that far.
      Went for a drink to the FILO afterwards. Philosopher and I used to go there fairly often, but have not been for ages.  It is an excellent pub, brews its own beer, quiet and friendly.

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