Saga Louts invade the Electric Cinema

For our wedding anniversary I booked a sofa at The Electric Cinema to see The Grand Bucharest Hotel. We went to the Wednesday Matinee as later we were dining at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill. We don’t do gifts we do experiences to celebrate special occasions.

I have written before about how I struggle with cinemas and the behaviour of the people in them, which prompted me to write about why I avoid cinemas. When I do go I choose times that I hope is too early for the yobs to be up, usually the first showing on a Sunday morning. It still doesn’t stop people taking toddlers to see 12A films which I ranted about here in my guide to cinema etiquette.

The Electric is a small independent cinema and the people who tend to go are there to watch ‘intelligent mainstream,independent, foriegn and classic films’. i.e. They don’t go to snog, indulge in heavy petting or throw sweets at the audience. Here I expect to be able to watch a film without anyone talking, texting or fornicating.

Yet on the last two visits, I have been severely let down by the clientele. Last time it was a couple who thought having a sofa would be a chance to indulge in a snog, and, that the film Before Midnight would be erotic as there was some nudity in it. They also seemed to disapprove of anyone over 30 as the looks we got from them were to kill. Not only were there people on the next sofa to them but they were old people. Halfway through they left thank goodness, after spending the first half on Facebook.

This time is was the turn of the Saga Louts to annoy me. Saga Louts with tech. Tech they couldn’t use. Lazy Saga Louts.

Let me explain. If you book certain sofas at The Electric you have the option of ordering food and drinks by text and have it delivered to you. I have mixed feeling about this to be honest. It is a novelty, and is convenient, but IMHO why? If you are on a sofa in Screen 1 you are les than 20 steps to the bar. If you get there early, ie before the film starts, you can order what you want and take it in with you, settle down and not interrupt anyone once the film starts. And, for those that know me, I am the slowest texter on this planet, so by the time I had remembered what sofa I was on, checked the menu and texted the order, the credits would be rolling and I would have missed the film.

This is what the Sage Louts did.

They were on the Harlow sofa and we were on the Baker Sofa.

The Electic Cinema Screen 1 Image from their web site

The Electric Cinema Screen 1 Image from their web site

You can see how close they were to the exit. The Box Office and bar is located very near to this exit. As they sat down the woman asked her male companion if they were going to get a drink. He told her that there was waiter service. The lights had dimmed and the adverts had started, so to see the menu they had to use one of their smart  phones to read the menu. Then they had a long and loud discussion about what to order. I am surprised the bar staff did not hear them and bring the order through there and then to put them and me out of our misery.

They begin to text hunt and peck the order. He cannot see his keypad so she uses her phone as a torch to help him.

At this stage I am losing the will to live. I can see the funny side. It would make a great comedy sketch.

Here comes the BUT. In bullet points. And it is all about me.

  • I am here to see a film
  • I chose this cinema to see a film with like minded people
  • I paid a lot of money to have a sofa
  • It is our wedding anniversary
  • It is my birthday
  • Get off your fat asses and walk ten paces to the bar and place your bloody order

The film starts, they are still faffing. I am distracted.

Finally they settle, shut up, put phones and spectacles and torch away. Yes she had a bloody torch with her. It wasn’t her phone.

Oh flip, I just realised I carry a torch in my handbag.

Ten minutes later their order hasn’t arrived so he get off his ass, and walks ten paces to the bar to enquire where it is.

Saga Louts.

The Electric Cinema needs a door policy. Here are my suggestions.

  • have you been here before?
  • you do realise it is not longer a porn cinema (yes it used to be)
  • no this is not the lap dancing club (they get asked this all the time)
  • have you booked a sofa?
  • you know the sofas don’t mean you can make out, right?
  • do you know how to text?
  • if the answer is no we have to take your refreshment order now please
  • if the answer is yes, you can use you phone to order food and drink but not to text your mates
  • go to the loo before the film starts
  • we don’t show loads of trailers so take you seat now please (this advice is on their web site)
  • you may be a hipster (really) but old people ie over 55 like films too and they grew up in the sixties and seventies mate so are already way cooler than you will ever be
  • while cooler than a hipster, people over 55 are usually crap at texting so place your order now please
  • put your torch away
  • and don’t talk at all through the film

That is all.

Disclaimer: I am over 55 (just) and lived on the Kings Road in the sixties. I have a Saga insurance policy. I don’t hate young people or hipsters (I dont actually know what a hipster is). I can’t text. I am probably a grumpy old woman. I don’t care, I wear purple, have red shoes instead of a red hat and eat sausages and butter. I have not yet run my stick along the public railings. I am however my mothers daughter so let that be a Warning to you. Yup. I like to offer a poem now and then.

PS The film was very good. Go and see it.

Cinemas and why I avoid them

There are only three places I enjoy seeing films, they are, in this order:

The Roxy, Miramar (with Tim and Jo-Anne for company and after a fab meal at Coco’s)

The Electric Cinema, Birmingham (only if I get the big sofa and a loved up couple don’t sit next to me)

At home

I just hate going to the cinema. I recently wrote a blog post,  A guide to cinema etiquette about why I hate going but the family persuaded me that I would enjoy seeing The World’s End. As it was into the second week and has a 15 rating, most of the things that annoy me would be absent as it is a bit of a geeky film. This not to say that geeks will not break any of my rules, they are just less likely to. And I was right, none of my rules were breached.

Yet now I need to add more reasons not to go.

It is mind numbingly expensive.

£7 per adult. £21 for the three of us. We usually go for a morning showing for many reasons, one of them is that it is cheaper (£4).The other is to avoid the idiots who share a brain cell. While it is more expensive to go to The Electric, especially if you go for the sofa option, I do not resent a penny when I go there, as it is an independent, and the risk of any of my rules being broken is limited.  Except for last time, but my glares worked eventually and they left.

The food is of appalling quality and very expensive.

We chose to go for a 12.30 showing and I made the mistake of saying we would get food there. I would not be breaking my no eating during the film rule as we always get in to the cinema before the ads start. I had forgotten (I go so rarely) how much cinemas charge for crap food. (I have just looked at the nutritional values of the hot dog I ate and now know why I felt so ill later). Two hot dogs, one nachos and two diet cokes came to about £20 and a migraine.

It was too hot. And I am not complaining about the weather.

We were told, as we show our tickets, that Screen 10, where our film was to be shown, had no air conditioning. Normally in the UK this would not be a major issue (as it is always cold and wet here), except that we are experiencing a bit of a heatwave right now in England. Sunny Birmingham has averaged 28 degrees most days and the nights have been muggy. The nice people at the Odeon would refund us if we were too hot and left the screening in the first hour.

Odeon people, you are charging a fortune for entry and crap food so spend it on the air con or close the screens affected.

There had been a storm the previous day so the temperature had dropped a little, I was in a cotton dress and I had a fan with me. And my cold expensive cola. So I just about coped with the heat.

I eventually stopped grumbling and to the relief of the family I really enjoyed the film. It was funny and sad and thought-provoking. A bit laddish, not unsurprisingly, and hey we have all been there, wishing we could go back to some fixed points in time when we didn’t have a care in the world.  I liked it and I could happily watch it again. But not at the Odeon Birmingham Broadway Plaza. #indielove is not just for shops and coffee houses, it seems it is for the cinema too.

A guide to cinema etiquette

I never thought I may have to add to this after a visit to The Electric Cinema, and on a sofa! Gah. I will be and hope the people who talked and texted all through Before Midnight get banned.


After a lot of deliberation I decided to go with my family on Saturday to see Ironman 3. It is rated 12A so I was shocked to see so many very young children there. Really, do you want your 5 year to witness gun violence? Not only is some of the content  too violent for children, the dialogue and the plot is too complicated to follow for an under 12. If your child is not traumatised they will be bored.

I love movies, I used to love going to the cinema. I have fond memories of going to see the Sound of Music at The Gaumont in Birmingham. The whole family went and it was a experience that we appreciated and had anticipated for weeks.

Not any more. I dread going.

This is why.

People do not behave properly at the cinema any more.

Here is my guide to…

View original post 467 more words

The £53 test results are in!

At the beginning of April I decided to track our spending for the month. Like many others I was pretty angry after Iain Duncan Smith claimed he could live on £53 per week ‘if he had to’. Lots of other people did the experiment for a week, journos mainly, to sell papers. They boasted how they blagged meals from friends and relatives to make ends meet and how tough it was not to have a pint after work. They didn’t do it for a month, or take into account all the other things most of us have to pay for, such as heat, light, council tax, rent or a mortgage. I did, and I kept a record for 30 days.

I also pledged to buy local for all my groceries. I don’t have access to a car most of the week, I therefore walk to my local high street, buying only what I can carry. I like to support independent traders yet as we do not have a green grocers, I buy most of my vegetables from the Aldi Super 6 to keep down costs.

Sad person that I am I entered everything we spent on food, pet food (we have two cats and two chickens) toiletries, cleaning products, fuel for the car, clothes and incidentals such as the overwhelming need my husband had for a new sat nav!

This was not an experiment to see if it was possible to live on £53 a week. I just wanted to see what we spent and on what.

On food shopping (excluding any eating out but including the traditional Friday chips) I spent £290. That works out at £3.23 per person per day for three adults. I haven’t factored in that I have also been providing half board for the French Student for 16 days, that sometimes The Lodger eats with us (once or twice a week), my daughter was here for a weekend and that the Bulgarian Student joined us in homemade pizza night once this month. I could go back to my spread sheet and do the math but I am not that sad. A guesstimate therefore is that the average spend on food per person is £2.70 per day.


Our other essentials, such as mortgage, bills, and diesel for the car I calculated at £170. Pet food is £30. There were other bits and bobs I bought such as some pillows, a jug and some weighing scales, the sat nav and some clothes totalling £30. All in all my rounded up figure for April is £510. For 3 people that is just under £170 per week per person. And I have just realised that I haven’t counted the big spend last weekend on going to the cinema, lunch afterwards and the take out curry! 

It seems that this family cannot live on £53 per week. Taking out the spending on luxuries such as the sat nav, clothes and the bits and bobs reduces living costs to £116. We would have to drastically change our eating habits, not have an open fire, turn off the heating and lose the cable and internet if, like IDS, we had to. 

I consider myself lucky, I don’t have to. I hope I never will have to. This blog by A Girl Called Jack was recommended to me. Read it. Have some tissues ready. And count your blessings.

A guide to cinema etiquette

After a lot of deliberation I decided to go with my family on Saturday to see Ironman 3. It is rated 12A so I was shocked to see so many very young children there. Really, do you want your 5 year to witness gun violence? Not only is some of the content  too violent for children, the dialogue and the plot is too complicated to follow for an under 12. If your child is not traumatised they will be bored.

I love movies, I used to love going to the cinema. I have fond memories of going to see the Sound of Music at The Gaumont in Birmingham. The whole family went and it was a experience that we appreciated and had anticipated for weeks.

Not any more. I dread going.

This is why.

People do not behave properly at the cinema any more.

Here is my guide to how to behave at a cinema. Similar rules apply at a concert and the theatre.

If it is classified as a 12A don’t bring your toddler. Really don’t.

This is guidance from the British Board of Film Classification website. Read the full guidance here. 12A means that anyone aged 12 or over can go and see the film unaccompanied. The A stands for ‘accompanied’ and ‘advisory’. Children younger than 12 may see the film if they are accompanied by an adult (eg someone over the age of 18), who must watch the film with them. 

What’s the difference between 12 and 12A?

The 12 certificate is just for videos, DVDs and Blu-rays. 12A is for films at the cinema only.

Is there a lower age limit for a 12A film?

No. However, the BBFC considers the content of 12A rated films to be suitable for children aged 12 and over, and we would not recommend taking very young children to see them. Works classified at these categories may upset children under 12 or contain material which many parents will find unsuitable for them. An adult may take a younger child if, in their judgement, the film is suitable for that particular child. To help adults make this decision, we provide BBFCinsight for all films.

If you throw sweets at me I will get you thrown out. All 20 of you.

If you talk, even during the trailers I will look at you and if you continue I will get huffy. I may also get you thrown out.

Don’t snog (yuk) and definitely no heavy petting. Double Yuk.

Please arrive before the film starts, preferably before the lights go down.

If you arrive late, don’t choose a seat in the middle of the row. I want to watch the film not your ass. 

Don’t make a noise while eating. Better still don’t eat during the film.

I presume you don’t throw litter on your sitting room floor at home so why do it in the cinema?

Turn your mobile phone off. No, not on silent. Off. You are here to watch a film, aren’t you?

Teach your children how to behave in a cinema.

Read the credits, all of them.

I long for the days when there was a B movie, a break to use the loo and get an ice cream then settle in for the feature film. Do you remember the interval in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? A real cliff hanger moment! A proper cinema, no litter and people who are there because they love the whole movie experience.  An experience you still get at The Electric Cinema in Birmingham or The Roxy Cinema in Wellington.

And of course bring back these! Mom as an usherette No messing with these ladies. The one far right, front row, that is my mom!

Not blogger of the year

Well we are in New Zealand now. Lost three days here due to QANTAS, nuff said.

Not blogged due to rubbish expensive wifi on excellent campsites, or lack of time at excellent, FREE wifi hotspots at NZ libraries and info centres.

Lovely country. Will reflect more when I have time, right now in camper, in Blenheim, post wine tasting! It’s raining.

Paid too much for wifi so must use it!

Today visited a little museum that hosts Peter Jacksons Aviation hoard and a vintage car museum. Then chilled over wine tasting and great food at Wither Hills vineyard. Lingered all day.

As I’m on the effing iPad will post photos separately. Don’t get me started, Apple!

Love NZ. Love WETA xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Can’t post photos at WETA!! Saw some props from The Hobbit.

Highlight was a visit to The Roxy where we dined and saw a film with the co owners!

Got to see Oscars and BAFTA awards. Yay.

Plus other stuff. Wellington. Rocks.