Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Class Conscious: The Cinema Has Become the Scene of Ugly, Vicious Class Confrontations

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Class Conscious: The Cinema Has Become the Scene of Ugly, Vicious Class Confrontations

Article excerpt

"Please switch off your mobile phones," reads the warning before the film is shown, and in my opinion it would be a good idea to add the words, "... and shut-up." There is a certain kind of middle-class person who gets very steamed up by people talking in cinemas, and I'm one of them. I usually move a couple of times before settling on what looks like a quiet seat, and I seldom go to see a film that's likely to be fully booked, because then I'll be trapped, usually in front of a chair-kicker or a person who talks before the adverts, talks during the adverts, talks over the film's opening credits (I'm becoming tense just writing this), talks during the opening shots of the film, in which there may not be any dialogue, and continues talking when the dialogue begins.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Then there are other people who graciously break off from their own conversations during the on-screen dialogue, but then feel it is their right to talk during the interludes between dialogue. They see this as a good compromise between aesthetic appreciation and having a chat with their mates.

I avoid certain cinemas altogether, and seek out ones where the audience is likely to be quite genteel. One such is the Everyman in Hampstead, one of the few cinemas I know that has a wine list. Going to the Everyman is like watching a film in a very plush Hampstead flat. There's a gallery where, for a supplementary charge, you can watch the film from a leather armchair with a drink brought to you by a waiter.

Yet there was a punch-up in the gallery at the Everyman last week, when a couple trying to watch Bridget Jones told three young women (all apparently "Hampstead types") to be quiet. One of the women replied that, if the couple wanted peace and quiet, "they should go to the opera", then hit the complainant. The duty manager, the complainant complained, seemed "a bit out of his depth". …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.