Friday, 3 February 2012

Aden: Random Memories 7: The Cinema

The cinema was still popular at this time. When we lived in Innsworth I went to the Astra to see films. I especially remember ‘The King and I’ and particularly the scene between the King and Anna as they dance. The rest of the film was not so memorable.
Well, we saw films as a family in Aden at both Astra cinemas, Steamer Point and Khormaksar. This was film going with a difference, we were in the open air. Enclosed by the cinema walls and the dark night sky above, the huge images projected onto the screen, this was unique movie going.
For Tom and Jerry cartoons, I was very good and sat up very straight! The night we saw the Hope and Crosby ‘Road to Hong Kong’ had me laughing until my sides ached. We went to see ‘South Pacific’, my mother had seen it on stage in London and loved it very much. I recall being bored rigid by it and not understanding why the colours in the film went all funny whenever people started singing. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful and didn’t say anything negative, but I felt better when my mother said she was very disappointed by the movie and Mitzi Gaynor was not as good as Mary Martin.
There were other movies, but most have made no lasting impression on me, and I am not intending to turn this into a critical review of cinema of that time for an ordinary child living in extraordinary circumstances. Only one other movie deserves mention, Flower Drum Song. We had lived in Singapore and Hong Kong before, and watching a film full of (supposedly) Chinese people came as no surprise to me. Perhaps, for the first time in my life I felt a nostalgic twinge (of course I didn’t realise that’s what it was at the time), and that home was not necessarily where everybody, or the vast majority, was white.
I have many places I think of as home to varying degrees such as Gloucester, Singapore, Hong Kong, Aden, Cottesmore and Stanmore. My brother, ten years my junior, sadly was never with us on an overseas posting, and although he too led a nomadic life, that was only in Britain. Like me he has an affinity with Gloucester and the rugby and takes great delight when Bath is soundly thrashed!

© 2012 Gwailo54


Andy Fletcher said...

enjoyed reading brought back memories was also out there 65-66 dad was in RAF lived in mali and khormaska I was 8-9 specially enjoyed elephant bay and the forces mess cinema was special as open air

Tim The Nomad said...

Andy, if you have any images from that time post them. It's amazing what there is on the web. I've seen home movie footage from Aden. That was brilliant stuff.

I've still to come across others who went to school at Steamer Point. I can't be the only pupil from then nostalgic for their childhood?

If anybody knows Colin Birch from that time, I want to say hello again. Colin, you were my best friend. I remember making up crosswords with you. Only one other friend was anything like as good as you.