Yesterday was a sad day: 2 January 2021. Our local cinema closed. We moved into the area in 1985, when The Trak and its associated video store (remember those?) had been open for 10 years. I won’t say we moved here because of The Trak, but it was one of the factors.
Its three screens occupied the upper floor of a modest commercial building. Nothing fancy, no art deco styling, no sweeping staircase. It’s close to the mighty Burnside Village shopping centre, which is about to be expanded – with a cinema complex to be added. Although The Trak specialised in non-mainstream films it could probably not have survived competition from across the road. But it was Covid-19 that delivered the killing blow.
We went to the last show of all, of course, and bought chocolate coated ice-cream cones at the candy bar. We’d become used to being the only two people, perhaps with one or two others scattered around the auditorium, but last night most of the seats were filled. The show was a 1957 film called ‘The Smallest Show on Earth’ whose cast list is a Who’s Who of British comedy in the 1950s. Appropriately it was about a young couple who inherit a small, dilapidated cinema and try to make a go of it.
There was not a dry eye in the house when the final credits played, even though it was a comedy. Adam (pictured above), the owner, gave a final speech and explained why he had not closed the curtain that covers the screen. This is a cinema tradition, signifying that resurrection is not impossible.
And indeed The Trak will live on, in name at least. Adam and his partner are looking for a new venue to lease; and if that fails they will try to run it on a ‘pop-up’ basis. Wherever, whenever, Mrs SG and I will there for the next show.