As a sixteen-year-old I worked as a dental nurse in Nowra. The surgery is opposite the old Roxy theatre, where it wasn’t unusual for me to be seen the four or five times a week. I had a Granton card which knocked the extravagant price of six dollars, down to four dollars per session. Clocking off work at five o’clock meant I was just in time for the 5:10 session of whatever was playing. Courtesy of being brought up an only child, I never feared going to the movies alone. The cinema was pink and grotesque, decked out with fibreglass Roman statues of decadent gods that would not approve of the tastelessly distributed Rococo and Art Deco details in the plaster work. There was a candy bar downstairs that did not overcharge for their wares.
Years later when I moved to Sydney and found myself at my grandparents house in the western-suburbs of Sydney, my movie fetish continued. My favourite thing was to grab some hot food, sneak it into the cinema and watch some movie that I had heard nothing about. I was always pleasantly surprised. I never got caught, always managing to take my feet off the seats and hide my food whenever an usher checked the aisles (an activity I haven’t seen in a long time). There was a Roxy cinema in Parramatta that had the same gawdy decorative style as the Roxy in Nowra and the uncomfortable vinyl seats and wooden floors.
My grandmother, who was also a movie buff even tried to share secrets about how to get more bang for your buck. “You know what you should do, when you finish watching one movie, you just go inside another cinema, they won’t notice.” She even tried to convince me that in senior citizen week I should dress up as an old woman, so I could see as many movies as I wanted for free.
These days the movie experience seems to be quite similar with some interesting developments. Hot food can be taken into the cinema (legally). Seats are becoming more luxurious and comfy. Some cinemas have converted seats to lazy-boy style recliners. Cinema as an event is on the rise. Events like Moonlight Cinema, Chicks at the Flicks and other interactive movie experiences are breaking down the traditional cinemascape and creating a space that is more liquid and user focused. With sensory theatre experiences on offer—for a price.
This week our task was to go to the cinema, which sounds simple, but as it quite often turns out was beyond my capabilities within this time frame. My efforts to get to the cinema in the last week read like an omage to Hägerstrand. Swedish geographer ‘Hägerstrand’s time-geographic concepts relate to how and why individuals, in one or more populations, link to each other and move (or are moved) between places which are the cornerstones of transport research.’Ellegård and Svedin (2012, p.20)
So Hagerstrand’s theorem in practice, and in relation to my planned excursion to the movies relates as follows:
1.Can I get there? = no I cannot
2. Can I correlate times? = no I could not
3. Can I get in? = if I could have, I would have
The truth is before having children I was an avid movie goer. I would always choose the cinema over viewing at home. One of those freaky people who like to go to see random movies by themselves, I was sneaking in hot food before you were allowed to (even butter chicken, which is NOT a good idea).
But my efforts to go to the cinema this week were dashed.
Why couldn’t I get there?
I have classes four days a week, most days only getting home in enough time to pick up my children from school. As a single parent, I am the only one who is available to pick my children up from school. Then, there was a birthday party all day Saturday which was adorable, but inconvenient. But there was cake, which justified all inconvenience caused.
Sunday’s excuse is I was extremely ill with flu/asthma, going to the movies would just be plain rude (coughing through the movie is another ‘no’)
Is it about time?
ABSOLUTELY. With not enough time available between returning from university and picking up the children I was unable to visit the cinema.
While my usual barrier in this category is money, this week it was not. I could have taken my children to the movies with me, but there was nothing that we hadn’t seen that was for children, therefore, classification became an authority barrier.
So instead, I sat on a Sunday, on my messy bed, folding the clothes I just took off the line, wiping my nose & pitching the dirty tissues at the bamboo bin in the corner of my room. My cinematic experience was being provided by my laptop stationed on the corner of my bed. I was pressing pause every time I went to put something in the drawer in the next room. Netflix is my ever obliging box office, it is always open and never judges me when I fall asleep. It even holds my place when my kids interrupt me convinced that I MUST come to the lounge room and watch their latest dance concoction. You see, real life is so much better than what’s on the screen.
Ellegård, K and Swedin, U, 2012, ‘Torsten Hägerstrand’s time-geography as the cradle of the activity approach in transport geography’,Journal of Transport Geography,
vol.23, p.p. 17-25