Currie’s Corner 616, April 19th 2018
I don’t go to the movies very often any more. There just doesn’t seem to be that many pictures that I really want to see, and in the immortal words of the late Robert Mitchum “Where would I park?”
Sitting in the dark watching larger than life moving images on a screen still remains one of the greatest joys of my life, but it’s not nearly as special these days. Things started to go downhill when I was 13 and my favourite neighbourhood theatre was turned into a bowling alley.
Now we have multiplexes where the same mindless blockbuster is playing on four different screens, and before the feature and the previews, they hit you with 5 minutes of loud commercials that have nothing to do with movies. More often than not I’m happier to stay home and watch whatever I choose on our 50 inch flatscreen. But this past week has seen some interesting stories about movie theatres.
For the first time in 35 years, the public is now allowed to watch movies in theatres in Saudi Arabia. To call that oil kingdom ‘conservative’ is a major understatement. Things are changing though under the country’s new boss, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Women are allowed to drive, and go to movies with men. There goes the neighbourhood.
The Saudis are also well aware that they have to diversify their economy. They continue to enjoy unspeakable wealth as the world’s largest oil producer, but the end of all that might not be as far off as we might have imagined. Cars without drivers, than run on electricity rather than gasoline ? Houses that produce more energy than they consume thanks to solar panels and wind turbines ?
Those are the kind of futuristic fantasies I used to watch long ago in that neighbourhood picture palace. Kinda makes you wonder why we’re fighting over pipelines in western Canada. I mean, will they really be needed that much longer ?
I’m Roger Currie