I went on a march last week, the first since my CND days – I just love a parade!
Around 300 people strolled along the Prom on a sunny but very chilly Wednesday morning. The only warm blooded creatures not affected by the cold appeared to be some of the magnificent dogs in attendance – I envied them their lush coats. The march was in support of keeping our Windmill Entertainment Centre open, with particular emphasis on the retention of the cinema, due to close in mid-February. As you would expect midweek, most of the folk there were not exactly youngsters. Seven of my own younger movie-going friends, who wanted to attend, felt the need to go to work that morning slightly overshadowed their love of the cinema. And that is really what it is all about, the cinema. Entertainment facilities are sadly lacking in a town that once boasted three cinemas and two dance halls. The authorities continue to allow housebuilding, with no thought to the infrastructure needed, be it in the fields of medicine, schools, social welfare or entertainment, to support the people being attracted here. Councillor James Walsh braved the cold and spoke – without a microphone, so a bit difficult to hear at times – and said nothing would close without first being replaced. He appeared to lay the blame for the cinema closure firmly with Inspire Leisure, who run the whole complex. I would guess had they been there, Inspire would have questioned this. No getting away from it however, that the Arun councillors are, as our representatives, responsible for the effectiveness of Inspire and while the blame game is being played out, we lose out. The projector issue, I would argue, is a red herring of Agatha Christie proportions. Movies are, and will be for some time, available in the format currently in use at the Windmill and either Arun or Inspire should be ensuring that it is used and not abandoned by closure of a much enjoyed facility. And that digital projector, the maguffin of the piece? Well, one or the other should soon dig deep and buy us one!