I’m writing this on my lunch break, as I walk back from Dudley’s main leisure park. I’m making the walk alone, so that prompts all sorts of unexpected thoughts. Like, for instance, how a short walk manages to cover the Hollywood history of Dudley.
Admittedly that’s not altogether expansive. We have a 14 screen multiplex (now with 3D!) that was the birthplace of my current social group. We went to see The Fellowship of the Ring there, a long time ago, and, with various changes of personnel, are still friends now. The cinema is, of course, oblivious to that fact, but I’m grateful anyway.
(Jeff Goldblum visited there once. I remember he commented on the nearby McDonalds.)
Not that Dudley’s Hollywood history begins and ends with my social life. That sculpture commemorates James Whale. Never heard of him? Well, you’re familiar with his work because he directed one of the most iconic films of all time, the Boris Karloff version of Frankenstein. But yet again that has a personal connection – Frankenstein and its movie versions were the partial basis of my dissertation all those years ago, several thousand words on literature and theories of adaptation. I’m not convinced you’d want to read it but the chapter titles were cool.
Lunch is nearly over, but here’s one last landmark. That’s the body of the old Odeon, a place I remember from the childhood of the blockbuster and the dying days of the intermission. That’s where I first went to see a film without my mom – Transformers: The Movie. It’s been a long time since there was a cinema there – it was a Mecca Bingo for a good few years – but it’ll always be the Odeon to me, and I can’t help believing that there remain inside tattered movie posters and desiccated reels of film and echoes of a world that passed away when I was a child.