Something Simple

Published on 08 September 2014


The Outdoor Cinema in Castle Quay was extremely popular this year, with screenings of The Goonies, Brief Encounter, A Hard Days Night and Labyrinth. Locals were joined by people visiting from out of town bearing picnics and rugs to soak up the atmosphere while watching some classic films. Nooshin Hassan came to see A Hard Days Night, and wrote a nice piece on her experience which recently appeared in the Times & Citizen.

Recently I went to an outdoor cinema for the first time. I’d never heard of the concept until I saw it advertised for limited viewings. None of my friends could make it, the weather had turned cooler, and rain was forecast for that evening, but I planned to go regardless. I packed my picnic blanket, fleece-lined waterproof, a flask of tea and some chocolate, and off I went.

I walked through cafes and restaurants before emerging in to a clearing; a grassy area in front of a large screen and a projector, with glass jars housing candles all along one wall. People were starting to settle themselves in to their perfect viewing spot and their preparations made mine look rather amateurish; they had brought deck chairs, sleeping bags, full-scale picnics and even a bottle of champagne! I snuggled in to my blanket, tucking it all around me as protection from the breeze, and sipped my tea as people continued to arrive.

A hush descended as the man in charge got up to start the film. Black and white images appeared on the screen and our ‘Hard Day’s Night’ experience began. This was to be my first Beatles’ film, and whilst I’d been warned that the films themselves were nothing spectacular, being a Beatle’s fan meant I didn’t want to be disappointed. But how could anyone be disappointed with so many Beatle’s tracks crammed in to the film (even if some of them cut off quite randomly or merged clumsily into the next song). At the end of the film everyone clapped, and it struck me how such simple pleasures could be enjoyed- and appreciated- by all.

As people packed up I noticed that the audience was quite a mixed bag; young and old, couples, friends, other lone viewers such as me, and yet we had all been united by the simple joy of watching a film and enjoying the music. Even the kids had stayed quiet during the entire film (admittedly some had fallen asleep). How wonderful life could be if we could all make more of such uncomplicated happy times. I use the word ‘uncomplicated’ because perhaps we do over-complicate things sometimes. In today’s world it’s never been easier to communicate with someone, and yet it’s often apparent that we don’t do this effectively. Forms and procedures everywhere can overly-complicate plans and activities which should be less demanding- anyone who’s tried searching for and then booking accommodation online might testify to this!

As I left the outdoor cinema I felt happy and excited- excited that it is still possible to unite people in a fairly easy and lovely way. On top of that, the rain had held off and night had a certain glow to it. As I walked back through the buildings now cast in the light of the street-lamps, and the night still with a few patches of clear blue visible amongst the clouds, I felt I had been part of something rather special.

Film lovers: look out for this year's Bedford Film Festival taking place 26th - 28th September, supporting film variety in Bedford, bedfordfilmfestival.org

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