Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Regent has no clothes

The Regent Cinema is being demolished.

I know a number of people who are very passionate about keeping the Regent as it is. Indeed it's coming down to D-day and the last ditch attempts to get someone in power to drop their balls are underway. They think it's a travesty that such an important part of Brisbane's heritage is being removed.

(pic by sanchom)

Luckily, it's not.

That is to say... it's not going to be demolished. It already has been. And it was indeed a travesty.

The Regent was build in the 1930s but in the 1980s the cinemas out the back and the entryway were renovated. There was a huge outpouring of concern that such an important building was going to be violated but this was in the days of Sir Joe so we're lucky it didn't become a car-park.

The battle to keep the Regent in its original condition was lost thirty years ago.

But what about the foyer? Well it remains as it was back in the thirties. It's also heritage listed so they can't touch that. The renovations destined to turn the place into office space and two tiny theatres will take place around that grand old room leaving it untouched.

What a waste of space.

Look, call me heartless but I've never been one for saving old buildings. These creations are but the blink in the eye geographically speaking. They have all the permanence of a sand castle in the long term. If the Regent foyer had value it would be being used, but you know what people value more than grand old architecture?

$6 movie tickets.

Turns out we're happy to wander past painted fibro in the suburbs to get to our movie theatres if it means we pay $6 instead of $14. And what's more? How good are those new cinema seats where you can pull the armrest up or put your drink in it? It's function over form and 'by gum' is it functional.

"Oh, but the HISTORY of the foyer" they call out.

What history? Eighty years of selling shitty confectionary at outrageously marked up prices? Eighty years of dropped choc-tops and 7 year olds crying because they've had too many malteasers? The magic of the movies takes place in the dark, not in the line up to the candy bar.

Although next time we're out there, get me to point out the bullet holes in the ceiling. It would be a shame to lose those.
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