25 June 2023


An admirable Daughter was lunching us both in a French  restaurant along the South side of George Street a couple of months ago. Quite unnecessarily, she apologised for the view.

I peered across; the cinema wall opposite was horizontally striped with red brick and white concrete. 

But ... hey ... this was the style of the Thirties. Hither flocked the shop-girls and their admirers; within, they wallowed in their fantasies of Love. Here, a girl agonised in her weekly fear that He would be so unimaginative as to keep his hands to himself, just because she told him to.

Earlier, there was a Mission Church on this spot called S George's. It fell derelict; was sold off; was demolished. In 1936, the cinema was built. Yes; 1936 ... Year of Mrs Simpson ... Coronations ... .

"Darling", I retorted, "it's not boring: it's Art Deco".

When that cinema began its flickering life, it was called the Ritz. Quite rightly. The customers were hankering after the glamour of the 'film stars' and of the tall dark men into whose eyes they looked up; and 'Ritz' evoked the High Life of the International Fast Set.

I suspect there may be a humble monograph lurking in the changing names of (surviving) English cinemas, as they have sought to reflect the delightfully transient aspirations of each era. Waugh reveals to us a similar situation far away in the Neutralian city of Bellacita, "The Hotel 22nd March was the name, derived from some forgotten event in the Marshal's rise to power, by which the chief hotel of the place was momentarily graced. It had had as many official names in its time as the square in which it stood -- the Royal, the Reform, the October Revolution, the Empire, the President Coolidge, the Duchess of Windsor -- according to the humours of local history, but Neutralians invariably spoke of it quite simply as the 'Ritz'".


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father An admirable Daughter was lunching us both...

Well, so much for you being a pedant when it comes to your use of grammar.

Banshee said...

Btw, please pray for the Ordinariate folks in Orlando.

Somebody apparently took exception to the pro-life banner out front, or to its general Catholic-ness, and set fire to Incarnation Catholic Church (aka the Church of the Incarnation) yesterday night. They had Mass today in the church hall.

A picture of Mary inside the church was untouched by the fire.


Matthew F Kluk said...

☹️🙏Saint Michael the Archangel defend us.

Percy said...

The color of that brick changes in elevation, another Art Deco technique - darker maroon nearer the ground level, lighter in tone with higher elevations - and uses running bond (rather than the English bond of the older buildings on the south side of the street):


Chrysologos said...


lunch: v.t. to provide lunch for
Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary 1972

Aegidius said...

Likewise the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary [the 2-volume one]

"v.t. provide lunch for. L19."

So it's been in use in this sense for at least 123 years.

[The 12-volume Oxford English Dictionary is similar, but I find my copy in tiny type difficult to read these days]]

David J Critchley said...

pros Chrysologon: I lunched the crocodile?

Marc in Eugene said...

The first citation in the OED.

1892 Temple Bar Dec. 578 [She] does her duty... warmly by her country friends-- lunching, tea-ing, and dining them.

Perhaps, though, Mick Jagger etc doesn't admit colloquial use as determinative?