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'".