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Flashback

There are a couple of local cinemas in my area. However, most people usually go to just one - the Vue Cinema in Plymouth, myself included.

This is a habit I intend to change.

Vue have been taking advantage of their dominant position by applying continual price increases over the last couple of years. The final straw for me was booking a couple of tickets online, being charged a 60p booking fee for each ticket and the final price for two people coming to £15.

Cinema used to be a cheap and enjoyable way to pass an evening.

Having a look around at alternatives, I rediscovered an old cinema I hadn't been to for a long time - I guess it must be approximately 15 years. It's the "Reel" cinema, which was previously an Odeon cinema and prior to that might have been called the ABC, if I remember rightly.

Whilst the cinema had changed names, nothing inside is any different. It was exactly as it was when I last visited. It had the same faded carpet, the slightly over-ornate ceiling and wall fixtures, the curtains across the screen, decor from the 1960's and the same nasty pictures on the walls. Even the seats appeared to be the same, albeit with a lot more rips in them. I hate to think how many bums had sat on them. I have fond memories of going in there as a teenager with my friends - I remember lying about my age to see The Witches of Eastwick (I was 15 at the time). With hindsight, I'm not sure it was worth lying over.

As for the experience last week, it didn't change what we were watching - a film. And I doubt I would have enjoyed the film any more as a consequence of paying Vue's excessive prices - even on an Orange Wednesday (which still works out more expensive than The Reel).

Tickets were just £2.50 each, bringing an evening out back down to a more enjoyable fiver.

I think I'll probably go again. In the run-up to Christmas, there's a few good titles on the horizon and if I can avoid giving my money to Vue, I will. It's also worth noting that I'd rather go to Reel out of choice, whilst I still have a choice, because if God forbid they become the only one in the area, they'll charge what they want and pay even less attention to showing minor titles than they do already.
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