Strathclyde Telegraph

Jeely Jars and Seein Stars Exhibition

Jeely Jars and Seein Stars Exhibition
The Mitchell Library
By Kerri Mackenzie, Arts Editor

Jeely Jars and Seein Stars was part of the Glasgow Film Festival and offered an insight into Glasgow’s relationship with the cinema.The exhibit featured items from the cinema collection from Sumerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life. Most of the “stuff” featured would have probably been thrown away, had the collectors not had the good sense to keep it such as a cut-off of the carpet at Green’s and some Exit signs. Whilst it was interesting to look at this memorabilia from Glasgow’s past, the truly interesting part was watching archive videos of eye-witness statements about Glasgow and the cinema. There were fun tales of children taking Jeely Jars (jam jars) to the cinema to exchange them, washed and cleaned of course, for cinema tickets. There were stories of seeing The Beatles and The Rolling Stones performing at the Paramount Theatre on Renfield Street. Overwhelmingly there was a sense of family and community. Everybody went to the cinema. Kids went on a Saturday morning to give their mother’s peace, couples went “courting” at the cinema, all the neighbours would get together for a trip to the “pictures”. You could be standing outside La Scala, The Imperial, The Tolado (the list goes on) and meet the love of your life or be entertained by the man performing yo-yo tricks or playing a tune on his penny-whistle. It’s this sense of community and belonging and romance that really captured my attention. So much of that still exists today. The cinema is still a firm favourite for “date night” and for groups of families with children or friends. But something has changed. The cinema isn’t quite what it used to be. In 1939, Glasgow was home to 114 picture houses, seating over 175,000 people a night. Now look at what is left of Glasgow’s cinema heritage; The GFT, Cineworld and Odeon. All the independent cinemas where people courted and found love have been converted into retail space, demolished or, as is the case of the beautiful Paramount, simply left to rot away. The cinema is alive and well but paradoxically it has also died, it’s buildings are literally rotting away before our eyes and a piece of Glasgow has gone with them.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);