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REEL ALE GIVES WOOLTON PATRONS A LICENSE TO SPILL! Eyebrows were raised in 2012 when the local council licensing committee gave the green light for Woolton’s local picture house to sell alcohol on its premises for the first time of asking in its 80 year cinema history. No doubt this will be a popular decision for the 18+ patrons who frequent the cinema, whilst there will be others who will see it as a step in the wrong direction. The cinema owners claim it will allow them to compete with the multiplexes on a level playing field by offering their “mature patrons” the same choice of refreshments.  It’s also fair to say that if the idea proves popular it will see an increase in adult admissions along with the distinct possibility of attracting some less than “mature” new found patrons. Unlike the multiplex cinema’s Woolton’s cinema sits slap bang in the middle of residential houses, it’s therefore understandable why those residents  opposed to having licensed premises on their doorsteps for the first time in Mason streets lifetime feel let down. Despite reassurances by the cinema owners that ‘There would be no risk of nuisance to people living nearby’ some neighbours are unconvinced and fear just having a licensed premises on their doorstep will by default devalue and make it harder for them to sell their house properties in future years to come. Whilst the scenario of having Mason street abound with intoxicated scallies every evening is a long way off, anything that sets a precedent which could one day lead it there can only be bad news for the neighbours. The current cinema owners would do well to heed the words of a former Woolton picture house owner (who was never one to mince words) who once said “We won’t sell alcohol because we neither want to encourage riffraff or do anything to upset the neighbours” words of wisdom which may yet prove to be prophetic. The resident’s unequivocal support of their local cinema during uncertain times has been a pivotal reason why the picture house has survived, you can be as sure as eggs are egg there will come another time when the survival of the Woolton picture house relies on their neighbours support once again. The Woolton picture house has also over many decades earned itself a good reputation for its select and reserved family friendly environment, with many returning patrons of the opinion that their local picture house already makes a refreshing change to the multiplexes without the need to be characteristic of them. If it [The Woolton Picturehouse] does go down the same alcohol route as its modern day competitors then one obvious shortcoming they already have is that the ‘Woolly’ doesn’t have a separate drinking area or lounge bar to compliment the sale of alcohol. In effect the dimly lit auditorium will be the only designated drinking area for patrons to take and consume their alcohol, a constraint which will no doubt be music to the ears of any under-age drinkers in search of an inconspicuous cosy retreat with the intention of bringing along an adult to get the drinks in for them. A greater worry which might not only exasperate the neighbours concerns but also cast a doubt over how responsible they themselves [The Woolton Picture house] are when it comes to selling alcohol is the Picture house custodian’s seemingly negligent failure to cleanse their establishment of some senior staff with a history of breaching rules in order to sell more refreshments. Whilst no action is taken to weed out and eradicate those who have repeatedly abused their positions of trust it will always leave a question mark over what other rules the same loose cannons might be planning on breaching without the intervention of their bosses when it comes to them selling refreshments including alcohol. Speaking as a mature cinemagoer who’s also partial to the occasional social drink, my jury’s still out on whether or not allowing alcohol consumption directly inside an auditorium that by and large necessitates silence in order to follow the screenplay is such a good idea anyway even if it is being served under strict control, after all it only takes one high spirited giggle juicer to spoil the show for everyone including those of us who enjoy a quiet peaceful drink whilst watching the film show. The person to get my sympathy vote has to be the mild mannered student cinema attendant who will now have to risk life and limb just having to tell the inebriated offender to ‘Shush be quiet!!!’ Looking at things from a more nostalgic perspective, a family visit to the Woolton cinema has always been redolent with the sweet pleasant smell of candy and popcorn (albeit an old musty sweet smell) I fear that memory will be lost forever for our next generation as the plush cinema carpet will with the house lights down likely suffer more spilt ale than a bartenders beer sodden slop towel and our off-springs cinema-going memories will be tainted with the fragrance of hops from an early age. Then on the other hand if the cinema’s new managing director is worth his salt and sees to it that only the senior staff with integrity, honesty and trust are allowed to prevail along with the installation of some much needed cinema seat cup- holders, then the alcohol idea at least deserves to be given the chance to succeed and if selling beer can foster up some extra revenue to help the picture house survive and prosper without any hiccups, or headaches for the neighbours then perhaps having a cinema in Mason street in danger of smelling a bit like a Wetherspoons is the lesser evil to a cinema in Mason St closing down and becoming a Wetherspoons.  
Mrs T gets on her soap box to bring you all the chit chat,news and comments concerning your local Picture house The Woolton. KEEPING TIME ON LATE NIGHT OPENING
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