Wednesday, September 05, 2007


THIS IS IT! The day of the ‘premiere’ of the Hollywood movie “Atonement”. I say premiere, but in reality, it had its official premiere in London last night which is always the case with any movie and its first regional showing/premiere in Hartlepool, just across the water from us, two weeks ago.

Whilst I am genuinely happy for the family who have the Regent Cinema, because I know how hard they have worked just to keep the cinema going without any help from the council, I am also a realist and I can see that this whole event isn’t as much about our council wanting to spend money on the Regent Cinema and the surrounding area because they genuinely care about them, as it is our council wanting to gloss over the huge cracks that are there, that we have to live with whether “Redcar goes to Hollywood” or not.

I saw about thirty council workers flattening and raking the beach and tidying all the rubbish up the other day, trying to make the area look as presentable as possible. We have seen long overdue money spent on the cinema so it looks like it should all the time. We have seen routes into the town cleaned and cleared of rubbish, railings painted, shelters cleaned. People are saying things like “Isn’t this great” and “we should be grateful for having these things done”. I have never heard such rubbish in all my life. Yes it is great,but Redcar is my home all of the time, not just for one day and I expect the same level of care and attention shown to this town 365 days a year, not just for one day so the council can try and disguise what a mess we have become.Why should we be grateful for our council keeping an area of our town clean and tidy and presentable? As residents of our town these things should be ours by right. For some people to even suggest that we should be grateful for having our town clean and presentable just shows you how much it has been neglected!

I think that this attention on our town is a good an extent. Because, who is it really good for? I'll tell you who shall I? Colin Moore and co. The very people who are responsible for a £12,000,000 hole in the councils budget. Responsible for the seaside shelters, that are now being thoroughly cleaned, being covered in human excrement and urine and filth, for so long. Responsible for piles of rotting, decaying rubbish lying for weeks outside of the back entrance of the Coatham Bowl. Responsible for filthy alleys. Responsible for the addition of plans to the Coatham scheme, of a single screen cinema that would have, if they had been successful, put the family who run the Regent Cinema out of business.

People who have controlled a council that has seen 28 businesses go under in a year in our town centre, that now has scores of boarded up shops right in the centre of the high street. The people that this will really be good for, are the ones who have allowed all of the above to happen to our town. Why should they now, after allowing our town to become decayed and Rotten and run down like it is, be allowed to bask in this false glory?

They will use this opportunity to perpetuate the myth that 'Redcar is going places', 'that we've turned the corner', 'that they are a four star authority'. They will use this ‘premiere’ to promote this false image in order to deflect the worlds attention from the truth above and that’s why it’s so 'fantastically great' for them. That’s why they’ve gone to all the trouble of raising and spending all that money on a cinema and a surrounding area that should have had this care and attention shown years ago. Does anyone honestly believe that if a Hollywood movie hadn’t come to Redcar, that the council would be spending thousands of pounds and making all this effort, on doing what they are now?

For me, it seems hollow and empty. An empty hollow victory for a council that is trying to put a shiny veneer on something that is decaying and rotten. It’s like they’re trying to put fresh, white gloss paint on windows that are rotten and have been neglected for years, to give an appearance that everything is strong and sound, and it just isn’t. It’s about time we had something in our town with a bit of substance behind it, with a bit more depth, not just a shiny exterior masking the massive problems that lie beneath. Its like they are desperately trying to 'tidy round the house' before Granny, with her eagle eye for detail, comes a calling. The house should always be in order not just when Granny calls. The Regent cinema, along with everything else in the town, should always be maintained and clean and up to scratch, ALL THE TIME.

It’s about time we stopped settling for the scraps that Colin Moore and co. keep throwing us and it’s about time that we started demanding what should be ours by right. We should all be pressing for our town and its facilities to be maintained and kept clean and looked after all the time, instead of just going along with it and then thinking that we are fortunate that the money is being spent on giving the cinema and surrounding area a facelift, because a second fiddle premiere is coming to town. Lets all jump for joy! What’s going to happen to it all when the Hollywood bandwagon rolls out after the 24 hour charade? That’s right, no more money for the Regent, no more attention to cleanliness and detail, back to the reality of what our town really has become.

What is most upsetting is that the people who are in control of our council, deem the arrival of a film director for one day, to be a good enough reason for cleaning up the area and getting it up to the state that it should be all the time.
Why is it that the council think that the arrival of one man, who doesn’t even live here and the arrival of a third fiddle ‘premiere’ (behind Venice, London, Hartlepool and everywhere else that it has already been shown), are good enough reasons to do the things that they should have done in this town years ago and should have continued to do in our town all the time, but the people who live in Redcar and work in Redcar and raise their children in Redcar and all the people who visit the town from all over the North of England, all the time, aren’t a good enough reason to have clean shelters, painted railings, raked beaches, and a cinema that doesn’t look like it’s on the verge of collapsing?

Because their actions show the absolute contempt that they have for people of this town and area, I cannot get wildly hysterical about this non-event and I certainly do not subscribe to the opinion that we should just accept their spin that we should be grateful that things are being done to tidy the area up, because the truth is THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE YEARS AGO AND WHATS MORE, CONTINUED TO HAVE BEEN DONE ALL THE TIME.

Remember one important thing. The film company chose to film in Redcar because the area that they filmed in, the area that the council are now desperately trying to tidy up and give a facelift to, resembled the bombed out remains of Dunkirk.

Hip, Hip, Hooray!!! Lets all be glad that our town looks like a bombed out ruin! You can almost hear the councils spin, can’t you? “Well…you should be glad we look like a bomb site, if we didn’t, then a Hollywood film wouldn’t have come here in the first place, so you just be grateful”.

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