Glen Matlock, Sex Pistols: “All the cinemas of my life”Reading time: 3'

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We’ve asked Glen Matlock, guitarist of the Sex Pistols, what is his favourite theatre. In this article, he lists all the most important cinemas of his life

Glen Matlock
Glen Matlock
The Everyman Maida Vale, London W9
The Everyman Maida Vale, London W9

«Over the years, there’ve been many London cinemas I’ve been to. So it’s quite hard to choose a favourite – Glen Matlock says. – I used to like the all-night movies, like Elvis and Horror nights. The Notting Hill Gate was one place where I’d go with Joe Strummer of The Clash, at the time we’d just started out as punk rockers in ’75. His mate used to sneak us in for nothing. If you needed cups of coffee to keep you awake, then you actually had to go and boil the kettle and do it yourself».

The Acklam, Portobello

Another place where we did the all-nighters was the Acklam Hall, on the Portobello Road, which has now since gone. It was a kind of youth club-cum-social centre where we’d often go to see early 1930s black-and-white movies, such as Jean Cocteau triple bills. And I particularly remember in Beauty & The Beast, in the bit where there’s the reference to ‘wastrels’, Strummer, grinning and pointing at the screen, before nudging me and saying: “[Glen], that’s us”.

The Scala, Tottenham Court

Then, at another, the Scala – not the one at King’s Cross, but on the Tottenham Court Road. We went to one of The Prisoner Appreciation Society’s events. It had been snowing when we went and evidently heavily so overnight, because when we all came out by 7am, everyone found themselves ankle-deep in snow. It soon ended up with 300 of us all piling into a massive snowball fight. Now, would that even happen today?

IMAGES: The Essoldo & Scala pictures courtesy of Cinema Theatre Association
IMAGES: The Essoldo & Scala pictures courtesy of Cinema Theatre Association

Being born in Kensal Green, there was an Essoldo I used to frequent, where in fact The Clash had also played back in 1976. Like many run-down cinemas of the time, we called it the fleapit. But it’s my local cinema – the Everyman Maida Vale – which is the antithesis of all of these and is probably the one I’d nominate.

The Everyman Maida Vale

It’s expensive, but I’ve found the chain to be generally good and neither impersonal nor pokey in its style… Even the one at Baker Street, where I recently saw Trainspotting 2, which actually isn’t that small once you’re inside. Outside Maida Vale, they’d put up a massive 40’ x 30’ picture of Kim Novak, as a young starlet. It shows her being mobbed by paparazzi – and it’s a small world because when the light actually catches that picture, I could even make out a photographer friend in there, a.k.a. the ‘original paparazzo’, who I’d once met in Italy.

While I’m not a great fan of blockbusters, I did see Fantastic Beasts at Maida Vale – which I only realised was in 3D when they started handing the glasses out… but I generally prefer arthouse and other indie films that are a bit more considered. In fact, I’ll only go to a cinema when there is something I really want to watch, rather than just out of habit, and so, again, it’s hard to choose a favourite. Therefore, my definition of a favourite cinema would have to be ‘any one that’s showing just the right movie at just the right time that you want to see it’.


Glen Matlock will be releasing a new solo album this year, featuring Earl Slick and Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats; and will also be playing at Beautiful Days, in Devon, on 19th August.

Read also Jesse Hughes’ confession about drive-in

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