Paul Roberts: “All my favourite cinemas were local”Reading time: 2'


Ex-Stranglers’ frontman, Paul Roberts has three favourite cinemas: the ABC Hammersmith, where he went with friends; the Odeon, where he was brought by his father. And the unforgettable Notting Hill Coronet

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Ex-Stranglers’ frontman Paul Roberts speaks about his favourite cinemas: «As a Chiswick lad, my first cinema experience was at our local Regal – the ABC Hammersmith. It is still there, today, on King Street. Living on the Hogarth roundabout, I’d walk up the Great West Road every Saturday to meet up at 9am with all the local kids for the Saturday Morning Pictures. This was the ’60s and the Regal had futuristic foyer and dark and exciting, cavernous auditorium. It always reminded me of a kind of spaceship».

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Cinema memories

The programme was a weekly two-to-three hour mixture of action, adventure, cartoons and Sci-Fi. It included the brilliant Flash Gordon, my favourite. Some were what they called ‘Republic Serials’ – essentially bad films cut into several five-minute episodes.

We also had to sing the ‘ABC song’, which, thinking about it now, was so cool. Everyone joined in and, amongst others, the compère would get us to stamp our feet. It was all excellent. Great times.

If you had pocket money, you could buy an ABC badge; and although there was also a larger monitor badge, I was never quite sure how you got to have one of those. Evidently, I was never cut out to be a monitor…

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Coronet Cinema, Notting Hill Gate, West London
Coronet Cinema, Notting Hill Gate, West London

The Odeon

Although this was my first regular cinema, up the road was also the Odeon, where my dad also took us. It always seemed so much grander and I only saw the really big movies there. Perhaps dad just thought it was the best place to see a movie. From King Street, with it’s huge illuminated sign, it even looked like The Promised Land. No-one watches films there anymore, of course. Hammersmith also had a Gaumont, so three cinemas within 500 yards – now that’s local cinema!

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The Notting Hill Coronet

Later on, my adopted cinema became the Notting Hill Coronet. There was always a treat to walk into the tiny foyer before entering the beautiful auditorium. It was the first cinema I went to that reminded me of a theatre instead of a mere cinema. It had such a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere. The other great thing about the Coronet, is that you can bring in any food you like and you can also buy beer at the foyer to take in.

ABC Hammersmith, Notting Hill Gate, West London
ABC Hammersmith, Notting Hill Gate, West London
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Screentrade Magazine covers all aspects of Cinema Exhibition and Film Distribution. Screentrade is headquartered in London, England. It is one of the few magazines to concentrate both wholly and exclusively upon Exhibition and Distribution, dealing with all facets of each, focusing closely on cinema operations and techniques to ensure one’s own economic growth

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