Cosy in the chapel. Yes we were. An almighty bunch of us packed into the pop up that is Chapel Cinema in E2 (that’s Befnal Groin to you) to enjoy for free mind, a film picked by yours truly “The Proud Valley” starring humbly Paul Robeson.
Now I’d watched the beginning of the same film at London Live a few weeks ago but when the first bit of over-acting came on I was ready to change channels to Scott and Bailey. I persevered and then the mother of Dilys spoke like Dilys, Norman’s mum in Fireman Sam and that was it.
Tonight I was a polite person and was watching with other seniors. It makes a difference whether you watch alone or not or with friends or at school. I learnt that lesson when VHS was in its heyday. There was some appalling wooden acting going on, some poor editing but all in all The Proud Valley is a powerful film. Members of the audience were certainly carried along and were shouting out their sighs, joining in the inevitable amens and we all clapped at the end.
Martha runs voluntarily the Chapel Cinema. What a lovely welcome she gives to one and all. Martha sets up the chairs and does the sound checks. She is much appreciated as is the chapel itself on a Tuesday night.
The St Margaret’s Café was a-buzzin; with smells of deliciousness wafting throughout under a green orange muted light. What an evening.
Big lad was Paul Robeson. The film was made in 1938 just a year before the outbreak of World War two and depicted a miner’s family in all their cleanliness and poverty. A couple of amazing scenes stand out as on the slag heap when the men circumvent it in unison as silhouettes against the featureless sky and when the men in collier garb follow each other in a line, grisly and determined. We see coal mines collapse, miners die and the whole community on alert at the sound of the pit siren.
We saw women in shawls and a couple of shots showed women with the shawls over their heads. That was the pre-cursor to the triangular headscarf and funnily enough yesterday I found a faded sepia photograph of an ancestor sitting with her woolly shawl over her head in the late 1880s when my grandmother was born. All relevant to my art and research project about the wearing of headscarves in the 1950s