Loathe as we are to say it (coughs), but you don’t want to believe everything you read in the newspapers, or on their websites, especially as far as Croydon’s local rags are concerned.
Yesterday, the Croydon Guardian website carried a story that began, “Croydon’s most famous cinema has been given a last minute reprieve from closure.”
Naturally, we were gripped. We read on eagerly.
“The David Lean Cinema was due to close this month but after strong opposition from supporters it has been moved to Fairfield Halls,” said the report.
This sounded like excellent news. But ever sceptical about any news coming out of Taberner House, where the truth is often regarded as an optional extra in statements and press releases, we began to wonder about the veracity of the report when we read the next paragraph.
For the paper was reporting something said by Councillor Sara “Book Token” Bashford, the woman supposed to be in charge of the libraries consultation and responsible for cutting all cash to any council-funded arts activities, including the summer festival, the Clock Tower arts centre, Croydon Museum and the David Lean Cinema.
Apparently, Croydon’s cabinet Member for Customer Services,
Culture and Sport said: “Following the consultation on arts and heritage, which showed once again how passionate the people of this borough are about their services, the cinema will not close.”
Remember that: “The cinema will not close.” Unequivocal, don’t you think?
“Instead, we will be transferring it to Fairfield Halls, where it will be more economical to run and maintain and its reputation as one of London’s best known and well-loved arthouse cinemas.” Which is not the same thing at all…
Unlike the Croydon Guardian, we did not take “Book Token” Bashford’s word for it, and we sought out an inside source to find out more.
So does Bashford’s announcement mean that the employees at the David Lean will have their jobs saved? “No,” said our source.
And will it mean that the David Lean Cinema will be kept open? “Not at all,” said our man in the back-row with the bag of pick ‘n mix.
“There will be no jobs kept,” we were told. “The actual staff of The David Lean has nothing to do with the move.
“The David Lean was a product of 16 years’ hard work and skilled programming, while Fairfield seems to work on the basis that if you’re old, then you like old films, which is ridiculous.”
Despite the council cutting the majority of its £650,000 annual arts service budget this year as part of its wide-ranging cuts, they have somehow managed to pledge £27 million funding to Fairfield Halls before 2016 for capital works.
We are quite sure that this has nothing to do whatsoever with the fact that the well-known local Conservative party donor, and deputy leader of the Croydon Tory group, Councillor Dudley Mead, happens to be on the management board of the Fairfield Halls.
Or as our source says, “This is just part of the council throwing all its support behind the failing, monolithic and out-moded institution of Fairfield, propping it up while it stages another half-full Roy Chubby Brown gig…”
Succinctly put, Croydon Council’s choosing Chubby Brown over David Lean. #thatissocroydon