2013 Deck – Week 14

I remember when…  (I think this line is only used by people who have seen things that may not be current and have to use this line to explain that situation to those younger than themselves… or by a youngster who wants to impress others with their amazing memory – even if some of it is invented)

Where was I?  … oh, yes…  I remember when I rode a bicycle to school, then to lessons, and to visit friends, or to go to church, or just for a joy-ride.  I remember lugging around a heavy chain with a large Union lock to secure the bicycle to a post.

I remember the bicycle I rode to lessons, an old “Big Ben”, or “Steel Donkey”, it was a lady’s frame, so we’d put a wooden bar across to tow others, or just to make it seem more masculine. (Something remarkably similar to the one Nikhil captured here) I remember taking turns with Johnny at towing home Trecia from lessons, even though it was not on my way home.

I remember while courting Maureen (now my wife), I had a “down handle” on a ten-speed bicycle, and we’d ride everywhere… even places I knew I shouldn’t… I remember being beaten with a 2×4 (piece of wood) by a thief try to get that bicycle from me…

I remember riding from home down to South Ruimveldt to visit my friends Andrew, Ian, and then to Durban Backlands to visit Dayal… sometimes just for the ride; and years later I rode to and from UG daily, and I remember leaving UG at 8pm after History lecture and riding down in pitch blackness with Scheme alongside on his bicycle (trying to remember where the potholes were) !

I remember riding to the seawall to work off the buzz of a beer that I drank while (legally) too young, I remember riding from Turkeyen to Bel Air hoping to wear off the buzz of too many beers from a Raymond’s birthday celebration, this was when I was a student at UG, only to stop at Nikhil’s home to ask for coffee before continuing home 🙂

I seldom ride a bicycle now, but I think every child should learn to ride one… it gives a sense of independence, of freedom… of adventure.

The photo that sparked a deluge of memories…


Click on the image to see it on the site, along with the other images from this year’s Deck Project.


The Disappearing Cinema

Partial remains of the Globe Cinema, demolished this year, 2011

It recently dawned on me that there may be only one functional cinema left in Georgetown, possibly only one left in Guyana.  While the television and computers, handheld media players and the internet have certainly impacted on how we watch our movies, the cinema has always had a big draw for people, however the cinemas in Guyana have steadily gone into disrepair and certainly some have disappeared.   While we can place a lot of blame of the modernisation of media viewing, the owners and promoters of our cinemas have to take some of the blame, even when I was much younger, and the cinemas were full of moviegoers, I remember the sordid states of the seats, the persevering smell of urine, and the sound of the rodents running around the aisles.

Starlite Cinema, Pouderoyn, West Bank Demerara. Closed and abandoned

They never did the little things that made you WANT to go to the cinema, why suffer through all that when you could wait a few months and see it in the comfort of your home?  It was the experience, it was the “event” of going to the cinema with family or friends to watch a new (or old) movie in the company of others there to enjoy the experience, the camaraderie, the joy of the big silver screen, unfortunately the experience was not always a good one.  And the cinemas are disappearing, one by one, by one…

The Astor Cinema, still functional as of this year, but attendance makes it hard for the proprietor to keep it up.

I was re-reading an article written by Godfrey Chin on the Rise and Fall of Guyana’s Cinemas, I believe this was part of his “Nostalgias”, and while I am not old enough to know of some of the cinemas or even the movies he mentions, it hits home.  He, of course, goes back to even before we gained our Independence, back to the days of British Guiana, and he brings us into the modern era, where instead of Cinemas modernising to keep up, they just kept going, stagnated in time, except for the titles of the movie releases 🙂

What prompted this blog-post was the sudden nostalgia I got (I am probably getting like Godfrey) when I was processing a photo I took of the partly demolished “Globe Cinema” and an image of the abandoned Starlite Cinema.  Both of those images are included in this post.  As the Astor is the last remaining cinema, I think that I should make an effort to get permission to do some photography in that establishment before it too disappears.

Formerly the Strand Cinema, now the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God

There are at least two other Cinemas that I know of which have been converted into places of worship, it seems to be the thing to do  🙂

Click on each image to see them larger in their respective galleries.