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Say Goodbye To The Cameo

The Cameo, Scotland’s most beautiful cinema, and the oldest in Edinburgh, is set to be turned into a pub.

The terms of sale will not include any safeguards to preserve the auditorium, and the indescribably naff nightclub-owner Stephan King is in the frame as a potential buyer, so the historic building at the heart of the Edinburgh International Film Festival will likely be turned into a haunt for the city’s braying alcopop-swillers.

Thanks for that, City Screen. Thanks very much.

The beutiful Cameo

Image © Guy Veale

  1. Plan to turn Tarantino’s top cinema into a big bar
  2. Pub plan unveiled as historic city cinema is put up for sale
  3. Fears raised that capital’s oldest cinema will become a ‘super-pub’
  4. Save beautiful historic building to keep city in arthouse picture, says Hannah

Update: There is now a campaigning website to Save The Cameo, with links to news coverage, and information on how to object to the planning application that, if passed, will allow the cinema to be gutted. I tried to make a little banner for anyone wishing to link to the Save The Cameo site, based on their design, but I’m no good with fancy graphics. Anyone fancy doing a better version? (You couldn’t do a worse one!):

Save The Cameo

Posted at 5pm on 11/11/05 by Jack Mottram to the news category.
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  1. I’ve since had it forcefully argued to me by concerned + informed parties that Edinburgh simply doesn’t have sufficient cinemagoing public to support 2 arthouses, plus the numerous carnivorous multiplexes, and the (somewhat uncategorisable) Dominion (how does THAT survive, btw?). And that - basically - the survival of the Cameo could mean the demise of the Filmhouse. So I’m conflicted: am I just being a sentimentalist? Don’t know, but I sure wish some reckless billionaire would just buy it and preserve it out of love…
    Allowing the building of that Odeon between the Cameo and the Filmhouse was probably the death knell.
    The irony is that at present, the Cameo IS making money, or so the manager told me today.
    GFT next, presumably. Then, like, computerised sunsets, public decapitation of puppies, and a law against fun.

    (Off the record.)

    Posted by hannah at 9pm on 11.11.05

  2. that’s simply shocking. isn’t the sisters, espionage, frankensteins, etc, enough?!

    Posted by Jez at 10pm on 11.11.05

  3. So I’m conflicted: am I just being a sentimentalist?

    Not at all. It’s not like you walk into the Filmhouse and gasp in awe, then get terribly, terribly excited about what you’re about to see, is it?

    It’s like buying vinyl instead of downloading MP3s - the former adds a huge amount of value to the thing you’re actually after, so does watching a film in a beautiful cinema. (The last thing I saw at the Cameo was Black Narcissus, and it was undeniably more enjoyable watching it there than it would’ve been at a Multiplex, or the Filmhouse.)

    Obviously, this is a totally selfish attitute, but just because Edinburgh can’t support two proper cinemas, doesn’t mean I can’t be pissed off about the beautiful one closing. I mean, I’m not much of a filmhead and can’t stand Edinburgh, but when I go to the Cameo I think how nice it would be to live there because I would go to that cinema more often!

    (Is it just me, or is it very funny that we just spoke on the ‘phone for two hours and I’m now wittering at you on a website!)

    isn’t the sisters, espionage, frankensteins, etc, enough?!

    That’s what I thought - it’s not as if Edinburgh is short of rubbish pubs!

    Posted by Jack Mottram at 12am on 12.11.05

  4. (Off the record.)

    Er, the Googlebot will see this - by definition on the record!

    Posted by Jack Mottram at 12am on 12.11.05

  5. I’m trying to imagine how I’d feel if the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle would close down in similar circumstances. Having said that, I am guilty of not visiting it enough and giving it my support. With this news about The Cameo, I think I’ll go more.

    Posted by Matt at 9am on 12.11.05

  6. I just mean that I don’t want to be quoted any further in them newspapers! Print media - remember dat…?

    Frankensteins?? where?

    Posted by hannah at 4pm on 12.11.05

  7. Oh, I see, Frankenstein PUBS. I thought Jez meant that wayward monster-making scientists were roaming the streets of Edinburgh. Along with, er, sisters. And spies. Which sounds quite fun.

    Posted by hannah at 4pm on 12.11.05

  8. Yes, rubbish pubs. This’ll just mean that every time I meet someone who’s just been to Edinburgh, and whom I ask for details of their trip just so I can squeeze out every bit of essence of the city I love and miss…

    I’ll just hear about another tourist-trap super-pub rather than anything of value. I guess it’ll be a change of pace from always hearing, “We went to some bar called…something sisters, brothers? I can’t remember.”

    Posted by Jez at 12am on 14.11.05

  9. gives full details of how to object, the closing date for objections to the application is 9th December 2005

    Posted by Sarah E at 10pm on 15.11.05

  10. Oop, thanks Sarah (Hannah emailed me about before I saw your comment, hence the update).

    Posted by Jack Mottram at 1am on 16.11.05

  11. I almost posted some of your comments on my first citation. I will try to do an item about the save-the-cameo campaign Wednesday…

    Posted by Ray Pride at 3am on 16.11.05

  12. check out the rex cinema in Berkhamsted Hertfordshire, saved from demolition, more popular than any multiplex,way to go.

    Posted by nod at 10pm on 16.11.05

  13. So Euan Bremner has joined the Save The Cameo protest, which prompts me to wonder, save it from what exactly? The proposed redevelopment of the Cameo by City Screen will certainly involve a drop in seat numbers from around 350 to around 250, it will however increase the number of screens from 3 to 4.

    No, the cinema isn’t the faintly scuzzy fleapit of old. Gone are the seminal double-bills on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. Since it has been owned by City Screen however it has lost its special role in the education of Scotland’s young cinema-goers. However while City Screen can be chastised for adopting a safer screening policy which doesn’t differentiate it from the multiplexes greatly, to say that they are going to destroy the cinema somehow is frankly ridiculous.

    It is to be regretted that the architects of the refurbishment, Kerr Blyth Associates, and their client, City Screen were not more forceful in presenting their case, because their plans are fair. Kerr Blyth has pointed out that the current arrangement in the cinema, which is not the original, cuts across the orginal cornicing and fails to present the buildings beautiful interiors successfully. If there is one criticism to be made of City Screen is that they have not taken their plans to the community and shown them around. If they had, they would not be facing such an ill-founded campaign now.

    Save The Cameo’s response has been shrill and high-profile about a development that the cinema’s owners deem neccesary. The managing director of City Screen, feels she is unable to put her case fairly in the face of such a vociferous and ill-founded campaign. She has wisely retreated and is looking again at her options. She has suggested she may sell the cinema, which is hopefully a threat. If she did however, it could go to a furniture shop owner or a supermarket chain or even a pub operator who could do whatever they wanted with it. Then the south Edinburgh busy bodies would have to watch DVDs like the rest of us.

    PS What the hell is Sarah Boyack MSP doing involved in this? Instead of busying herself with the interior arrangements of a small cinema perhaps she could concentrate on something important such as the Rural Economy, given that she is Convenor of that committee at Holyrood.

    Posted by cosmopolitan scum at 11am on 09.12.05

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