Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Olympic Cinema in Barnes

Thankfully absolutely nothing to do with the Olympic games being held in the UK next year, The Olympic Cinema in Barnes, also due to open in 2012, was built in 1906 as an entertainment centre and variously named Byfeld Hall, the Ranelagh, The Picture House and the New Vandyke.

Standing at 117-123 Church Road, the late 1960s saw the building transformed into Olympic Recording Studios, where hundreds of artists including Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones recorded there, as well as the likes of The Spice Girls, Madonna and Oasis in more recent times. In December 2008 U2 became the last band to record in the building.

Now with full planning permission granted from Richmond council, the building can re-open once again as a cinema. Though described as 'boutique' in style (which sends shivers down my spine), the opening is certainly an exciting prospect, with two screens to be showing a mix of current releases, retrospectives and special events. It'll be great for Barnes, a posh, sleepy suburb in south west London, next to the Thames. Barnes prides itself on being more like a village, which essentially it is – there was uproar recently against a Sainsbury's Local opening in town.

I found out about the cinema at a stall at Barnes Fair, which was yesterday. I've been going to Barnes Fair every year for at least the last thirty years. Possibly the most exciting event on my calendar, the fair transforms sleepy Barnes into a buzzing assortment of market and food stalls, music, and children's games and rides. This year, past the estate agent giving out (plastic) glasses of wine and the grocer's with its old-fashioned bicycle outside overflowing with artichokes, was the graveyard of a church with live jazz music wafting out from it. Just heavenly.

No comments :