|1.||The First Night of Alien||See below|
|2.||Rasp||Read it Now|
|3.||The Visibility||Read it Now|
|4.||JJ's Note||Read it Now|
|5.||Farenheit (script extract)||Read it Now|
|6.||The Accordion Teacher||Read it Now|
|7.||Winning Streak||Read it Now|
|8.||Long Distance||Read it Now|
|9.||Blessed Martin and the Fridge||Read it Now|
|10.||N(ot) C(ompetent) T(echnically||Read it Now|
|11.||Night of the Frogs||Read it Now|
|12.||Digging a Hole for Myself||Read it Now|
|13.||Stirred and Shaken||Read it Now|
|14.||Horse to France||Read it Now|
|15.||Flat Head Fishing||Read it Now|
|16.||An Elite Among Altar Boys||Read it Now|
|17.||Paul's Talent||Read it Now|
|18.||The City is Now Behind You, the Mountains in Front||Read it Now|
|19.||Bad with Names||Read it Now|
|20.||The J Seat (First 3 scenes)||Read it Now|
|The First Night of Alien|
|The word got around. The Savoy Cinema was about to re-open. For months the dilapidated foyer had echoed to the clatter of hammers and the buzz of power drills. Now the word was out.|
The year was 1979, we were sixteen years old, and the movies were the crux of our social lives. The re-opening of the Savoy was a big deal to us. When we heard that the first film to be shown would be 'Alien', that deal became a good deal bigger.
Ridley Scott's 'Alien' was coming to Sligo with some major advance publicity. It was, we read, the scariest film ever made. The poor cinema-goers of London were dropping dead of shock in their seats. We simply could not wait for it to arrive.
The Savoy re-opened on a fine Summer's Friday evening. We queued from Seven o'clock, a full hour early, to be super-sure of getting in. When the mesh curtained French-doors finally swung open we may have shuffled nonchalantly up the newly-carpeted steps but our hearts were beating fast.
The décor might have changed but thankfully Marie, the horn-rimmed lady in the ticket booth had not.
Marie ran her very own little censorship office from behind her Plexiglas screen. While the powers-that-be had judged that 'Alien' was worthy of an 'X' certificate and therefore suitable only for persons over eighteen years of age, Marie figured otherwise.
Although 'Alien' contained mayhem, death and dismemberment aplenty, there was absolutely no sex whatsoever. Marie therefore reckoned it was all right for us to go in and see it. She was a fine woman.
Me and Gilmour opted for balcony seats. Only Feeney, proud possessor of a new blonde girlfriend, headed for the stalls, having heard a rumour of the re-instatement of 'courting seats' in that area.
For the uninitiated, 'Courting seats' were unpartitioned couches designed to accommodate two like-minded souls. An evening in a courting seat was considered a success if the pair managed to swap their positions without ever standing up. Feeney was all on for giving this a go.
The rumours were right, the courting seats were back - built for pleasure and speed - but this was not to be Feeney's night. While he installed himself hopefully in the first courting seat, his girlfriend was busy settling into the second.
She stretched out, put her feet up and grinned across the vast expanse to where Feeney lurked.
"These big seats are great, aren't they?" she said.
It was about then the Feeney knew he would have been as well off upstairs on the balcony with the rest of us.
'Alien' was great, at least I thought so. Full of dark corridors, dripping acidic fluids and shiny designer-creatures, it remains one of my most vivid movie-going experiences.
But not everyone agreed. Half way through the film, at a particularly tense moment, my pal Gilmore became frustrated with the pacing. He picked up his duffel-coat and threw it out over the edge of the balcony, where it hung splayed for a moment before tumbling out of our view.
I have many memories of Sligo's Savoy Cinema, now dark once again. One of my fondest is of the screams which rose from Feeney's nervous girlfriend when, alone in her oversized seat, a mysterious fuzzy alien, with floppy arms and a hood, descended on her from the darkened skies above.
(c) Ken Armstrong
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