Tuesday, 14 February 2012

We Strike at Dawn...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Okay, there I said it! That's enough commercial nonsense...To the point!

*Scene transition*

In today's local paper (14/2 Telegraph & Argus for anyone reading outside Bradford) we have an update on how the council are treating the Odeon, that dear old building closed for 12 years and shrouded in lies, deceit and conspiracy. It used to be the biggest cinema in Yorkshire at one point but now it's just a derelict; left to decay through the incompetence of the council. Many plans and ideas (most from people who love it, *not* the council) have been thrown around but so far nothing has come to fruition. It's as if they're afraid to tackle the situation and make decisive action (which sounds a lot like government in general).

It would be nice to see some renovation work on it, and I don't just mean clearing the foliage, but actually sprucing it up so that it looks presentable.

Here's what it looks like now:

I took this photo a few years ago and it looks more or less the same today, except for that building in the background which has since been completed.

'What?!' I hear you cry, 'They can afford to knock down structures and then set up entirely new buildings, but they can't afford to renovate an *existing* one?!' Why yes, apparently they can...This is one of the many slaps in the face the Odeon regularly receives by the council. They even had a plan to put the Odeon out of their misery by tearing it down for a new development because of this very reason...Ahem; excuse.

The venues inside the Odeon are still standing...All the seats, crafted ledges and such are still inside and still standing, ready and waiting for use...But other council excuses for wanting it gone are asbestos and faulty drainage systems...Okay then;

A) The town hall is packed with asbestos...Shall we knock that down too? (Insert 'whilst council is in session' gag here)
B) Photo-evidence shows that one of the main pipes in the Odeon were *deliberately cut through.* The only people who have been in the building since the closure are the inspection team and the council members themselves.

Since the closure, the council have been trying to avoid the Odeon like the plague, trying to shift focus on other developments such as the most recent 'City Park' scheme (which cost £25m...As a bonus, the city library would've cost £4m to save...). The so-called park is a horrific example of twisted priorities, take a look:

I took this one a few weeks ago...Yep, Odeon remains the same; the council can afford to 'renovate' the areas around it (note the bulding to the right of the Odeon; that's the same one under construction in the previous pic).

That big puddle? They call it a 'Mirror Pool'...Just made you cringe, didn't I? The whole area is covered in concrete and stone and they have the nerve to justify a few inches of water spread over large area...A large area that could be used for more useful things. A waste of time, money and water, surrounded by pathetic attempts at fountain displays. I'll say it now; they are *not* fountains, they are burst water mains! (Ever been to the Bellagio in Las Vegas? *That's* a fountain display!) Of course the worst thing about the development is that is isn't even done well; walk anywhere around it and the slabs and flags are laid unevenly (heaven knows how high-heeled women do it).

No craftsmanship, skill, imagination or creativity *anywhere*.

Unlike the inside of the Odeon, which brings us neatly to the point again. By the way, if you question any of the claims I've made, I urge you to have a look at the Bradford Odeon Rescue Group (yes, their acronym is 'BORG' and yes, that makes them even more awesome) as they are as passionate about preserving and revitalising the Odeon as much as the next sensible person is. The BORG have the best ideas for the future of the Odeon and have even come up with potential images; observe:

Doesn't that look grand? Every day people turn away in shame as they drive or walk past, but imagine something the citizens can be proud of; imagine something you can stop to observe and say to a visitor to the city 'see that? Theat's *the* place to be!' Now the image (courtesy of BORG of course) says 'Tower Hotel', but that doesn't mean it necessarily has to be a hotel...This is the beauty of potential renovation; it can be almost anything! Hotel, arts venue, museum...They could even turn it back into a cinema (specialist screenings and what-not)!

Their site: www.bradfordodeonrescuegroup.co.uk

However, back to today and it's clear that the Odeon is being treated like residents at an old folks' home (with whom the younger generations want to shove out of society) where they remain until conveniently forgotten so they can only count down the days until their inevitable doom...Over the weekend, the council have decided to erect scaffolding around the dear old Odeon so they can cover it up. Yes, they state outright and with no shame that the Odeon is a 'blot on the landscape' and they want it obscured from view for the first official City Park event. But what's even more disgusting (which made the T&A front page) is that they are worried they won't get it covered up in time.


Contact the BORG. We strike at dawn...


EDIT (10th May, 2012)

Good news! Basically the future of Odeon is a promising potential...Earlier my head tutor, Damien O'Keeffe (along with others) pointed out a plan and a petition going on...

http://www.johnpeelnorth.org/ Here you'll find a wonderful initiative. It's been around for a few months, but it has only just begun to gather momentum. The Housing and Communities Agency currently own the Odeon and, as any sensible Bradfordian knows, they have been pussyfooting around on what to do with it. But if this new plan gets enough support it could actually happen!

Now then, the initiative brings together the Late John Peel, his vast music collection, music in general and Bradford as a whole with potential live events. It was reported in the Yorkshire Post today (which is where the bulk of the popularity started) and since then, the John Peel Twitter has reported 'phones ringing off the hooks' in support:


The plan will not just bring together different mediums of entertainment for Bradford, but it will keep the Odeon alive. This is what we could have in a few years time:

But *only* if we show the support it needs. I've contacted at least twenty big names about the initiative on Twitter; the famous and influential who have at least knowledge of Bradford, has been to the city, who have (some level of) involvement in British film...And I'm pleased to say that DALLAS CAMPBELL (BBC's Bang Goes the Theory) has retweeted in support and (drum-roll) LORD RICHARD ATTENBOROUGH (like you need brackets to be told) has pledged his support!

But does the Odeon have yours? (As I've been typing this, over 400 people have signed!)