I’ve been seriously worried by some local news stories here in sunny Edinburgh recently about the wonderful Cameo cinema, which the current owners are considering selling parts of – notably the main auditorium. There have been stories about a proposed ‘superbar’ in Cameo 1’s graceful environs (like Edinburgh city centre really needs another bar) and counter stories that some films will still be projected there but with only a few seats.
The Cameo is an Edinburgh institution; a beautiful, friendly cinema showing a good mix of alternative, cult and world cinema with a terrific bar (and a licensed auditorium so you can take your drink in with you to the screening!) and a major component of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (Tarantino claims it as one of his favourite cinemas in the world and I seem to recall it is where a small, relatively unknown film called Reservoir Dogs was shown to packed Film Fest goers).
I’ve spent many a happy time in the Cameo; I’ve danced in the aisle at midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Show, laughed as fans turned up for a double-screening of surf movies Big Wednesday and Point Break in wetsuits, blond wigs and carrying ironing boards (the Cameo crew rewarded them with lots of free popcorn). I’ve watched big international hits like Pulp Fiction there and tiny independents like Primer; I’ve watched films in lord knows how many languages there and chatted with first-time directors in the lovely bar after Film Fest screenings. With good student discounts and the club card the Cameo, along with the nearby Filmhouse, was one of my second homes during my college days.
It is one of the most comfortable and welcoming cinemas I’ve ever been into and Cameo 1, the main screen, is gorgeous and a venue beloved not only by our city’s many film fans but by the thousands who come for the Festival too, so this is not just a local story. I really can’t undesrstand why the current owners are being so damned stupid. My chum Claudia pointed me to a site set up to campaign for the Cameo – it has the full story and also a petition you can sign to help save this wonderful emporium of the moving image. For those of you who have loved the Cameo I’d urge you to visit the site and sign the petition – December 9th is the deadline for objections, so act now.