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Mareel - Cinema & Music Venue


madcow
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Just to let eveyone know.

 

Myself and Ian Johnston of Grays have spoken today and we fully understand and I hope appreciate each others positions on this one.

 

We (possibly the project team or whoever) will be meeting with him in due course to look at the process or potential of complimentary programming for BOTH venues - although that in respect of the proposed facility is still a long way off 3 - 4 years as I say.

 

Just thought that knowing this fact might save a lot of un-necessary postings thats all.

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Guest Anonymous

This is all I'm going to say:

 

My Position:

 

Like many punters out there (before I started working in the trade), I thought that there was an utter fortune to be made by selling booze. It di d not however take long for me to realise that the weekend trade simply makes up for the huge losses during the week. As more establishments opened the financial position of the trade became weakend. Publicans in Shetland are facing one of the hardest periods in recent times, the offtrade prices in the supermarkets keep falling but their rates keep going up forcing them to increase pricing to cover overheads. I can hear the sceptics say youve only had yourselves to blame etc. but the facts are that the only reason the trade does not improve its facilities is because it can't afford to.

 

Yes mistakes have been made opportunities missed, but its hard to follow trends and changes in how people think. Its also very costly to keep up with the times.

 

The STLA:

 

The main reason this association was formed was due to the current changes in rules with regards to selling the product. Health & Safety was becoming a big concern to us all as was changes in employment law. Therefore the STLA reformed allowing us all to have regular meetings and voice our opinion. We all became worried regarding the smoking ban and held a few meetings on how we thought this would affect the trade. During these meeting the music venue was mentioned but like many of the Shetland public we could not envisage the project getting off the ground.

 

By my own admition we left it too late to react, we should have voiced our concerns sooner, but we are here now and this is how I see it:

 

Regarding the Music side of the project, my opinion is that The sessions in the Lounge bar can never be matched, my memories of sitting in the "trinky" listening to bogey Dalziel and pals will stay with me forever. Forget the surroundings and decor its the people that count, you can't create an atmosphere (GGH treid that with Moonies). You shouldn't pay for that either it should simply happen. That is what makes Shetland tick. Take that away and we have lost everything. That I feel is the danger with the venue, I know Davie understands this but will his replacement?

 

This is where the tightrope lies, people enjoying music or people merely performing.

 

I do however understand that a market is yet to be tapped into but this market will not pay the wages. When things become tighter the manager will be forced to revert to the good ole bread n butter.

 

The legality of us (JWG) bringing up DJ'S or any SLTA member paying for music in competition against the venue is most certainly an issue one which must be examined by Davie etc. Nobody wants to be forced to go to court, Therefore the council must look into this minefield to avoid any embarresment.

 

The cinema to me is a waste of time, I am not going into facts and figures this time. Speaking for myself the main reason I go to the cinema south and not at home is because I don't want to hear "Iain bouy hows doo gettin on, is doo going oot fir a pint we Davie Gardner!!..." etc etc. A picture house here can't work because our culture won't let it, our neds won't let it and our close knit community won't let it. That is a fact Shetland can never replicate the South atmosphere of cinema or eating out. If this was otherwise Bolts DVD hire wouldn't be such a success.

 

So if the council votes on the 29th to go ahead let it be,but we have to work together or our community is split.

 

Whatever you may think of the trade they are the risk takers, they are people with houses up as security, they are contributors to our Islands and must be consulted.

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Just thinking earlier this evening.....the first time I saw the only cinema in a town closing to be turned into a supermarket was around 1966. No dvd or video competition then and the tv programmes were a bit limited. Not sure what that means in terms of the new venue.

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Guest Anonymous

Davie, thanks for the answers to my points.

 

So Clickimin WILL lose money, unless they were giving their facilities to the Art Trust for nothing? Also bar profits from gigs, no matter how small, will be lost by SRT too. Presumably the savings in hiring Clickimin and bar profits have been factored in to the anticipated 80K loss? But in any case, SRT revenue will be down if this venue goes ahead.

 

This is my concern with this venture, the proposition is to spend million of pounds of public money creating a loss making entity that largely replicates existing facilities, (albeit not gold standard ones) and that will take earnings away from other publicly funded loss making entities.

 

The public/private debate is interesting. EU law prohibits public subsidised undercutting private enterprise doesn't it? So pub prices in the bar at least, and hire of the venue at comprable to what GH would charge for the Death Star?

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This is all I'm going to say:

 

My Position:

 

Yes mistakes have been made opportunities missed, but its hard to follow trends and changes in how people think. Its also very costly to keep up with the times.

 

Really good to speak to you yesterday Iain, and I am glad, now that we have hopefully made the plans a bit clearer to your sector, that common ground obviously exists.

 

I / we totally appreciate your position Iain and fully sympathise with it, but can I ask how then is this best addressed? What of the future? If this trend continues in the commercial / private sector what will we have left in terms of social amenities, let alone ones to develop our music scene?

 

If the current trend continues (and the SLTA suggests our economy is in meltdown - although I dont totally agree with this) is it possible that some commercial premises will potentially have to close in any case, leaving us with nothing? If, as you say yourself, there is not the private money available to improve the quality of the current commercial facilities, or the services they provide, as things stand anyway, where does this leave us? Will things simply be left to deterioate further or shuld we try to act now rather than later? The picture you paint is not a great vision for our social scene or the related local economy

 

Say this project is stopped as you desire, and we subsequently lose even some of these, it will take a very long time indeed to start from scratch again and try to replace what is lost rather than be pro-active and try to move with the times as you put it, while still trying to work together to deliver an all round service to the Shetland community as a whole. We will most certainly lose the external funding we have attracted and might then have to pay for the whole project from local sources.

 

Regarding the Music side of the project, my opinion is that The sessions in the Lounge bar can never be matched, my memories of sitting in the "trinky" listening to bogey Dalziel and pals will stay with me forever. Forget the surroundings and decor its the people that count, you can't create an atmosphere (GGH treid that with Moonies). You shouldn't pay for that either it should simply happen. That is what makes Shetland tick. Take that away and we have lost everything. That I feel is the danger with the venue, I know Davie understands this but will his replacement?

 

I agree totally of course - well perhaps not with the statement that we would lose "everything" if they were to stop - however desperate that would be. However, there is no suggestion that these will ever be taken away, we certainly would never consider such an approach and more importantly I simply cant see the musicians wanting to give up this incredible 'institution' either in favour of playing in a small cafe bar in the venue. As you say others may have tried it, but it hasn't stopped or even moved to another pub, even though there are eqaully good sessions from time to time in the Noost and Marlex. And I notice Baroc have not tried them nor the musicians moved there for 'good surroundings'

 

Equally, although the Lounge sessions are of course a fantastic asset in their own right and an ingrained part of the Shetland music and cultural scene and gain us a lot of recognition on a world wide basis, surely it cannot be the 'be all and end all' of Shetland music - especially in developmental terms? Granted its events such as these, and the musicians who play in them, that have got us to where we are today - its just a case of, as you put it yourself, times moving on and other opportunities being addressed as they come our way. And what about the under 18's?

 

Such 'progress' took place when Tom Anderson introduced traditional fiddle tuition in schools for instance. Of course, for hundreds of years prior to that it had not needed this particular service to deliver good musicians - none of the great names of the past came through the school system. But who could deny the success of this today and the terrific number of new, young musicians it delivers us - and still external demand is outstripping our ability to supply, believe it or not. Equally who quibbles about the price of this service even though it is substantial and is totally funded by the Chartiable Trust of course.

 

As to my 'replacement - they like me will be largely driven by the needs and opinion of the sector we represent rather than doing things off our own backs.

 

 

I do however understand that a market is yet to be tapped into but this market will not pay the wages. When things become tighter the manager will be forced to revert to the good ole bread n butter.

 

If the wages are to be met from the public purse in terms of managing a 'service' (this is already part of the £80,000 deficit so often quoted over the past few days) then this is not an issue. If this is to be a partly publicly funded venture, any manager will have to meet the terms and conditions of his / her remit as we all do in the public sector and would not have total autonomy. Of course they will have to meet certain targets and there will be specific programmes to do this that will have greater commercial appeal than others, but this area would be the one both parties should discuss in terms of 'complimentary' programming.

 

The legality of us (JWG) bringing up DJ'S or any SLTA member paying for music in competition against the venue is most certainly an issue one which must be examined by Davie etc. Nobody wants to be forced to go to court, Therefore the council must look into this minefield to avoid any embarresment.

 

It most certainly will be before anythng physically takes place

 

 

The cinema to me is a waste of time, I am not going into facts and figures this time. Speaking for myself the main reason I go to the cinema south and not at home is because I don't want to hear "Iain bouy hows doo gettin on, is doo going oot fir a pint we Davie Gardner!!..." etc etc. A picture house here can't work because our culture won't let it, our neds won't let it and our close knit community won't let it. That is a fact Shetland can never replicate the South atmosphere of cinema or eating out. If this was otherwise Bolts DVD hire wouldn't be such a success.

 

I'm not a cinema expert Iain so on specific facts and figures I will also leave this to one side, although they have all been done I can assure you. They suggest it can indeed work and, for comparitive reasons, a successful cinema is running in Thurso of all places.

 

All the evidence collated to date suggests a cinema can work and, believe it or not, once built, it needs very few people to go on a evening by evening basis to make it work. If you do not hire staff to singularly run that facility (hence the plan for a dual purpose facility) you reduce overheads even more. The figures are all in the feasibility study etc.

 

I'm a bit unclear re your comment "our culture and close knit community" wont let it". How are we different from other places and where is the evidence? I'm also unclear as to why we cannot replicate a small cinema in Shetland similar to ones on the mainland or how our eating out differs?

 

All I can say is that the main drive from the public on this one, especially among the young, has been even greater in terms of the cinema than it was for the music element and we are purely reacting to that demand. The angle largely being "the Garrison does a pretty good service but all the films are shown packed together on one weekend a month, the seating is poor and their are few if any additional services". In short what the public have been telling us, in pretty substantial numbers I might add, is that they want more of a cinema 'experience'. Obviously doing something about the seating might not be a huge problem but there is very limited, or perhaps no, room for an expansion of related services - which in themselves would improve the commercial viability of a cinema. Believe it or not statistics prove that 'pepsi and popcorn' bring in much more revenue that tickets for the films themselves.

 

Sure Bolts is a success but there will always be the desire for home entertainment in addition to an evening out. Cinemas (of all sizes) work in many areas hand in hand with very successful DVD hireres and retailers too.

 

So if the council votes on the 29th to go ahead let it be,but we have to work together or our community is split.

 

Agree 100% and we have stated this from the outset.

 

Whatever you may think of the trade they are the risk takers, they are people with houses up as security, they are contributors to our Islands and must be consulted.

 

Agreed again of course

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Davie, thanks for the answers to my points.

 

So Clickimin WILL lose money, unless they were giving their facilities to the Art Trust for nothing?

 

You could put it like that. But consider the fact that the Chartiable Trust fund both Trusts. So as things stand at the moment we get money from them to hire the Clickimin which is funded by the CT as well. A money-go-round within the same walls and it takes people and time to administer this.

 

 

Also bar profits from gigs, no matter how small, will be lost by SRT too. Presumably the savings in hiring Clickimin and bar profits have been factored in to the anticipated 80K loss? But in any case, SRT revenue will be down if this venue goes ahead.

 

As with expenditure, income from both Trusts generally returns to the same pot too, although Clickimin have set up a seperate catering 'company' to manage their food and drink wing. I would like to think this has all be taken into accout by the powers that be although I was not directly involved in this part of the process.

 

As I say Clickimin are certainly not an objector and I am sure that the GM of the Chartiable Trust would be down on us like a tons of bricks it this were an issue.

 

This is my concern with this venture, the proposition is to spend million of pounds of public money creating a loss making entity that largely replicates existing facilities, (albeit not gold standard ones) and that will take earnings away from other publicly funded loss making entities.

 

Again you could put it like that and have a valid argument. But as I say Clickimin is generally provided for sporting provision and not for music provision as such. Even laying aside the arguments re acoustics or whatever Clickimin is almost impossible to hire when you actually need it - such is the demand on it from the sporting fraternity. As such we dont see this issue replicating that anyway. I have hopefully covered Islesburgh and the Garrison issues earlier in this thread. Earnings I have hopefully covered above.

 

As to a loss making entitly - well probably, but remember the business plan also shows that, at best, it could make anything up to a £100,000 profit - whether you choose to believe it or not. And if this community 'investment', as I personally would prefer to call it, does physically work, then other external areas of the local economy will also benefit - its not just about direct £'s through its own door.

 

The public/private debate is interesting. EU law prohibits public subsidised undercutting private enterprise doesn't it?

 

Correct

 

So pub prices in the bar at least, and hire of the venue at comprable to what GH would charge for the Death Star?

 

Correct again. It has never ever been the intention to offer subsided food and drink - indeed the prices could well be higher. As I mentioned yesterday it could well be that the food / drink element of the facillity be franchised out to an existing local provider in any case. This option is included the existing feasibility studies and has yet to be fully explored, so its quite conceivable that some of the objectors at this juncture could well be runnning this element of the facility in future.

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More thoughts. Even back in 1960 one of my local cinemas was so hard up that they would let kids in to X rated movies as long as we said we were 18. But then we argued that we should get in at the childs half price rate so we got that as well. Interestingly this cinema was diesel powered.....the throb of the generator in the background making the tense quiet moments from the films seem somehow strange. I dare say DG can confirm this but I seem to remember some of the films had an H classification (for horror).

 

Dare I express a hope that if the cinema part of the venue gets built the design will make it usable for concerts, recitals, lectures (and even public meetings) so that if films do not prove popular the cinema will not sit empty and unused.

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[

quote="JustMe]More thoughts. Even back in 1960 one of my local cinemas was so hard up that they would let kids in to X rated movies as long as we said we were 18. But then we argued that we should get in at the childs half price rate so we got that as well. Interestingly this cinema was diesel powered.....the throb of the generator in the background making the tense quiet moments from the films seem somehow strange. I dare say DG can confirm this but I seem to remember some of the films had an H classification (for horror).

 

Ah this brings back memories. The clank of the projectors, hardly being able to see the screen for smoke, the delight of the ice-cream seller (usually more exicting than the films on offer) and going to my first ever film "Your Cheating Heart" - the Hank Williams story - which was the 'support film for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (how about that for programming). Mind you it created an ongoing love for old Hank and his music from that day to this. Snow White was OK too.

 

Sneaking in underage to see Rosesmary's Baby and being sick during the first ever showing of the Exorsist - not due to the content of the film but by pro-actively trying to counteract the films supposedly distressing scene's (remember people had been trowing themselves out windows etc after seeing the thing) through an overdose of vodka and coke in the Kveldsro before we went - and yes I'm pretty sure an H certificate did exist.

 

Dare I express a hope that if the cinema part of the venue gets built the design will make it usable for concerts, recitals, lectures (and even public meetings) so that if films do not prove popular the cinema will not sit empty and unused.

 

This has not been discussed due to the fact we believe it will work.

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Guest Anonymous

I have to agree with Iain on the cinema and shetland culture. Lving Sooth, you can go and see a film and have a fairly relaxed, anonymous evening. In Shetland this is nigh impossible! you would be sitting in the cinema, surrounded by work colleauges, relatives etc etc , it would be borderline ridiculous!! i can see many a fight breaking out!

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Guest Anonymous
In Shetland this is nigh impossible! you would be sitting in the cinema, surrounded by work colleauges, relatives etc etc , it would be borderline ridiculous!! i can see many a fight breaking out!

 

Am I missing something here? Why would fights break out? I didn't know watching films in silence caused rage and conflict. Maybe I've not been going to the right cinemas....

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