Penultimate pictures

That was the PPP (Penultimate Picture Palace), 1982. The real birthplace of my affair with cinema. I remember because I walked into town from Divinity Road each day (instead of using the bicycle, which at least having the stroke gave me an excuse for not riding. Did Lea ever manage? It really gave me hope when you said she couldn’t ride either!)

I went past the PPP every day and they changed their programme every day. And so on the way into town the idea would be seeded, and coming out of town that afternoon I’d think: what the hell, and go.

It was only 99p! I remember seeing Body Heat there 2 or 3 times. With a John Barry score I can still sing…

I came up with a list of films I saw in the cinema while at Oxford (sorry, it’s just me these days):

The PPP:

Body Heat 


The Elephant Man

Apocalypse Now

The Long Good Friday 

Rumble Fish

Many, many more…

This was 1982/3.

At the Moulin Rouge (sister cinema in Headington, had to take a car):

Days of Heaven

Lola Montes

And at the Phoenix, Walton St (more upmarket) I saw:

Prenom Carmen

Swann In Love (which I went to again and again, because Proust was one of my special subjects!)

Les Enfants Du Paradis

Polanski’s Macbeth – a late night screening with Julian Thomas and Nicole, which was also the first time I met you. You had short hair (this was first year, 1981/2) and an angry, faintly dikey (NOT dicey, as spellcheck keeps correcting me) expression, and I’d seen you before on the train to Oxford on Monday morning, which meant you were ok because you didn’t like it either!

And when you phoned in the summer holidays about the room, I knew who you were and thought: yippee!

(I probably never told you any of this because it was ‘wrong’, and anyway I’ve only just consciously remembered it!)

And at the Odeon:

The French Lieutenant’s Woman

Scarface (still traumatised by the chainsaw!)

The Bounty


Breathless (Jim McBride version, with Dexy’s Midnight Runners)

(Such good movies they used to have, even at the Odeon, before the 80s really took hold…)


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I had a stroke on July 26th, 2013. I was a screenwriter. Don’t do that anymore. But have found another way to write.

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