Eifion, who is currently editing and advising me on the sequel to my grand opus The Carmarthen Underground, is also a journalist and author. He's sent me a copy of Through the Decades, which I'm going to enjoy looking at today. It's a compilation of articles, memories and photos of the area. I don't think he'll mind me quoting from 1953:
" No discos or drugs, one rugby club dance a week, no drink. The band stopped playing for about 20 minutes to have a quick pint in a local pub. No one could enter the dance after 10.30pm. Dances finished about 11.30pm. The pubs closed early and the street lights went out at midnight till about 5am.
Gorseinon had two cinemas, the Lido and the Cinema (now the billiard hall). Films changed mid-week at each. Seats were about 9d in the very front and the best were about 2s8d or 3s. My local swings and roundabouts were padlocked on a Sunday as youngsters were expected to go to church or chapel.
In pubs women were not allowed in the bar area, in fact women in general would be frowned upon even if accompanied by their husband. If a single or unaccompanied woman went in her good name was gone. Pubs catered for the workers in heavy industry so there were no frills, fancy drinks or jukeboxes."
Just to clarify for non-Brits, 9d was worth about 3.5 pence in current money (5p = 1 shilling, 12d in a shilling). Not sure what that is in cents at the moment.
It's a shame that the book is now out of print but it might still be available online.
I just did a very quick, and unsuccessful) search of Amazon and Y Lolfa for the book. I would like to get a copy of it, so if you find where it may be available, let us know.
The price you spoke of would be a little more than a nickel (5c) - 5.8 cents based on an exchange of about $1.65 to the Pound (Sterling) now.
It is on www.amazon.co.uk (used copies at a reasonable price). If it's a problem for you to buy from the UK one, I could get it for you and post it on.
Yes, anyone who remembers the very old days of Coronation St will recall the "snug" next to the bar where Ena Sharples and co drank their stout. But my mother (who never had more than shandy anyway and doesn't drink at all now) remembers that women didn't go into pubs if they valued their reputations. Thankfully that attitude (and pubs) have changed quite a bit since then. Sadly, a lot of pubs have closed recently; it's partly because of the smoking ban I suppose. Others have had to up their game, serve breakfast and so on. The days of sticky, swirly carpets are passing, thank heaven!
Hi Gaynor, I sometimes went to the Lido Cinema, Gorseinon in the early fifties. I remember seeing the 'Student Prince' because I was in love with Mario Lanza by the time the film finished.
My brother, friend and I went to a Saturday afternoon matinee (what a lovely way to spent a winter's afternoon), once. There was a big wide screen (I think it was vista-vision or something similar) and, as we took our seats, Alan-a-Dale was strumming a song to Maid Marian.
During the film the usherette shone her torch on us, telling us to be quiet. That's what's made it memorable.
As I grew older, I developed a penchant for foreign films with subtitles. One story was about a girl called Mercedes who married a dentist. On their touring honeymoon a vital screw in the car engine kept unscrewing. As they stopped the car at the edge of a sheer precipice the screw fell off. I think it had a happy ending. I would have remembered if it hadn't.
Another film, though not foreign, was called 'True as a Turtle', about a boat turning turtle.
Perhaps I should have been a film critic after all.
I just looked up True as a Turtle as I'd never heard of it and I'm a bit of a film fan. It seems to be available on DVD.
I used to go to the Capitol (no longer a cinema) and the Lyric in Carmarthen. It was a big treat to sit upstairs but of course a lot cheaper downstairs and we might have Kia-Ora or an ice cream in the interval from the woman with the tray. Not like these days where people have a year's supply of popcorn and gallons of cola with them.
Things aren't all bad these days though; my local boutique cinema here in London has armchairs with space for your gin and tonic and tapas!
The Globe cinema in Cardiff was close to where I lived as a student, on Wellfield Road (Roath). It's a bar or something now. Then, you could rely on the seats being half-broken and the film slowly breaking down halfway through. Great fun.
The Odeon in Sketty was my cinema in the early '50s. Saturday mornings - cartoons, cowboys, Laurel & Hardy; then we'd ride our imaginary horses through Singleton Park on the way home.In the mid '60s, the Odeon was relocated to Kingsway. As a young teen, the 'fun' at cinemas was for someone to shout "Who burned the cakes?' then as the usherette rushed, torch in hand, to locate the culprit, someone else (on the otherside of the cinema, of course) would shout the response: 'Alfie!' - then the usherette would chase in that direction. Before she'd get there, a wag elsewhere would ring a bicycle bell - followed on the opposite side by a bicycle horn. I never went to watch a film, just for the 'floor show'! Great memories
I'll look at the .co.uk Amazon site for the book.