surinenglish

Picture perfect

The phone rang yesterday and to my delight it was one of those people who always calls with some piece of good news or other.

"Hi Peter. I was just at a meeting for next year's film festival in Malaga and - although it's not a hundred per cent certain yet - we were wondering if you might be able to play a couple of songs at the presentation of one of the films which has a Scottish theme."

Thankfully, I was able to push to one side the somewhat traumatic mental image of me sporting a kilt and singing Donald Where's Your Troosers, in order to be able to reply both sensibly and soberly.

"Of course, it'd be a pleasure. Where will the venue be if it goes ahead?"

"In the Albéniz."

Now then, this was a reply that really brought joy to my heart. The Albéniz cinema is one of the few remaining authentically Malagueñan touch stones left in the city centre amid the merciless onslaught of international franchises and generic restaurants that engulf the beleaguered town with an ever firmer grip.

If you've never been, I thoroughly recommend it. They often have original version films on with Spanish subtitles and consistently programme a wide array of pictures from cult to classic and back again. However, as far as I'm concerned, it's not even the films themselves that are the main attraction, rather the sense of nostalgia which swaddles you as you enter.

It's one of those places where you can feel the history seeping from the walls; it showed its first film in 1945 and, as far as I know, has been screening pictures ever since.

A few years back, I made a short film in Malaga, just to see how it was done and we were lucky enough to be able to screen it to a full house in the Albéniz one fine summer's evening (free tickets - always a good move in such circumstances). That was a night to remember if ever there was one with buckets of popcorn and usherettes and everything to boot.

"So, we can count on you to sing at the festival then, Peter, if it all goes ahead as planned?"

"You most certainly can."

I reached eagerly for my guitar as soon as the phone conversation finished.

"Let the wind blow high, let the wind blow low, tum tee tum tee tum..."