David Parkin on a big screen star, a night in New York and a sting in the tale

THEY’VE been predicting the demise of cinemas for decades.

But they are undergoing a renaissance, led in no small part by “boutique” cinema chain Everyman.

This independent business opened its 19th cinema in Harrogate last week.

Having visited the Everyman in Leeds’ Trinity shopping centre, what I like about their approach is the individuality in terms of decor and the approach of its staff combined with consistent quality of films, food and customer service.

And that combination is clearly working: Everyman invested £10m in the Harrogate cinema, part of a development which includes restaurants and bars such as Cote, Cau, Byron Burger, Veeno and Yo Sushi on the site of the former Beales department store on Albert Street.

Having started out in London, the Harrogate cinema is Everyman’s most northerly opening, with others to open over the next 12 months in Chelmsford, Stratford Upon Avon, Cirencester and Kings Cross.

The Harrogate Everyman has five screens over two floors which have between 40 and 200 seats each.

As soon as you walk into each cinema, the decor, soft lighting and welcoming armchair and sofa-style seating encourages you to relax.

And so does the ability to have food and drink delivered to your seat such as bottles of wine, handmade pizzas and Everyman’s trademark Spielburgers.

I managed to cadge an invite to the official opening last week after chatting to Paul Lancaster of 4Urban, behind the development of the impressive project, on a recent cultural tour of Hull.

When I arrived I was met by a very friendly staff member called Mark who proceeded to give me a full tour of the venue. When I told him I liked red wine, he recommended Everyman’s Rioja and gave me a glass to sample.

I warmed to the place immediately.

At the launch party, the the local paper breathlessly informed its readers that the event was packed with VIPs such as Emmerdale stars and former England footballers, but I must have missed them.

However one woman, old enough to know better, did push past me saying: “Ooh look, there’s Marlon.”

I assume that was a character from Emmerdale and not former West Ham player Marlon Harewood.

I finally found a celebrity to chat to. Nick Brown is the new mayor of Harrogate and revelling in the new role.

He even promised to invite me into his mayor’s parlour for a drink.

Officially opening the venue, he said he’d always been a film buff and when serving on Leeds City Council, had sat on its licensing committee viewing films, some of which never made being screened to the public.

Mind you, he’s always been broad minded, has Nick.


I’LL hopefully be able to claim my part in a Guinness World Record thanks to a trip to Rotherham the other night.

I joined Ed Wood, the football fan I wrote about last month, who has launched a bid to reclaim the world record he set 25 years ago of watching a league game at every one of the football league grounds in the shortest time.

Ed is taking four months off work on a sabbatical, funding himself on the challenge and risking his girlfriend leaving him as he pursues his obsession to reclaim the record he set a quarter of a century ago and raise £50,000 for Prostate Cancer UK on the way.

Derby County fan Ed, who lives in Leeds, held the Guinness World Record after visiting all 92 football league grounds in England and Wales plus Berwick Rangers, who play in the Scottish league, in 243 days during the 1991/2 season.

Thanks to an invitation from Ed’s former Lloyds Bank colleague, Evan Griffin, I joined him at his 19th game of the season when Rotherham played Nottingham Forest.

It was my first visit to Rotherham’s new home, known as the New York Stadium.

It got its name because it is built next to the former Guest & Chrimes foundry which made all the manhole covers and fire hydrants for New York.

A nice touch is that the music played just before kick-off is Frank Sinatra’s New York New York.

Our host was local entrepreneur Paul Thompson, who founded and recently sold digital innovation business PFIKS.

Tall and good humoured, Paul looks like a young Lawrie McMenemy.

Told by Evan that Derby County fan Ed’s favourite ever player is Ted McMinn, Paul had used his contacts to get a signed copy of the former Rangers, Rams and Sevilla winger’s autobiography.

Paul told us that he had invited Ted to join Ed at the match but he is recovering from a leg operation. However the Scot had sent a good luck video message for him too.

What a star.

Ed was interviewed on stage after the match by ex-Millers player John Breckin and managed to get selfies with players and former Premier League referee Uriah Rennie.

“I’m making a lot of followers for the Challenge on Twitter and friends on Facebook,” Ed informed us earnestly. “I find the best demographic of people to approach to talk to about what I’m doing is men aged between 30 and 50.”

“Have you tried Grindr?” said someone, helpfully.


I BUMPED into Louise Handley and her colleagues from the legal firm 3volution at the TechTrade Yorkshire exhibition at Elland Road last week.

I’m sure plenty of businesses wrack their brains to come up with something different to engage attendees when you have a stand at such events.

The 3volution team were offering a bottle of Bollinger for the best joke about lawyers.

I asked Louise which was her favourite so far.

She said it was: What’s the difference between a female lawyer and a pitbull?

Answer: Lipstick.

Now I couldn’t have told you that joke, but because she told me I’m able to.


THE recent warm weather has seen me embrace the continental fashion of not wearing socks with my shoes.

Some sartorial heathens have been somewhat critical of this and so when I did wear a pair of socks the other day what I didn’t expect was a wasp to fly straight up my trouser leg and sting me on the back of the calf.

Sitting on a train next to a serious-looking professional woman, I did my best to grit my teeth and bear the pain from the sting. However I gave up and in an attempt to dislodge the wasp, started to shake my trouser leg like a demented morris dancer.

I’m not sure if she thought I’d lost the plot or was performing a mating dance.

But she moved carriages rather sharpish.

Have a great weekend.

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