Bleats

Rebuilding Notre Dame Is A Waste Of Time, Money And It Won't Fix Anything

You cannot restore history.

Paris is my favourite place in the whole world. I feel at home and at ease there and never get tired of walking through its streets.

Every corner you turn there’s something beautiful to see. Sometimes it’s just an antique lamp post, but that’s what makes Paris Paris- the small touches of character.

I’m also a history nerd- I have a deep passion for architecture, art and stories. Three things which Paris has in abundance.

Paris has my heart. Which is why I cried when I first saw the pictures of Notre Dame burning. It PHYSICALLY hurt. The same sort of pain you feel after a break up, but minus the crappy ex.

Same.

Notre Dame was and is an icon in its own right, but I didn’t cry for the loss of an icon, I cried for everything that was lost along with it.

History is something that cannot be restored. If something breaks, you cannot repair it to the same state it was before. There’ll always be a crack, a scar and a memory of what happened.

The French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced that an international architectural competition for the reconstruction of the Notre Dame spire will be organised.

I get it. I respect it. But I think it’s a stupid project.

I won’t say it’s pointless- I understand the desire to rebuild what was lost. It provides a lot of catharsis to a lot of people. Seeing new architecture stand is much better than staring at a blackened burnt shell of a cathedral.

People, governments and corporations all over the world have made some really big pledges toward the project.

The first major donation (a casual 100 million euros) came from billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault who is married to actor Salma Hayek.

Then Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH (a luxury goods company which includes brands like Louis Vuitton, Sephora and Marc Jacobs), pledged double.

Apple CEO Tim Cook also announced the company would be “donating to the rebuilding efforts”.

A bunch more stupidly rich people have pledged money to rebuild Notre Dame. Over 1 billion dollars has been raised in just two days.

But rebuilding the damaged parts of the cathedral is just a vanity project designed to make people feel better and a city look better- it won’t fix anything.

Re-designing an icon is counterintuitive: replacing something old with something new completely changes the integrity and meaning of that thing. A new spire at Notre Dame is not the old spire and it never will be.

Instead of wasting time and money on a pointless restoration, why isn’t the world focusing on changing things before disaster strikes?

Our leaders should be donating to causes which address universal health, poverty or climate change.

It’s clearly something the world can afford- the wealthy and powerful just need to make the choice to put their money in places that will actually make a difference.

Notre Dame is gone, it’s not coming back. The sooner we face that reality, the sooner we can move forward and create new history.

Small Cinemas Are Your Ticket To Real Movie Magic, With Enough Change For Popcorn

Go small or go home.

Going to the movies can sometimes feel like a money grab.

You gotta fork out $25 just to get a seat and then more if you want popcorn. And you always want popcorn.

Then there’s the necessary packet of Maltesers (to go with the popcorn, duh) and the bottle of water you need to wash down all the salty sugary goodness.

THEN, if you want the VIP experience in leather or recliner seats, that’s even more.

At least they have wine now?

Basically, it’s a lot of $$$. And I get it: in the Netflix age, cinemas are trying their hardest to stay afloat. Charging a few extra dollars for a movie ticket is an easy way to keep the bottom line afloat.

But it’s not the best.

I can hear your shock. Maybe you’re confused or even a little bit angry at me.

“What are you talking about, lady? The cinema is the BEST way to watch a movie!”

“The screen is bigger.”

“The graphics are clearer.”

“There’s surround sound.”

“Have you tasted movie popcorn?!”

I hear you. Yeah, they’re all really good reasons.

But there’s one thing money can’t buy and a boujee leather seat can’t replace: intimacy.

Smaller cinemas offer the same experience for half the price, with better atmosphere, popcorn that is just as good, and less hectic air conditioning.

You know the type: a room only a few metres by a few metres with about 30 seats.

They’re not just warmer temperature-wise – they bring you closer to your fellow film lovers.

They’re not a dying breed – a lot of these smaller local cinemas still exist.

There’s Palace Cinemas all over Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Byron, just to name a few) where a range of films are screened, from international award winners to current box office hits for your basic mates. They also serve olive oil popcorn, which is the bomb diggity- don’t knock it till you try it – and also delicious booze.

Oh, and there are $10 ticket deals all the time.

There’s also good old Dendy Cinemas which has $8 (!!!) student tickets on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. If you’re a fully grown, then their regular tickets are $13.50 – which still saves you about $10 on the price of an adult ticket at a larger cinema chain.

Glenbrook Cinema in the Blue Mountains is proof that big commercial cinemas are overrated. It’s family-owned, with walls covered in black and white movie pics and memorabilia; the staff dress up for certain movie releases, and late night movie goers are sometimes treated to lollies when they leave.

All that service for $12.50 a ticket.

Great Lakes Cinema in Tuncurry, on New South Wales’ Mid-North Coast, is one of my personal favorites (probably because I watched Frozen there for the first time). The cinemas are only slightly bigger than my childhood bedroom, which isn’t very big, and the seats are the old fold-down theatre chairs. And it’s great.

I think you (ahem) get the picture: there are a lot of small, old-fashioned cinemas around and they’re well worth your time.

I’d say they’re also worth your money but they’ll hardly break the bank – and plenty have member programs where you can get free tickets, discounts, and previews.

Ultimately, size doesn’t (always) matter. Smaller cinemas just have so much to offer.

The small space makes them cosier and more atmospheric. Nothing says “authentic experience” like the sound of the person behind you laughing along… or the feel of them breathing on the back of your neck during a horror movie.

Small local cinemas don’t rely on fancy leather chairs or building-sized screens to bring the wow-factor. The joy of it all is in the simplicity.

There’s something to be said about enjoying a movie in an intimate setting.

So next time you feel like watching a film, go small or stay home.

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