The Rex is apologising to all the new parents we have just insulted and thrown out of the building with the bath water.
As a result of my making fun of our baby matinees in April’s programme some weird out-of-proportion slow-news weekend broke loose.
It is true, I stuck out for the baby matinees from the off, in spite or because of complaints from the older audience (not all of them) and complaints from the staff about their complaints (all of them). Which is why ‘May Contain Babies’ Tuesday matinees lasted so long.
As for the nappies, which caused such a national stir. There were a few stray nappies, but nothing to cause Daily Mail freelancers to dash ‘all this way’ and spend two/three hours knocking at my door and hanging around the green to get the ‘full story’.
I thought they were estate agents so didn’t open it. Finally, when I went outside to confront them, they complained they had been sent ‘all the way’ from London by the Mail (a whole 25 minutes I pointed out). They got nothing they came for but wrote it up anyway.
The Telegraph rang, as did the Times, Heart Radio and the Mail Online. I talked to none but each published something anyway. As I guessed nobody listens, I did talk to Three Counties Radio. The whole circus was finished off by Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times enjoying the notion: “Any party that promises to put ‘my child first’ middle class mums in prison and confiscate their babies gets my vote”. Good clear thinking Rod, it’s Ukip for you then.
The unwelcome congratulations I received and this ridiculous press coverage has made me accountable. The whole idea was to give new young parents a taste of normality. My own daughter has a new baby (and with a tank for a pram). The nappies and fierce new mothers caught the tabloid dribble, but the real reason for stopping baby matinees was spelt out and emphasised clearly.
We cannot show above 12A certificate films with new born babies present. This sly, nasty little detail came from somebody threatening to jeopardize the Rex cinema licence. It alone was the straw.
I apologise to you appreciative new parents who took care of the Rex. We’ll look into the certificate rules over the summer, and providing we can sort out the tanks and enjoy polite exchanges, will endeavour to reinstate May Contain Babies in the Autumn – at the Odyssey too.
Ps From this non-event came one decent header, in the Mail, uncharacteristically…
“Cinema manager throws his toys out of the pram…”