Published On: Tue, Jan 22nd, 2013

Glasgow Reeling



By Briony Fraser


How often do you do it? Do you indulge only at home, or will you do it in public?

The way we watch movies has changed.  3D TVs, projectors and surround sound systems, now let the average joe enjoy a cinematic experience from the comfort of their couch.

Add to this file sharing software, and temptation is high download pirate films. This was shown in 2008, when Glasgow was recorded to have had the second highest rate of illegal software in the UK.

Yet this wasn’t always the case, there was a time when weegies were thought to be among the keenest cinema goers in the world.

In 1910 Glasgow’s first cinema, The Electric Theatre, opened providing not just films, but a glamorous place to share them.

Since then over a hundred cinemas have opened and closed their doors in the city.

In 1929 Sauchiehalll Street hosted the ABC business’s flagship cinema, and in 2009 it was converted into today’s nightclub. While some picture houses have had similar restoration, many more have been demolished in favour of multiplex cinemas.

These buildings, although not as romantic as their predecessors, do support cutting edge technology, such as 3D and DBox screenings.

However, with basic adult tickets for a DBox seat costing £11.70, this adds to the controversy of rising ticket costs.

One customer, feeling the pinch is 20 year old student, Bea. She said the cost of screenings has restricted her visits.

“I don’t go to the cinema quite as much as I used to mainly because of the price.

“I think there’s definitely been an increase over the past few years, even with my student discount.”

On the other hand, mother of two, Clare thinks there are some good bargains to be had.

“Some cinemas are now doing screenings with families in mind. Sometimes I’ll pay as little as a pound for a ticket.”

Just as there is a range in prices, so is there a range of experiences in Glasgow cinema.  Bargains and blockbusters are specialities of Cineworld, whereas grown-up escapism can be found in the comfy and licensed Grosvenor.

If its niche cinema you are after, the Glasgow Film Theatre is the prime venue. With foreign films and golden oldies, it has something for everyone.

When better to sample its variety than this February, when the GFT will host the ninth Glasgow Film Festival.

To view the programme and book tickets visit the website at