In these manuscript notes, Angela Carter reveals how important the Granada cinema in Tooting was to her. Carter chose the south west London cinema as a setting for the Omnibus television programme, ‘Angela Carter's Curious Room’. A profile of her life and work, the programme was filmed in January 1992, a month before her death. The notes are part of a collection of related material, including a script and correspondence.
At the Tooting Granada Carter discovered her love for cinema and film – a love that she would later weave into essays and novels such as Wise Children (1991). Perhaps most importantly, the Granada shaped Carter’s imagination and aesthetic sensibility. On those Friday night ‘rare treats’ to the cinema with her father, Carter felt transported from the drab, ordinary world outside:
to step through the door of this dream cathedral of voluptuous thirties wish-fulfillment [sic] architecture was to set up a tension within me that has never resolved the tension between inside + outside, between the unappeasable appetite for the unexpected, the gorgeous, the gim-grack [sic], the fantastic, the free play of the imagination…
These visits, Carter suggests, irreversibly changed her, unlocking ‘a tension’ that she pursued in her fiction. Her ornate, witty prose grew out of this building of kitsch, gothic, rococo extravagance that brashly mixed styles and ‘the real + the false – real marble hugger-mugger with plaster, so you have to tap everything to see if it sounds hollow or solid’.