Up on the roof you’ll spot some half smoked ciggies; pigeons, poets and kisses (secret smooching only when it’s dark). The staff lean, huddle, perch, and if someone’s feeling a little flirty they may sidle up next to the guy hogging the step. Beer barrels are bystanders, and fruit crates prop up the awkward lemon: a newbie who doesn’t smoke but is there ‘just coz’.
Clouds do their cycle; white fluff to moody grey, disappear and back again. Just like us. Our collective feeling and tone of conversation changes like the weather pattern. The only constant is a crane: stooped in the near distance, bowing down to the hovering sun/ moon.
There’s a boom and slump of the cinema trade cycle throughout the day. We like the little patches of customer inactivity, when they’re all comfy and rustling in their red velvet seats. This lets us steal a few cheeky puffs of a ciggie, up on the roof.
A boy reads out his poem about the street cleaners in Japan, and a girl cackles at a joke that she’s heard before. At some point we all sigh when we think about the customers; their complaints, mess and malfunction all cranking away below.
A noisy fan extracts the air from the cinema and blows out the stuffiness into our private break space. There’s a handy poster of a cartoon blue blob monster, he’s the authority that tells us to ‘ put your litter in the bin’. But there ain’t no bin, so I’ll have to stick my gum to The Man, up on the roof.
If there’s one, five or even the intimate two, someone will always be a little lost in their private phone world. They’re escaping this escape by texting and ‘liking’, but we’ve learnt to not feel that their semi- absence is awkward, when we’re up on the roof.
It’s a real fantastical scene played out just above the unreal action on the screen. We’re all evaporated and floating in a situation where we don’t feel quite ourselves. Dried milk splashes and popcorn dust cling to our black uniform tops. We don’t look smart, but we’re all the same, so that looks alright I suppose.