Going to the pictures - in the good old days?
In about 1953 or 1954 when I was 8 or 9 years old, I was accosted on 2 occasions by men while at the pictures. The first time was in the Tolmer cinema near Warren Street tube station which was about 20 minutes by bus from my house.
I was sitting watching the screen in the dark when I noticed that a man sitting to my left one empty seat away was quietly signalling to me to get my attention. I couldn’t understand what he wanted so I just ignored him.
He tried again and when I looked, he had some coins in the palm of his hand, three 2‑shilling pieces I think, and he seemed to be offering them to me. I didn’t understand what was happening but I instinctively thought that I should ignore him again and I turned my head away to look at the screen.
I was sitting on my seat leaning back with my knees up against the back of the seat in front. The next thing I knew, the man had reached over and dropped the coins into the upturned bottoms of my short pants. I felt them cold against my skin.
I quickly retrieved the coins and reached over and dropped them back in his lap, and then resumed watching the screen. The man sat there for a few more minutes and then, to my relief, went away. I didn’t understand what had happened but I felt it was not right. I never told my mum or anybody about it for many, many years, in fact decades afterwards.
The second time was in the Odeon cinema on Junction Road between Tufnell Park and Archway tube stations, not far from where I lived. It was in the middle of the afternoon and there weren’t many people in the audience. I sat about 10 rows from the front with no one else within 5 or 6 seats of me.
After some time, a man started to make his way along my row and as he passed in front of me to get by, he slid his hand along the front of my trousers, and then sat down a few seats away. I didn’t think too much about this at the time, although I distinctly remember his hand sliding on my trousers. It was just accidently, I thought.
Sometime later, forgetting all about what had happened, I decided to go for a pee. As I was standing at the urinal, a man came in to the toilet and started to pee in the next urinal. All of a sudden, he turned to me and said, “Where shall we sit next?” I looked up at him, flabbergasted! I said nothing and quickly left the toilet.
I don’t know if this was the same man who had rubbed his hand on me before because it was dark when it happened, but I should think so. I was a bit worried and looked around for a seat near a woman. I’m not sure why I did this, but I instinctively thought that this would be safer. I found a seat near an old woman and sat down on it.
A couple of minutes passed and then I noticed the man from the toilet sitting about 3 seats away from me in the same row. And, I didn’t know at the time what he was doing, but he was wanking himself! If I’d been asked to describe it then, I would have said he was rubbing his willy. Nothing else happened though, and as before, I never told my mum or anyone about it for a long, long time.