We, here at the Bath Chronicle, are doing an eight page picture supplement to mark the remarkable night last Thursday when Nicolas Cage switched on the Bath city lights. Here is the introductory piece I have done for it which sums up my feelings of a pretty extraordinary occasion. The picture above shows me and our managing director Sarah Irvine witht eh Hollywood A Lister (and yes, he is the one in the middle...)
Thursday, November 26, is a night that the city of Bath will simply never forget.
When it was first announced that Nicolas Cage was to turn on the city’s lights, I’m sure there were many who thought it was a ‘wind up’ or something that would actually never happen in reality.
But there we were, in our thousands last week, to see the reality come true as one of the biggest stars in Hollywood kicked off Bath’s Christmas celebrations in style.
It wasn’t just the fact that Nicolas Cage switched on the lights that made it so magical, it was the way he treated his adopted home town – and the way it treated him back. Even though there were upwards of 10,000 people struggling to get a view of the proceedings, the atmosphere, humour and spirit amongst this huge crowd was simply fantastic. Even the rain, which had been Bath’s constant companion last week, had a night off because nothing was going to ruin the night Hollywood came to our city.
As for Nicolas Cage, there are many things we could say to compliment him but what struck me most was that he came over as a real gentleman. He didn’t rush through proceedings as if he had something more important to do, he made time to talk to people and sign autographs. And when he spoke it was with a sincerity that belied the traditional view of his profession.
He was, in truth, an even better man than we had dared imagined and he made the night a special one for everyone that came into direct or indirect contact with him.
As far as the city goes, it was also a gift in publicity terms. The incredulity about the fact that the city had secured Nicolas Cage to turn on its lights was spread throughout the national and indeed international media but just as importantly was the fact that many of the media outlets picked up on what the star actually said.
The phrase that most hit me was when Mr Cage described Bath as “the most beautiful city in the world”. This is a man, remember, who has filmed and lived in some spectacular cities across the globe and yet none of them compares to the city of Bath in his eyes. This is a quote which must be used in every bit of literature that Bath tourism chiefs send out in future because the value of this cannot be understated.
We hope that Nicolas Cage realises that his simple actions last week have made him many, many friends in our community. He truly has now become an honorary Bathonian.