There’s lots to groan about with the shoehorning of the forthcoming general election into the Christmas season. And without adding further insult to injury, the resulting disappearance of John Glen’s column during the campaign means that for at least some of the time, you’re going to be stuck with me going on for longer than usual. Sorry about that. But I’ll do my best not to mention Brexit and instead try to offer some cultural alternatives to those seeking sanctuary from all the point-scoring and the soundbites.

Earlier in the year, I wrote a column about the lack of cinematic options available in Salisbury, and how one of my preferences for the Maltings development was to include the sort of decent, modern cinema the city currently lacks. For all its associated history, our Odeon cinema only offers a limited programme beyond the usual blockbusters, and has its ongoing problems with heating, sound and accessibility.

What I should have mentioned in my original article was the rather wonderful Regal Cinema in Fordingbridge, which both serves as a template for what Salisbury is lacking and offers a selection of films that might not have otherwise get shown in the area. The original Regal opened back in 1933 and its Art Deco design squeezed in just under 300 cinemagoers. The cinema closed in 1965 but was brought back to life a few years ago, when the site was bought by electronics company Corintech. They built a beautiful, bijou 30-seater cinema in the original Art Deco style, which was opened in 2017 and is today run by the Fordingbridge Regal Cinema Club (FRCC) as a not for profit community cinema. The cinema’s programming is intriguing and varied – November screenings include Booksmart, Apollo 11 and Sometimes Always Never, as well as live screenings of performances by the Royal Ballet and National Theatre.

This Friday sees the showing of Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love, Nick Broomfield’s superb documentary about the relationship between Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen. The coming together of Cohen and Ihlen was crucial for Leonard Cohen’s early career. In the early 1960s the pair met on the tiny Greek island of Hydra – a beautiful, isolated getaway, and home to a bohemian group of ex-pats in the days before mass tourism took over. It was here where Cohen met one of the key loves of his life, and also found his writing voice.

Cohen first attempted to write fiction, producing his second novel, Beautiful Losers, which rivals Bob Dylan’s Tarantula in its impenetrability. ‘I didn’t understand any of it,’ Ihlen said afterwards. ‘Many intellectuals reading it tried to understand it. But even they were left bewildered.’

With his music, however, Cohen was much more successful. Marianne Ihlen was instrumental here, the inspiration behind a number of his early songs, including So Long, Marianne and Bird on a Wire. It wasn’t to be long before the world woke up to Leonard Cohen’s genius, and not much longer before he left Hydra and he and Marianne began to drift apart.

Broomfield’s film charts both their relationship and the sixties counterculture that blossomed on this Greek island. It’s a counterculture he knew from personal experience, having first met Ihlen himself during this period. And it’s a counterculture, too, known to local author Tamar Hodes, who lived on Hydra as a young child in the mid 1960s. She drew on these experiences as the basis for her recent novel, The Water and the Wine.

As Broomfield’s film, Hodes’ novel and Cohen’s songs show, Hydra in the 1960s was clearly something of a special, inspirational place to be.