my weekend of organised fun – Secret Cinema Club do The Grand Budapest Hotel

I hate organised fun and that’s why I could never go to student union events at university or join in at holiday camps as a child. I don’t really like organised anything, as Bukowski once said “unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don’t do it.” You have to be a special kind of person to coerce me into anything because what’s burning your gut most likely isn’t burning mine.

For some reason though I bought a £50 ticket to go to the Secret Cinema Club and watch Wes Anderson’s new film The Grand Budapest Hotel. I think I saw a facebook group and was lured in by the concept, you don’t know the exact location until you get there, you go in fancy dress akin to the theme of the film and you’re supposed to be immersed into the world of the film by actors. I like Wes Anderson just enough to be have been taken in by the magical possibilities that awaited me.

What we didn’t bargain for was that it would be hotter than the sun in central London that day so wearing a fur coat which was all I had planned was the last thing I wanted to do and actually sitting in a beer garden all day was something I wanted more than true love.

We booked to stay in an artist’s apartment being let out very feasibly illegally on one of those websites. It was 15 quid a night for me and my best friend to stay, it had a bed and we could smoke out the window, it was ideal. When we got there though the subletter was nowhere to be seen and wasn’t answering her phone.

So we gave up on humanity and walked to Brick Lane. Long story short she was probably just off her face and not actually evil and we got into the studio eventually, she’d given us the wrong number by a digit but still bothered to put +44 in front of it which I thought everyone knew was unnecessary by now. It was a converted warehouse full of the strangest mix of people; guys who looked like they worked at American Apparel but just didn’t wash their hair that much, people who still thought Noel Fielding was cool and old Asian guys in suits. We met up with a friend and made sangria, went to the packed out makeshift bar downstairs, didn’t go in because they were charging 6 quid, so stood outside humoring some guy in a trilby trying to convince us he was the scriptwriter for Hollyoaks and his mate who failed over and over again at card tricks.

It sounds like a fairly average night and it was but it was a hundred times better than what we unwittingly paid an outrageous amount for the next night at the Secret Cinema Club. The irony was that die hard Wes Anderson fans probably aspire to be drinking out of jam jars at the makeshift bar with the skinny beatniks at the studios, but instead they probably all had very stable jobs and nice houses that aren’t full of people playing the church organ along to dance music somewhere along the hall – until 5 am.

We reluctantly headed out into the sunshine looking like two seventies hookers, hastily borrowed sheer tights and a leather skirt wasn’t the classiest combination. When we got there about a hundred men and women dressed to the nines were queuing around the block in near silence, every time we cackled at something which we do quite often, it rang out embarrassingly loudly.

Everyone looked pretty chuffed with themselves because they’d spent what looked like even more money than the ticket on their peacock feather head dress alone. I didn’t even have a bra on because my strapless one had caused and actual divot  in my skin in the heat of the previous day.

I also couldn’t have needed a piss more, but that’s not really the organiser’s fault, thanks to them though I did have to sit through pretending to be in a coach which was actually just a box with some actors for 5 minutes before I was allowed into the ‘hotel’ to go and have the best piss anyone ever had.

We were once again in a converted warehouse but this time we’d paid 50 smackers for the privilege as opposed to 15. They’d kitted all 3 stories of it out with vintage suitcases and picture frames and basically tried to make it look like the hotel of the film. It was like walking into instagram (#vintage), we couldn’t instagram any of it though because our phones were taken off us on our way in. It must have been a massive task to create the ‘hotel’ but tbh there was still a lot of mdf, the signs showing us around were printed off on white A4, the plates and cutlery we ate with at the restaurant which we had to pay for again were all plastic and we made one of the ‘butlers’ laugh and go totally out of character.

We were also told to bring with us props like pink flowers, an alpine post card or a suitcase full of clothes, I feel really sorry for the people who chose the latter because absolutely no mention was made of these all night and they will have had to carry them around for 5 hours.

I was asked my favourite wine and poem when I applied for the tickets, obviously the former would be ‘Vinasol’ from my local garage because it sounds like Vagisil, but nothing came of this either, I had to pay for what was the only cocktail I could afford because there were no card machines and I didn’t have much cash.

We were subjected to people pretending to be maids and concierges, we joked about asking one of them what he was doing later but thought he’d probably just keep in character and be like WHYY I’M WORKING HERE AT THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL! Yeah seriously though what are you doing let’s bust out of here and go get wrecked.

Some of them put on little skits which were quite funny but we could’ve done with more of that, there were 3 floors after all so it would’ve been possible to miss all of them completely and think you spent FIFTY SMACKERS to go and look at some old stuff in a building, museums are free just saying.

Then the film just sort of happened, we were led into a room with really uncomfortable chairs, my friend was on the last chair in the row so she could see fine but fell asleep 5 minutes in, I couldn’t see a third of the screen because of the man in front of me. It was aesthetically a beautiful film and I know the plot isn’t the main thing with Wes but there was nothing discernibly new happening – prison break out tools concealed in pastry, loveable girl with birth mark, loveable orphaned boy. It was all really kooky, there was even some funny bits where the main guy said ‘fuck’ at opportune moments, but there were so many great actors who just had one line, it was all over really quickly too. I think its just an exercise in vanity for Wes and whatever because he’s earned it. But the whole evening was an exercise in vanity for all of us who’d been stupid enough to pay all that dollar and we hadn’t earned it. I mean what the hell was I thinking, I wish I could tell bored impulsive me from a few months ago to get over myself and just accept that I’m most happy in a cosy pub somewhere up North with my friends. The best bit of the night was when we bought a white Magnum on the way home.

my weekend of organised fun – Secret Cinema Club do The Grand Budapest Hotel

Happy International Women’s Day – be like Boudica.

International Women’s Day is a day that gives men the opportunity to argue about why there is an International Women’s Day. Well tbh you can dedicate a day to anything, we have whole weekends dedicated to eating chocolate eggs why can’t we have a day to think about how great women can be? 

I remember the first time I was obsessed with a woman, it was Queen Boudica, warrior queen of the Iceni tribe. I don’t know how at 7 years old I even knew who she was but I decided the best way to show how much I appreciated her was to draw a life size picture of her in crayon on my brother’s bedroom wall.


(this isn’t the picture by the way)


The first time I was obsessed with a man it was H from Steps.

It’s a shame that H from Steps has probably had more air time than Boudica, she should at least have a 6 part BBC drama dedicated to her, she had blades sticking out of her fucking chariot. 

When I was about 8 I moved on to dinosaurs and had a really disturbing level of knowledge about dinosaurs for an 8 year old, I really wanted to be a paleontologist and it was weird that I could even spell that, this is turning into a cringey humble brag but bare with.

At some point during my upbringing I abandoned any ambition to be a mass murdering warrior queen and I think I can pin point it down to encounters with men in pubs. My dad used to take us to the rugby club every weekend where we’d entertain ourselves with such games as ‘stick your leg down the rusty drain cover’ and ‘catch flies in a pint glass’. At some point during these excursions I think I became aware that I would one day become a woman (these isn’t about to become a horrible tale of abuse, please don’t call the police), up until then I just thought I would become a paleontologist, I didn’t know I’d have a gender ascribed to me.

The timing probably coincided with growing up too, but there was something about the imagery I was finding all around me that made me realise perhaps my life wasn’t going to go the way I wanted it to. It was the copies of The Sun lying around, the cardboard peanut display that revealed a set of tits underneath, a tall man called Skinner who had the most hilariously inappropriate pornographic cartoon t shirts and used to sit in the entrance to the pub like a moustachioed gargoyle. 

This was the scene I imagined when I was trying to think of a reason for why I want page 3 to be removed when it became a topic of discussion again between colleagues. This Rugby Club was like walking into a copy of The Sun.

I’ve talked in this blog before about how much I appreciate the female body as a beautiful thing, but as a young girl I don’t think that’s the impression I got. We’re told that having bare breasts on display is liberating for women kind and it removes the taboo of nudity. That would be fine for me if The Sun was a staple on every old dear’s coffee table but it’s not. 

I don’t think many people do this any more but where the page 3 girl is most often passed around it’s on building sites and in cab offices and bookies and other male dominated areas. It delineates helpfully that you – with your head full of dreams of being a scientist or a police officer or a CEO – are not welcome in that state, you’re welcome to either be ogled or dismissed so stuff your dreams. There are a lot of places like this – for me growing up it was the pubs.

Now that I’m older, a woman you might say, I realise that most people don’t really think like that, they just enjoy the fine female form. I can also go to a pub and not feel intimidated, and have fun without the need for an abandoned sofa in the woods out back, but I bet that happened for me a few years later than it did for my male friends.  

Instead of concentrating in Science lessons I spent all day trying to impress boys. I was a pretty good singer and I can do pretty good impressions and stuff but I never wanted to perform in Drama because I didn’t want the boys to laugh at me. The only subject I eventually took an interest in was English Literature, because I was so distraught and depressed by the time I was 16 that Sylvia Plath seemed like the only person I could relate to. Here I am now and the hormones have worn off and I don’t give a shit about what men think of me, but I can’t remember a damn thing about dinosaurs.

We need all public spaces to be sort of neutralised, so that no little girl ever feels less than their worth, I think regulating images in the press is one step towards that.

But I’m just putting that out there, I’m also really disappointed for not being on a dig in Mexico somewhere with a cool hat on.

So happy international women’s day, let’s praise all the women who managed to do something they actually wanted to do. LIKE CAROLINE QUENTIN. 






Happy International Women’s Day – be like Boudica.

True Detective and giving up milk

Here’s the obligatory self deprecating start to my blog: this blog as TV blogs go has not been very good. I can’t believe the one episode of Midsomer Murders I decided to write about thinking it was a safe bet for dismissal turned out to be the only one the real life grown up TV critics had picked up on. Turns out it was littered with references to The Killing and the other Scandinavian one which I hadn’t picked up on and was actually ‘nordic noir’. I also don’t write it regularly enough because to be honest I tend to fall asleep half way through things and have terrible nightmares as a result, I’ve also had a recurring nightmare about snakes eating crocodiles thanks to that snake that decided to eat a crocodile earlier on in the week.

I haven’t watched some of the most critically acclaimed TV series because I know I need to clear a big section of my life in order to make that commitment, or I might just strike up a deliberately disappointing relationship with someone so that we have to watch box sets together to avoid the crushing, impending, depressing, slow grinding to a halt that is all human relationships.


Mantras only count if they’re on the internet….



That said I recently finished OR SHOULD I SAY SWEDISHED, the Swedish detective drama The Bridge. I love badass female protagonists and this had one of the best ones I’ve seen yet in Saga. I found the finale a bit disappointing as it turned out to be all the environmentalists fault and they didn’t even get any retribution THEY ARE SO ANNOYING. There was a nasty, dark side plot about the incestuous desires of a pathetic little man who plotted worldwide destruction just to make his sister look good, which I thought was more interesting. It was one of many feminist readings that could be extracted from the plot, almost every change in direction was down to the actions of a powerful woman; the female writer, the female EU summit organiser, the female CEO, the female annoying environmentalist, the mental nanny and of course the female detective. All the men seemed to do was play the lover scorned or fancy their sister and go OTT on the mass murder plans. I don’t think this would have been overly noticeable to the average viewer, why should it be, and that goes to show how realistically the characters were portrayed. What I mean to say is thankfully the writers didn’t fall into the trap of having every female character swooning over a man or having constant relationship worries or hair and make up issues a la Liz from dark place. I just realised Alice Lowe who plays Liz is the same woman in Sightseers so she is officially my third favourite actress after Lesley Sharp and Caroline Quentin, result!

On the flip side of the gender coin, let’s call it the tail side huh wink wink, is True Detective in all it’s heavy drinking, chain smoking, facial hair and gratuitous naked babes spectacular glory. so far this series has a potentially double crossing main loveable rogue main character and touches on issues of justice, solitude, retribution and reputation. It also has freaky voodoo shit and a great soundtrack. There really are some cracking boobies in there as well. I would highly recommend it.


Giving up milk  

It’s lent which is another Christian time of year I’m adhering to because it’s tradition. One day when we’re all atheists we’ll still be celebrating Christmas and Easter in the same way smart phones will have pictures of note pads on the note pad function even though by then we will have cut all the trees down and no one will have seen a classic paper note pad in living memory. 

I’m giving up milk because I think I’m allergic to it because it gives me eczema but I actually find it easier to give it up on the basis of a religious festival I don’t even really adhere to than for the good of my own health, such is the depth of my own self destructive wayyysssswoeisme.

I will let you know how this goes but so far I’ve just been even more bitter than usual. 


True Detective and giving up milk