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.