I was at a hen do in summer surrounded by women who had moved from London to Devon. They bemoaned the smog of London, the rude and uncaring people, the noise, the relentlessness of it. Me and my London dwelling friend could kind of see their point, but when we stepped off the train onto an oppressively crowded platform and were immediately huffed at for pausing to sort out our bags and thus delaying a commuter’s journey by two seconds, we shared a contented smile and relieved sigh. We were just where we wanted to be.
My Devonshire friend claims that I hate trees. That’s not the case at all – I will appreciate a beautiful landscape of green rolling hills and fluffy sheep like the best of them – I just start to fidget after a minute or so and wonder how much longer I should stand there.
The things I like about London are pretty hackneyed and well covered: restaurants serving any type of food you wish for, random museums full of ancient sex toys, cute handmade jewellery from craft markets, little cocktail bars with no sign that make you feel smug for managing to find them at three in the morning, the list is endless. But I think the boredom of growing up in Suburbia sent some of my friends running for the hills of the west country, but drew me to the big lights of the city.
Though I will always have a special affection for London, I am by no means a one city girl. When we were thinking of moving to America my husband was forever trying to sell me on LA (“Think of the weather, The weather!”) but it just felt too spread out and relaxed to me, I was much more drawn towards neurotic New York. Then again, maybe I am betraying my loyalty to London by going for her glamorous younger sister.
Though Tim likes London, he is fiercely loyal to LA. Which is why I felt a unwarranted sense of pride that an evening I planned at “Secret Cinema” was proclaimed the coolest thing he had done in London. Of course, I have to admit here that it was actually started in the US by Future Cinema back in 2005. Past films have included BladeRunner, Top Gun and Wings of Desire. The idea is that you book tickets for a certain day, but you have no idea what the film is, where you’re supposed to go or even what time it starts. Luckily you’re not kept in the dark for too long as a meeting place and time are emailed to you, along with (at least in our case) some very specific costume instructions and items to bring.
I don’t want to give too much away (partly because the “tell no one” message really gets drummed in) but the attention to detail of the whole thing blew me away. The staff/actors had walkie talkies for goodness sakes. Also when I sidled over to one of them at the meeting place and explained my partner was going to be late because of a suspension on the Piccadilly Line the first answer I got was “I’m sorry, I don’t know what a Piccadilly Line is”. Once we got safety inside (after some directions from a man with an umbrella and a lady with flowers) wandering around the venue was like a mix of permitted voyeurism, an installation art work and fringe theatre. Oh and the film was pretty good too.
Overall it was an unexpected and exciting night. And if possible, it made me like London even more.