For many years I have avoided going to the cinema due to a dread I have for being stuck in one place for over two hours without any alcohol. It’s not that I’m an alcoholic; I just think that there are few activities that are not made better with a glass of wine in your hand (driving, eye surgery and operating heavy machinery spring to mind).
This is why the Silent Cinema nights have really grabbed my imagination. Every month they show a classic film in the beautiful Andaz hotel (formerly known as the Great Eastern) next to Liverpool Street Station. It is called Silent Cinema because you wear wireless headphones; this means you can fidget as much as you like and not hear your neighbours fidgeting, go to the bar or the lavatory with minimal disturbance and you can still hear the film. How modern is that?
I went just before Xmas to see, 'It’s A Wonderful Life'. Now recently single, I decided to bring a prospective ladyfriend. We met in the lobby, she looked delicious in a little dress trimmed with rabbit fur, I looked ridiculous in a jumper like Andrew Ridgely wore in the video for 'Last Christmas'. We were ushered upstairs by our host Damian Barr who welcomed us and the other guests with a very strong gin-based cocktail. As we settled onto our comfy sofa, drinks in hand with the film just about to start, my date looked at me as if I was this most dashing man in London. Let the romance commence!
It wasn’t to be; the film for the evening was 'It’s A Wonderful Life' and as soon as it started, I started crying and did not stop. Though she liked this display of sensitivity, she told me that she prefers her men a little more rugged; a little more like Jimmy Stewart in fact. The next film they are showing is Casablanca, another weepie. I hope my next date likes her men tearful.
ANDAZ LONDON, 40 Liverpool Street, London EC2M 7QN
Go further: Watch movies in Berlin's DDR-style Kino International or on the waterfront in Paris.