Pop-up Cinemas


27 Monday 27th September 2010
It's a dark room with flashing lights and loud sounds. The floors are sticky and the seats in the back row have some suspicious white stains. No-one's talking but the sound of dialogue is deafening. The clinically obese guy next to you elbows you every two minutes as he reaches into the bucket to fill his enormous mouth with yet more butter-covered vein cloggers.
A typical experience at a multiplex cinema will generally be paying 15 quid for that. After manoeuvring your skip-load of popcorn through the auditorium and having you ticket ripped by a bored, acne-ridden 16 year old, you can enjoy three hours of adverts before taking in the latest over-rated poorly acted $16 billion sequel to that other shit film that came out two years ago.
So many people have become disillusioned with modern-day cinema that they've taken it into their own hands, and hallelujah do they have some ideas. Here's our top five:
5: The Coronet, Notting Hill. The Victorian building was originally erected in 1898 as a fine theatre for the beautiful and wealthy. It's red velvet seats played host to the likes of King Edward VII, and famous actor Sir John Gielgud. Since, a massive screen has been set up on it's beautiful stage and for seven quid a pop you can watch the latest blockbuster or a little known art-house film. It also has an in-expensive bar so you can get pissed while you do it.
4: Over the past month everyone's been getting their knickers in a twist about Cineroleum. Around 16 young artists, designers and architects got to work on an old, derelict, dusty petrol station at the start of summer. They were all just as fed-up with their local Odeans and Vues as the rest of us, and decided to bring the excitement of 50s cinema back to the present day. Using mostly found and donated materials, they've turned that grey lump of concrete stained with crap graffiti into a house of rock'n'roll, cheap wine, nostalgia, laughter and of course, classic film. A lavish, ornate, silver curtain hangs from the ceiling, surrounding the tiered audience. This is drawn back completely at the end of the film, revealing the audience to the perplexed passers by who thought they were having a perfectly ordinary stroll down Clerkenwell Road. All shows have been sold out for a good while, with their last Friday show (Badlands) selling out within one minute of tickets going on sale. This amazing response from the public just shows how desperate everyone is for a diversion from the mundane.
3: From the ornate to the unwashed, squat run VHS Video Basement produced dozens of shorts to show at dozens more venues around London. The variety of venues was due to them getting evicted every few weeks, but they would always pop up again. One of their most successful nights was a party held in the abandoned Puss in Boots strip club in Soho earlier this year. A night that could be summed up in three words: film, drugs and tits. Check out a selection of the shorts here. DJs were brought in and intoxicated girls and boys watched films no more than 30 minutes long and gyrated up and down rusty abandoned metal poles.
2: Under the Westway opposite Portobello Green is the Portobello Pop Up Digital Microplex. A non-profit microplex (as opposed to a multiplex) whose entry fee is on a pay-what-you-can-afford basis. Ideas for alternative screenings blossom from local filmographers, artists and voluntary groups. This September it's schedule is booked up by the Portobello Film Festival.
1: There's a group of 14 year olds two rows in front chucking popcorn and giggling. “No, don't! Oh my god I can't believe you just did that hahaha you're so funny!” A couple behind you whispering dirty talk to each other. “Baby when we get home honestly we'll do it everywhere. I want you so much I'm gonna do you in the foot in the pantry.” A kid rolling around the aisle complaining to it's mum. “I'm bored! I've run out of pick'n'mix! Where's daddy? Why's the next-door neighbour with us? Why were you and him jumping on the bed last night? I'm not allowed to do that!” Seem familiar? The people at Silent Cinema decided that we didn't have to put up with this nonsense, bought a load of chunky, wireless, noise-cancelling headphones and set to work on organising events for the good people of London. With your personal headphones you feel you have a private viewing with like-minded ghosts lingering around you. There's also the added luxury of being able to laugh as loud as you want, cry like a child or literally shit yourself scared, no-one will know. For the next three weekends Silent Cinema is at the Deptford Project. 

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