Friday, October 23, 2009

LONDON 13: Day 9 - That Was A Big Mistake

So, pubs in the UK close at 11pm. Now, you may think that’s early, but people here *drink*. That makes it sound like a nation of drunks, and it’s not - but it’s common to go to a pub for lunch and have a pint or two. And with all of the tourist kids and young people, London is kind of like a college town - filled with people who *do* drink to excess. I was walking down the street near Russell Square and saw a guy stagger from a pub, vomit all over himself, then slip in the vomit and land on his face. So closing at 11pm is a good idea. Also, the tube closes early, and that gives people enough time to stagger to the nearest subway station and get home.

But closing at 11pm throws a crimp into one’s post-cinema drinking... but there’s a loophole in the drinking laws - clubs are allowed to serve drinks late (I don’t know the actual rules, but I think Phoenix Club stops serving at 2am, and doesn’t kick you out until you’ve finished your drinks - which might be as late as 3am). Raindance made a deal with the Phoenix Club to give temp membership to anyone with a festival badge... making it the place to drink after the movies. I had yet to go there, because I had classes at noon and was jet lagged and out of it getting to bed after the movies. But the guys from POPATOPLIS had been going every single night (networking)_and I figured I’d go have a Guiness with them. Also, the Phoenix was actually on my way back to the hotel, so I could pop in for a quick drink on my way back.

Yeah. Right.

So the Phoenix is a bar in the basement of the Phoenix Theatre, you climb down a couple of flights of stairs and there’s this big noisy room filled with headshots with showtunes cranked to near ear-bleed. I actually liked the place - kind of reminded me of Residuals on a Saturday night. Anyway, it took forever to get my Guiness, and then I wandered around until I found the Raindance group in a big room in back... and this crazy Irish dude runs up and yells, “Bill Martell! You finally made it!” and I have no idea who this guy is. Ends up, he took some of the 5 (FIVE!) Free classes and made the short film about the two boys who find the monsters in the house basement I had seen earlier in the day. So I hang out with him and his friends, all fans on the website (and all probably reading this right now) and we shout over the showtunes, and then they buy me a drink or two or maybe even three... and I feel like I’m not doing my part and buying a round - these guys are struggling filmmakers, I’m a guy with a big 1980s remake that appears to be stalled out... I can afford to buy a couple of rounds! Anyway, I talk to other Raindance people, and talk to some hot woman who was at the shorts who I thought was an actress, but she never showed up in any of the shorts, and she was *insulted* that I thought she was an actress (she was dressed in a vest and shirt and hot pants) because she’s a *producer* (but didn’t say which, if any, of the shorts she produced - which was odd, because everyone was there networking and talking about their movies). Um, so Bill did not score. I talked to a bunch of people - well, screamed over the showtunes at them - and drank many Guiness (or Guineii) but only bought one. Everyone was buying me drinks! And I was drinking them! The POPATOPOLIS folks left early - wimps - and so did many other people... including the producer in hot pants.

At 2am they called last call - no more drinks served, but you could stay and finish whatever you ordered - but I told everyone I needed to get back to the hotel. Though I had no free class to teach tomorrow, I had movies to see. I said goodbye to the crazy Irish guy and trudged up the stairs to the cool night air... where a group of Raindance people were standing around smoking. And I stopped and talked to them. There were these two young guys who were in almost every screening that I was in, and they are rabid film fans and want to make movies, and we talked movies for about an hour... and at somewhere near 3am I staggered back to the hotel.

Now, here’s the thing - the last time I was at Raindance on the jury and staying in the Lancaster, I had a similar night of drinking... with the cute producer of BRIDE AND PREJUDICE... and staggered back to find the big outer doors of the hotel locked and bolted for the night. They close up at midnight. Hey, the pubs close at 11pm, who would be staggering in at 3am? Well, I would. How do I get in? That previous time I got back to the hotel just before 6am, and at 6am they unlocked the big outer doors. I was out so late that I was early. But this time - 3am - do I wait until 6am? Too tired for that. Too drunk for that. I ring the night bell and wait... and wait... and wait. Somewhere, there’s a night desk guy whose nap I’ve interrupted. He’s probably putting on his trousers. Eventually he unbolts the door and lets me in, and I stagger up the stairs, enter my room, take off my clothes and fall into bed... I can sleep late and miss the first movie tomorrow...

Except, a few hours later the door lock for the room next door breaks, and after a bunch of slamming on the door, they actually *break down the door* to get into the room. Then, a work crew comes to install a new door. So, after maybe four hours of sleep, I ain’t getting back to sleep at all. Hammering, drilling, work crew guys joking... I’m awake. I shower and shave and stagger downstairs looking for coffee - preferably an IV drip (no milk!).


- Bill

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Heh, loved this one...

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