Upon arriving in London, I found myself in one of the busiest queues I have seen in some time waiting to pick up an Oyster card. Yes, you heard that right. Instead of diving into the nearest Starbucks I came across (and believe me, there were plenty), I decided to grab myself an Oyster card and head straight for my hotel to dump off my stuff and shower off the overlong train journey. (I honestly have no idea why I was so worried about using an Oyster card now. From the minute it was in my hand I was off.)
From King’s Cross I took the District Line to Old Street and walked up and down several streets before coming across my sanctuary for my time in London. And boy is it a sanctuary. From the orange coloured walls to the double bed, the tiny wet room to the massive curtain-less window (kind of creepy, no?), it’s a palace of budget proportions. But it’s a home from home and somewhere to rest my head after all the busy days I’m expecting to have while I’m here.
Having showered and spruced myself up a little, I left to explore. I took the tube (it’s like an everyday occurrence now) to Holburn Street and from there walked to Covent Garden, where I ogled the fancy iMacs in the Apple store and looked around various of the expensive boutique stores in the nearby streets. This led me to Leicester Square where I immediately felt at home amongst all the cinemas, film posters and advertisements for Pitch Perfect (yes, Empire, I do share your love for the musical sensation that isn’t Les Misérables).
London, however, isn’t all prettiness. In amongst theatre land and the bright lights of Shaftesbury Avenue, there’s a little maze complex called the Trocadero. Now, I’m not going to stand here and criticise it to death, but I will say that it’s one of the weirdest, most rundown places I’ve ever been in my whole entire life, and not somewhere I will be visiting again in a hurry. Sorry Cineworld, but you’d be better off in any other location, preferably one that doesn’t host regular hip hop dance-off’s.
It’s fine though, because then I found myself in the wonderful Curzon Soho – the loveliest cinema I have ever been in. I was immediately welcomed into its bosom and enjoyed a lovely evening of conversation, cider and a screening of Michael Haneke’s Amour. It’s perhaps not the film to see when you’re meeting someone for the first time like I did, but there’s no denying it’s a powerful and unflinching look at the ageing process, particularly how one couple cope when one slowly starts to succumb to death. Emmanuelle Riva, I salute you for a flawless performance.
After leaving the cinema in silence (a very strange feeling) and saying goodbye to a friend who was excellent company, I once more navigated the tube system, only this time on a full bladder. I was in heaven, then, when I stumbled into my easyHotel room and relieved myself in the tiny wet room, for I was home. Well, a home from home that’s oddly charming in its sparseness, yet lacking in its facilities (there’s no tea, I may cry).
Anyway, to sleep, for tomorrow brings an early start and films. Lots and lots of films.