Waking up on the Sunday morning was surreal. Not only was I in London, but I’d also had the best night’s sleep in weeks. I took a moment to appreciate my peaceful surroundings before I bumbled around getting ready and gathering up everything I’d need for the day ahead, which wasn’t much considering I’d be spending the vast majority of it stationed in the Apollo cinema.
The trip from Old Street to Piccadilly Circus, where the Apollo was situated, was the easiest travelling experience of my life. I didn’t even need the neat pop-out map I’d bought from Waterstones the week before. I simply hopped on the Northern Line, changed over to the Piccadilly Line at King’s Cross and, five stops later, found myself wandering out of the underground labyrinth of corridors and escalators into the heart of Piccadilly Circus. And that, my friends, is how easy the Underground system is to navigate.
The Apollo, a five screen cinema, is independently owned and one of the best London cinemas I’ve ever been in. The UK Media Showcase took up one screen and the downstairs foyer where drinks were drank, food was craved (catering facilities weren’t available on Sunday, it seemed) and networking was done. It was to be my home for the next four days and it was quite frankly the comfiest, warmest place you could have asked for.
The films on day one weren’t entirely up to much, though there were one of two alright ones thrown in there (I’m not allowed to name any names in case I violate the embargo form I signed). The people I met, however, were lovely. From people I’d already known from speaking to them on Twitter for over two years, to people I was introduced through the people I already knew, I was bowled over by how kind and complimentary people were.
I was forced to take a couple of hours out of the screening day in order to fill my hungry stomach (I’d had no breakfast as I was attempting to spend as little money as possible). I ventured over to Leicester Square and preceded to scoff down a KFC that probably would have easily fed four people (I apologise, but at that time my stomach was more important than anyone else’s). I took some time to phone my parents, gush to them about how amazing London had been so far, and take some pretty photos.
After venturing back to the cinema for what was probably the best film of the day, I opted to skip the last film in order to return to my sparse hotel room with the intention of putting together some notes so that my brain wouldn’t be too frazzled by the end of the week. I’d managed to wangle myself free wi-fi from the very kind office block opposite my room who’d decided not to password protect their reuter, which came in very handy.
Within half an hour of arriving back at my hotel and writing a couple of sentences, I was back on the tube and on my way to Covent Garden for a few drinks. As it turns out, pubs close early in London on a Sunday so, after a couple of Strongbow’s and a sneak peak at the Glasgow Film Festival programme, I dived onto a 55 bus and, rather deliriously, found myself tucked up in the easyHotel ready for day three with little clue how I’d managed to survive day two so easily.