Convent Garden was different in the 1940’s than the thoroughfare tourist attraction it is now. There were a lot of empty buildings and rent was cheap. The dance studios must have been there, as was a theatre. The movie, the Ballet of the Red Shoes was set there. This film was the chosen movie for the current Secret Cinema.
Secret Cinema is a show each month that runs for 3 weeks, played out by actors in a thematic setting. The Wharehouse we were led to from Wapping Tube station was transformed into Convent Garden in the 40’s. All the build up to the main feature film was interactive performance acting based on the movie, it was all very atmospheric. The actors were very convincing, and very good, including a young Irish actor named Peter Campion.
I had booked tickets to go see this for another date that it was perfect for, but she pulled out at the last minute, so I turned to Twitter to find a replacement. Twitter didn’t let me down.
Tiffany @tiffjmo is from a small town in Arizona, down near Mexico. And having studdied in the states, ended up working in London via a PHD in Cambridge. We ate the burritos under a bridge down by the Tobacco wharehouse in Wapping. Tiffany work sounded very scientific all about genes in cancer, and she explained it in a way that I learned a thing or two.
Such as the short notice, Tiffany didn’t have time to dress up, but her hair is naturally curly and so she blended in. I had enough 40’s like gear on to fit in. There were about 500 others there, all dressed accordingly. I’ve been watching Broadwalk Empire on TV, a new US mobster series set in prohibition Atlantic City. To make it, Martin Scorsese and crew rebuilt the Broadwalk in Brooklin, New York. This wharehouse where Secret Cinema was felt like being on a set for a show set in the 1940’s, and the scene was set to be on a date with a sexy English girl.
Have you ever been on a date with a girl, and looked around at all the other amazing girls, and wishing that you were on a date with one of them instead? I don’t say this to be cruel, just to honest say something that I think every guy has experienced at least once.
There was so much to participate in before the show, but we only took part in one dance rehearsal. Maybe Tiffany was a bit shy, but I just felt that she wasn’t really enjoying herself. It was too pleasant, and not enough fun. It was like she was holding back, where as the event called out for us to let go.
That said, the movie was amazing. I heard of it before, Scorsese had said the cinematography was game changing, particularly in the techniques used to show movement. The camera man was Jack Cardiff, who you may recalled, was the subject for a documentary on one of these burrito dates, way back at number 5. There is a good story to the Ballet of The Red Shoes too, and a few great one liners, as was obligatory for movies made back then before they were over done to death, one that stuck out: ‘Put on the Red Shoes Vicky, and dance for us again’.
I’m grateful to Tiffany to have come along, but I think Secret Cinema would have been better as a second date. A first date over a messy burrito at Chilango would have been ideal to gage the potential of a second date. And it would have indicated that there wasn’t.