Friday, August 1, 2014

Backyard Cinema, 24th July

I first heard about Backyard Cinema when they got in touch with me via twitter to tell me of their existence. They were barely a twinkle in their organiser's eye but I put it on my List as I liked the idea of a cinema with a casual, let's-get-all-our-friends-together vibe. And back then their events were pretty low key. Now they've got bean bags, deckchairs and street food partnerships - the whole shebang! For their latest instalment they've encamped at Camden Lock market where Honest burgers are serving from a stall outside their actual venue, and they have Brewdog on the bar (and slushie cocktails) so you don't have to settle for just popcorn. Though they have that too at only £1 a bag. (Contrast with the Everyman Power of Summer where they’re selling it for £3!)

The movie we went to see was The Lego Movie. We got down there pretty early and I did get an Honest Burger but not from the dedicated Backyard Cinema stall. It was my first - Stephen has been a fan for a while but whenever we popped by one, it was always too busy. You may realise I don't eat actual burgers - I had the chicken version. And it came as standard with their famous rosemary fries. I imagine substantial chips wouldn't get overwhelmed by the salt and rosemary but my portion was full of the scraps at the end of a batch so I found them a little too seasoned. 

We then hung around waiting for the cinema to be built. That's right. When we got there, there wasn't anything - just a hole in a black curtain where the screen would go and some supine deck chairs. It was quite fun to watch it take shape around us - the bean bags were dragged out and the deck chairs were erected. It did mean that we were so early, we completely missed the box office where you had to get your ticket scanned in exchange for a movie pass. It was only when we were about to go in, that they said we needed to get it exchanged, but thankfully they said I wouldn’t have to queue from the back once I did. Must admit, that seemed a bit pointless - not sure why the usherettes couldn't just scan your printout. 

Anyway, we had grabbed a drink from the bar (an absolutely amazing Paloma slushie in honour of National Tequila Day) and waited while the queue to get in to the seats formed. Finally we were allowed in! We had already made the big decision: bean bag or deck chair? Knowing from experience with the Rooftop Film Cinema that deck chairs are way cool and comfortable, we did that and made a beeline for the area we had already picked out as well. They have blankets to hire for when the temperature cools (it will, even if it's warm in the day) and they have ushers/usherettes that will bring you drinks and food pretty much throughout the film which is a nice touch.

Before the main feature, they play some shorts, all of which were pretty cool, but especially the one called Pockets. Check it out.

And then we just settled in and enjoyed the movie. Which was fab. On the whole I would say this was a pretty good movie experience, definitely more enjoyable (though far less grand) than Somerset House, and on a par with Rooftop Film Club (though missing the views). They also have a good mix of 'cult' films that everyone loves (but has probably seen a dozen times) and newer releases like the Lego Movie, or Silver Linings Playbook, for people who want to see something they haven't seen before.

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