Where are we going to show this show?
It hadn’t really occurred to me.
People who knew people weren’t just going to get wind of our project and start banging on the doors begging us to grace their venue? No? – who knew?
It turns out that having the venues you want to show in agree to have you is half the battle.
A battle with no clear tactics!
So my work conversations go like this –
Catherine – "want to come and watch a show with me? It’s called Hotel Black Cat and it’s showing at the London Wonderground on the Southbank. I’ll drive and we can just call it research"
Me – "Yes! Sounds great. What do wear to it?"
Catherine - "Sparkles!"
So there it began.
Catherine loves a Spiegeltent. She’s mentioned them in our research and development meetings often.
At this point I have no idea what’s she’s talking about to be honest.
Wikipedia informs me - '(Dutch for "Mirror Tent", from spiegel+tent) is a large travelling tent, constructed in wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained, intended as an entertainment venue.'
There are only a handful of these tents scattered around the UK and Hotel Black Cat is showing in one of them.
The show started at 9:45, we figured we’d leave about 6:30, drive to Black Horse lane and catch the underground to South bank with time to spare for drinks and maybe a bite to eat before show, no drama.
As I walk to the door to my house to leave I ladder my only pair of tights from crutch to ankle.
After a re-route and a Tesco’s dash for a new pair I arrive at Catherine’s 30mins late.
She answers the door in her robe.
Three dress changes and an abandoned "Oh lets just cut a new low neck line into this high necked dress..." suggestion, she settles on her original dress choice and we are good to go.
... 9:45 the show doors were opening -
At 10pm we arrive at our tube destination and proceed to SPRINT (in the most uncomfortable shoes I own) through Southbank, franticly trying to get to Wonderground
By the time we arrive gasping for breath at the doors I have an actual film of sweat on my brow.
The show has started so we don’t have time to get a beer.
We walk in and the tent is in darkness with only the stage lit – the relevance of this will become clear…
I’m not really accustomed to watching a show through the lenses of my actual eyes.
I did try very hard not to pick up my camera, but we are what we are.
Plus I figured that this whole thing may be worth blogging and for that I need some pictures.
So I grabbed my camera and (discreetly and quietly!) started taking a few shots here and there.
This is the first time in a long time that someone has asked me not to take a picture with my camera.
In my head I say– “darling, do you not know who I am?”.. and of course when I tell him he is terribly embarrassed. Begs me to continue and trots off quickly to grab us a Bollinger each on the house.
In reality I know saying that statement out-loud could never result with anyone other than me being embarrassed.
I put my camera back in it’s bag.
Mentally add - "be allowed to photograph at Wonderground" to my bucket list.
The show ends and the tent lights come back on and the very first thing I notice is the signs on every wall of the tent that read “ PHOTOGRAPHY AND FILMING ARE NOT ALLOWED DURING SHOW”
My bad Southbank Spiegeltent. My bad.
This is a rather fancy tent.
A plethora of glittery glowing costumes, bold and beautiful projections and LED electrics.
I'm imagining all this happening on the main stage AND being reflected back through the surrounding mirrors.
I get it.
We really need a fancy tent.
But I am going to be honest here.
I am feeling underwhelmed.
The place looks amazing.
The show itself was a fantastic display of talent, comedy and music.
Yet, as we sit in a wooden dodgem car at 11pm enjoying the first taste of beer on my lips I cant help noticing that I'm not blown away by this whole experience.
Maybe I'm just too much into the vibe at The Neon Moon Club.
For me the magic of it all doesn't lie solely in the show (don’t hiss at me)
For me the show is the platform. The purpose for the whole night to take place.
The show is what brings us all and unifies us commonly together.
But the magic is about the WHOLE thing.
I want guests comparing costumes and laughing about the show confetti in their hair.
Dappa dressed barmen mixing decadent cocktails and walk-around performers jumping around blowing bubbles in peoples faces.. or something.
There no dancing or outrageous behaviour.
There is no unity here.
There are people who have watched a show and are now sensibly drinking with the people they came with.
We are sitting in a typically anonymous London social gathering and no-one but us and the performers on stage look particularly vintage.
I think it’s a bit boring.
Although quickly energised up by a pin-up-esq Catherine pulling her poses under the show posters.....
So, through a £40 taxi ride back to the car, a perk-up stop at Starbucks and a sunrise through the Fens, we contemplate -
We CAN make a show.
We WILL get our venues.
but how the hell do we make the magic?