Shenanigan the first - and brace yourselves for this one - was inspired by the new series of Strictly Come Dancing, and was to entail me putting down some fresh and sexy moves to a saucy latin soundtrack; yes, I was supposed to go salsa dancin'. Note how I said 'supposed' there. To cut a short story shorter, a combination of bad traffic and some confusion over the actual location of the venue meant that at least one of our party turned up late, and we then spent about 25 minutes walking around Kingston in search of a certain bar. At half past eight, about halfway through when I should've been busting my sexy moves and shaking my hips, we decided that there was no point in continuing to look for the venue, so ended up in a bar where Yazzle Dazzle laid down some fresh pool shark moves the likes of which have not been seen since we last played about two or three years ago.
Salsa is currently being rescheduled; we're waiting to see when Bruno Tonioli has a space in his diary.
Shenanigan the second proved to be far more successful. On Monday morning I got an email from Best Mate Jo telling me that she had free tickets to a screening of a film called Genova at the BFI London Film Festival. I didn't have a clue what the film was about, but I said yes anyway because I haven't seen Jo in a while and a freebie is a freebie.
So last night I trundled up town ready to meet her in Leicester Square. While I was waiting I happened to walk past the cinema where the film was showing and - oh god lord there was a red carpet and photographers and everything! I began to feel just a tad underdressed in my black-hooded jacket, black jumper, dark jeans, oversized beanie hat, and, um, trainers… If I'd known it was a fancy do I would certainly have worn proper shoes, and maybe even a tie. In hindsight, I was in the middle of Londinium: I could've just walked five minutes in any direction and bought something smarter - like a top hat.
Anyway, so Jo turns up and we sneak in round the side of the cinema to go get the tickets, then sneak back out to go kill some time in a nearby bar (where I was asked to take my hat off, which I was initially a bit disgruntled about before realising that it actually gave me a chance to tidy up my hair ready for my close-ups on the red carpet).
Forty minutes later we headed back to the cinema, and after waiting beside some barriers guarded by a couple of big scary dudes we were ushered in AND I GOT TO WALK THE RED CARPET WHILE PEOPLE TOOK PHOTOGRAPHS!
OK, so they weren't actually taking pictures of me, because Colin Firth and Willa Holland (formerly Kaitlin 'Mini' Cooper in The OC!) were doing interviews for the press on the red carpet at the time, but I'm pretty certain that I'm going to be in the background of at least a couple of those pictures, and some red carpet footage! Oh, and I actually didn't realise Colin and Willa were there as I walked in as I was totally playing it all cool and blase; Jo told me they were there later.
Fortunately, I totally got to see the stars in the cinema a short time later, just before the film started, when they were introduced on stage. They were actually standing pretty close to our seats while they were waiting to be introduced, and I was quite tempted to go ask Willa Holland if she had Autumn Reeser's number, which is entirely possible seeing as they were in The OC together. I think I must've sent out some kind of weird psychic brain vibe at that point, because Willa actually looked over at me. I smiled, and nearly gave her a cheeky wink, but it was dark and she's only 17 so I didn't want her to think I was being pervy, having an aneurysm, or that I had any intentions other than trying to get the contact details of someone she starred with in a TV show a couple of years back.
Another unexpected bonus came in the form of London's new mayor, Crazy Boris Johnson, who was a guest at the screening. I'm a big fan of Crazy Boris because he's an intelligent, honest, and incredibly funny guy, which are three qualities most politicians don't have going for them. He made an hilarious, somewhat rambling speech which left the woman who introduced him to the stage frowning in apparent disbelief as he berated utility companies for closing London's roads, and managed to convince us that the hero of the film Jaws was not, in fact, the shark, but was rather the mayor of Amity as he managed to keep everything open (including the beach) while the shark caused chaos. He also went on to say that, upon being invited to the screening, he'd searched the internet for nice things to say about Colin Firth, only to find that Colin Firth was vehemently opposed to him becoming mayor of London. He then looked over at Firth, pointed, and shouted "I shall do my utmost to win you over, Mr D'Arcy!"
Crazy Boris rocked, and the producer of the film obviously agreed - he later called him "the best warm-up act in show business." In contrast, Colin Firth went on to say that the mayor would have to work harder than that in his attempts to "seduce him."
It was all hilariously fruity.
Colin Firth (left) shuns Crazy Boris' advances; Willa Holland (to Firth's left) stands there looking bemused (probably wondering why her married co-star is flirting with a disheveled blonde dude).
Anyway, after all the speeches and introductions the film started, and I'm sorry to say that I found it a tad dull. There were about three separate storylines in it and none of them seemed to have any really satisfying resolution. Good performances, nice locations, dull story. Sorry. But hey, it was free, and we got free chocolate bars too, so that was a bonus. Negative points include the dude with the massive head in front of Jo, which meant that she spent at least two-thirds of the film resting her head on my right shoulder in an attempt to actually see the screen, and the dude next to me who kept scratching his head and shifting around in his seat like he didn't want anyone within a two metre radius of him.
There was a Q&A afterwards, but by then it was running late and I had to get back to Hammersmith, back to my car, and back home. As we left the cinema I saw someone who looked like John Hurt. Turns out, I've just discovered after looking at some photos on the BFI website, that it was actually John Hurt. Damn. If I'd known I would've shown him my Alien chest-burster impression. I bet he would've got a kick out of that!