At the beginning of July, I met up with a friend I met last year whilst working in Dusseldorf. She was spending a month in London, coincidentally actually living around the corner from my house- London is a small world- and voiced a desire to go to an open air cinema during her stay. I’ve been meaning to go to one for ages too, ever since I discovered the awesome Freiluftkino in Berlin. So when I saw a Facebook event for one not far away from us, Vauxhall to be precise, I thought it was the perfect place for us to go.
Vauxhall One Summer Screen takes place for four weeks during July, showing a free movie every Tuesday evening, with visitors being able to vote on the final film. That’s the one we went to, even though neither of us actually voted. The film on show that night was The Breakfast Club- a classic I have never seen. I figured that since I enjoyed a delicious brunch at the restaurant that bears its name the other week, it was about time I actually saw the film.
The Summer Screen is hosted in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and visitors are advised to arrive at 7pm to start grabbing spots. I arrived sometime between 7.30-7.45pm and the place was pretty busy but I still managed to find a decent spot a little far back to set up my blanket. My friend and her companions didn’t arrive until 15-20 minutes later, so I spent my first minutes at the venue guarding my spot and trying to look busy/making a point of craning over the crowds at regular intervals, pointedly looking for someone before shaking my head and going back to my phone. There was the option of renting a deckchair for £5 but I decided to spend money on food instead.
Although I am meant to be budgeting, and picnics are welcome, I couldn’t say no to the handful of food stands lined up along one side of the gardens. There was grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and Indian street food. Plus ice cream and pop corn. I recognised “Grill My Mac” from Dalston Street Feast so that’s where I ended up. There was a few options, the standard sourdough grilled cheese sandwich, the Baby Got Mac (a grilled cheese with BBQ sauce, macaroni cheese and pulled pork) and something with ribs and cherry coke.
I went for Baby Got Mac, partially because I am obsessed with pulled pork and had a massive mac and cheese craving and also because I just wanted to say the name when placing my order. Even though £6/£6.50 (I forget which) is quite a lot of a sandwich, it was a pretty good sandwich. Although, I have to say that it didn’t quite hit the spot. Sometimes with a classic, I think less is more and the standard grilled cheese maybe was what I was really looking for. Having said that the rib/cherry coke sandwich sounds insanely good and I will be keeping my eye out for that one.
On a summer evening, Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens were a great setting. The gardens were busy with people spread out on blankets, chattering and waiting for the 9pm start time. As it started to get dark, the movie came on. And it was a good movie. If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically a story about a bunch of kids, covering every high-school stereotype- stuck in school on a Saturday detention. There’s the rebellious juvenile delinquent, the crazy girl who likes to steal stuff, the jock, the prom queen and the class nerd – oh, and the moronic, ridiculously unobservant teacher0 and they all develop a bond as the movie progresses, apart from the teacher. They all give a lot of speeches that sound deeper than they actually are but overall I enjoyed it. Almost as much as my recent brunch.
I was surprised at how many quotes and songs I recognised. Like the quotes at the beginning of Bastille’s Falling (feat. Ralph of To Kill a King) and the snippets of Don’t You Forget About Me that feature in Pitch Perfect (which is also where I first saw the final scene from The Breakfast Club which they watch in the movie). I know the fact that I know more about Bastille and Pitch Perfect makes me an awful person but please don’t judge me.
I have to admit that whilst I didn’t regret spending my money on a grilled cheese sandwich and a Lemon Fanta (£1.50) instead of a deckchair, I was not particularly comfortable, having to sit on the hard ground for over an hour and a half. It was also chilly, even thought I had brought a blanket to snuggle under (I felt guilty about being the only one of my party to have a blanket but I was cold so I got over it). Our movie snacks- custard filled doughnuts (my offering), sweet and salty popcorn (I don’t like salty popcorn usually but this wasn’t so bad), crisps and chocolatey flapjack pieces- did help with the cold and the hard floor, but next year, I will bring jumpers and cushions.