24 September 2014

Bubble Trouble

What could be more Shoreditch than sitting in a hot tub on the rooftop of a grubby building on a grey autumnal Monday night watching a screening of Anchorman? Not much, to be honest, but Hot Tub Cinema was great fun. I've wanted to go for a while, but there are always so many unique things to do in London that it takes a while to work through the wishlist. The Anchorman screening was part of a Best of the Noughties Hot Tub Cinema series. I hadn't seen the film before and it probably wouldn't have been my first choice, but it worked pretty well.

We rocked up at this season's venue — Rockwell House, near Shoreditch High Street — just after 6.30, and after we had signed in and picked up our wristbands, we headed upstairs to change. There are a couple of large-ish tents on the building's rooftop in which to change; the facilities aren't exactly plush, but then Hot Tub Cinema isn't exactly spa day. You can leave your bags in the cloakroom and because most UK money isn't especially waterproof, you can exchange your cash for booze tokens and they will even loan you a handy wrist-wallet for the princely sum of 1 token.

Up on the rooftop, the hot tubs were all laid out under a canopy, but the weather on Monday night was pretty clement. Besides, who cares if it rains when you're in a hot tub? We had a little while before the film started so we bought some drinks at the bar (beers and most cocktails are around 2-4 tokens (£4-8). My dark and stormy slipped down very nicely as we admired the view over the rooftops and skyscrapers of Shoreditch.

You don't have to rent a whole tub if your group is smaller than six (standard tub) or eight (deluxe tub), but it's definitely more fun and probably more pleasant if you are with friends. It worked out at about £32 each for the six of us, and our tub was in a pretty good location with views of both of the two screens. Soon it was time to get into the hot tub and start the movie—we were told to keep the bubbles off during the movie (I think this is because each tub has only a limited amount of generator power, so if you use yours too quickly, it gets cold). They displayed subtitles on the screens, which was handy because it got quite raucous (the Wittertainment Code of Conduct was definitely not being adhered to).

After the movie ended, the screens switched over to '90s music video mode, letting everyone sing and dance to the likes of Haddaway, Peter Andre and Britney. Oh, yes. It was a shame it was only a Monday, although many of the other people there didn't seem to care that they had another four days of work until the weekend (or maybe they were students). I brought my new waterproof camera, which was fun to play with, although the darkness and the steam made for some tricksy photography.

Hot Tub Cinema has finished its current run, but it will be back, I'm sure. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to find out where and when. I'd definitely consider going again — maybe not to see this movie though...

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