Magazine article The Spectator

Movie Dinners

Magazine article The Spectator

Movie Dinners

Article excerpt

The Odeon cinema in Whiteleys, Bayswater, has refurbished; it now has eight 'Lounges' where you can watch a film and stuff your face with only 49 others, planted on leather seats like fellow passengers on a spaceship to nowhere. Other London cinemas do food (the E veryman, the E lectric) but the food is mostly olives and the audience won't talk to you because they are evil. The E lectric, particularly, has the vibe of a Notting Hill serial killer convention; when watching a horror film at the E lectric, you sense the audience is rooting for the demon/Antichrist/hot slayer of priests.

The Lounge does real food, by Rowley Leigh of Le Cafe Anglais, which is on the same floor at Whiteleys although, the PR assures me, the Lounge has its own kitchen and chef. So this is perfect for people who don't care to talk at dinner but would rather watch an actor's big head, talking somebody else's big lines.

It is a restaurant that allows you to pretend that you are in your own home, which is why I adore it, and why it will fail.

Whiteleys itself is hellish, an ordinary dystopia like Nabokov's fish tank of a department store.

I am not saying it is full of European paedophiles buying lollies but I would advise all Spectator readers to avoid it anyway.

I t is all escalators and branches of Muji and fat people dreaming of Apple products and F oot Locker - hyper capitalism on wobbling legs, dazed and numb, so numb, so numb. Do you get that?


I n you walk to an overstyled space where they have hoovered but forgotten to open the windows. Result: a prison made of bright swirly carpets, turbo-naff.

I reject The Iron Lady, because I hate to see Margaret Thatcher rebranded as a feminist - as I suspect, would she - and Shame, because it is film about masturbation and who needs to make a film about masturbation? …

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