Monday, June 09, 2014
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Have you ever wondered who the mugs were who stand for hours in the rain waiting to see some movie star at their latest premiere?
Today that mug was me.
This morning, my 11-year-old son and I found ourselves standing in the pouring rain outside of the BFI Imax Cinema at 6 a.m. waiting to see Tom Cruise and others walk the red carpet for the new film, "Edge of Tomorrow."
The reason the premiere was at 6 a.m. instead of the more typical premiere time of early evening was because it was part of a publicity stunt to do three film premieres in London, Paris and New York in one day. We were on the first leg of the stunt.
As Tom Cruise walked the red carpet it would appear to the unitiated that there were hundreds of people there standing in the rain, clamouring to get a glimpse of the stars while sacrificing valuable sleep in order to do so. The reality was quite different: hundreds of people were lured there to get free tickets to see the movie, but first had to line the red carpet so the sidelines would be filled with "fans."
We were told to report to the cinema at 6 a.m. Thoughtfully, they did provide the "fans" with free coffee, tea and bacon butties to keep us going in the early hours. They also had a comedian and free t-shirts to entertain the crowd. You can't lose sight of the fact that it was stupid o'clock, but at least they had some freebies to soften the blow.
To give credit where it's due, Tom Cruise showed up at 6:45 a.m. to work his magic. He has a reputation for spending a lot of time on the red carpet at his premieres, and this one was no different. He made a real effort to speak to the myriad media outlets lining the other side of the red carpet. He also made time for selfies and autographs for the fans.
Personally, I didn't get much of a thrill from seeing Tom Cruise in person. It felt much like the first time I saw the Grand Canyon: It looked just like it did in pictures and movies. Seeing Tom Cruise in person was no different. He's been photographed so often and in so many movies, you already know what he looks like, it's just that he's walking in front of you instead of walking across a movie screen.
It was fascinating, however, to see the hundreds of people who were working at this one event: photographers taking pictures, journalists asking questions, public relations people shepherding stars, studio personnel keeping a schedule, marketing people handing out t-shirts. I never saw so many black North Face jackets in one place, or for that matter, so many people wearing black. It must be part of the uniform.
After two hours, having our fill of watching Tom Cruise walk the red carpet, we decided to leave. We wanted some breakfast and still had 90 minutes to wait until our screening started, which was at a different cinema. The "fans" didn't get to go to the official movie premiere, but I'm not complaining, since we did get to see it for free.
"Edge of Tomorrow"-- a science fiction-Groundhog Day-war movie mashup was fairly enjoyable. Once again, Tom Cruise plays the flawed military guy who figures out what it's all about by the end of the movie (see: Top Gun, A Few Good Men). Emily Blunt kicks butt and takes names (she was awesome). It's a solid summer film: one you'd want to see if you want to escape the summer rain (in the UK) or the summer heat (anywhere else in the northern hemisphere).
Would I get up at Stupid O'Clock again for a film premiere? Probably not. But it's not every day that you get to be part of a movie publicity stunt, so that was fun.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Monday, April 21, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014
Thursday, April 03, 2014
Monday, March 31, 2014
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Monday, March 17, 2014
Monday, March 10, 2014
Monday, March 03, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
Some questions that have arisen since the picture was published:
Q: "How did you get the teenager out of bed at the crack of dawn?"
A: I told him he could sleep in the car. He did. Quite happily.
Q: "Was the teenager grumpy?"
A: Amazingly enough, no. It must have been the promise of a nap later that did it.
Q: "What do you mean exactly by 'stupid o'clock'?
A: It was 7 a.m., so technically probably not stupid o'clock, but it felt like it because we were on holiday.
Q: "What was the highlight of the ride?"
A: The best part of the ride was doing it together. Now that he's 14, it's nice that we can do things together. The first highlight was I was in front of him on a particularly long hill and I keep thinking that I was too slow for him. When we reached the top and both of us stopped to get some water, he turned to me and said, "Wow. That was hard. I feel like I'm going to throw up." While I expressed some maternal concern, I thought to myself, "Yes! Not too slow!!" The second highlight was seeing what I think was a starling murmuration-- breathtakingly beautiful. I was enjoying the moment so much that I didn't even take a picture, but I will never forget it.
Monday, February 17, 2014
These are the cards I got for my sons. I told them not to look at each other's card, but they didn't listen.
When the younger son opened his card and then looked over at his brother's card, he said, "I sense shenanigans!" Indeed.
Monday, February 10, 2014
We spotted this hide and seek rainbow behind the trees while travelling on the DLR, while my son and I both furiously took loads of snaps trying to capture it. He even managed to capture the double rainbow.
Monday, February 03, 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014
Monday, January 13, 2014
Monday, January 06, 2014
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Sunday, December 22, 2013
This picture also marks the occasion that this is the first year he was too big to go on his dad's shoulders to put on the star. He used a small stool instead. Time marches on, indeed.
Monday, December 16, 2013
I captured this group of runners on the field between the Queen's House and the Royal Observatory (where the stadium was for the equestrian events during the 2012 Summer Olympics). Amazing, you can't see the Queen's House, even though it is just to the right of the runners.
No filter was harmed in the creation of this photo.
Monday, December 09, 2013
In a week full of photo opportunities--- Thanksgiving celebrations, seeing old friends, admiring the London Christmas decorations, I went with the most simple one: a single candle I held during Advent Services on the first day of Advent.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
On a very grey and rainy day in London, I spotted this: a lonely chicken taking a call next to the Thames. No, I have no idea why he's there. No, I don't know who he's talking to. (His agent? He might be saying something like, "You need to get me a better gig than this.") But whatever his reason for being there, his presence cheered me up immensely.
Monday, November 11, 2013
I captured this photo near the end of an epic walk on my birthday eve.
We had a most excellent dim sum brunch at Royal China at Westferry in Canary Wharf and decided to walk back home because it was a beautiful sunny day. We tried our best to stay on the Thames Path on the way back. But several times we found that some money grubbing, heartless developers closed off their sections of the Thames Path and we had to do some zig zagging back and forth from the Thames to Westferry Road. This was one of the zig zags.
But it was a fantastic day just the same-- tasty brunch, sunshine, fun walk and (most importantly for this picture) great light.
Monday, November 04, 2013
I was spoiled for choice to pick just one picture to capture Week 44 of 2013. We went to the Shard at sunset (Ooh!). It was Halloween (Boo!). We kicked the autumnal leaves in the park (Ouch!).
In the end, I went for a snap of the Blackheath Fireworks. It's a huge part of our autumnal calendar, and we go every year (except for last year, when I mistakenly booked tickets for us to see the opera that night instead. I won't be making that mistake again.) They estimate that more than 100,000 people gather on the heath to watch them. It is insane, but one of the many reasons why I love living in London.
Monday, October 28, 2013
This beautiful surprise is one of the many reasons why I Love London.