On Monday, my best friend emailed to say she had won two tickets to go and see The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren, at the Curzon Mayfair on Wednesday evening and would I like to go with her. Would I? Yes please!
Last night, I set off driving to the West End and just as I am approaching Vauxhall Bridge I receive a text which suggests I should hurry up, Curzon Street is rammed, the inference being that I will struggle to find a parking space. And they are laying a red carpet and my friend thinks that Helen’s arrival is imminent. OMG, we’re only going to the UK Gala Screening! “You might have warned me, thank goodness I had a shower and changed out of my work pyjamas.” No joke. It was touch and go.
So I put my foot on the gas and arrived just in time to see N closing in on Helen Mirren in what must be said is a very small queue, one deep only. I can see she’s getting some nice close-ups and schmoozing Helen for her autograph and generally behaving exactly as the promoters hoped we would, enjoying the craic and spreading the word on social media. We know how to behave, we do.
Just before leaving home I’d seen one of those admonitions to leave my gadgetry behind and just go out and have a lovely time which, uncharacteristically, and in the spirit of my new term new rules week, I had taken at face value otherwise I’d be able to show you picture evidence of me photographing my best pal photographing Helen Mirren, but that would be just silly. I know you believe me.
So we stood in line celebrating the fact that our seats were A12 and A13 in the front row, and scooped another autograph from the rather handsome Manish Dayal who played the central character, an Indian cook turned French chef, before we took our seats. There were empty ones on either side of us and we were convinced Helen was going to come and sit next to us. As it happens she didn’t, but she did stand on stage immediately above us which was deliciously exciting and made us feel very important in quite a small audience which Helen described as her “family”. Good job I didn’t get to press the flesh actually, as I would have been forced to let her know that she’s on my vision board, a role model about how to grow old sexily.
No adverts at a premiere, bliss. But the rather strange phenomenon of applauding the actors as their names roll at the end. Still, we didn’t struggle to do that, they deserved it; we’d had a throughly lovely time. The film’s director is the award-winning Lasse Hallstrom, who made Chocolat to name but one, and so if you’ve seen that, you’ll know what to expect – laughter and tears. A perfect little gem of a film set in gorgeous Tarn-et-Garonne so Helen informed us, and she also told us to expect a fable. It was and none the worse for that. Fun and fabulous supporting acting by Om Puri and Charlotte Le Bon, of that ilk. And some great and timely reminders about happy racial integration, love, acceptance, liberte, egalite and fraternite. Fab. And gorgeous music from A.R. Rahman who you’ll already know and love from his Oscar winning score for Slumdog Millionaire.
I noticed at the beginning of the film that it was supported by Dreamworks (that’s Steven Spielberg) and Harpo (that’s Oprah) and indeed they were both given production credits at the end and we decided that’s who the two empty seats were for… Steven & Oprah, a couple of no shows. Their loss, our gain.
Oh how we laughed at our good fortune as we tumbled out after the film into the balmy Mayfair evening and, taking a late, light and spicy supper in a pavement cafe, we noticed on our tickets that the dress code was either French Flair or Mumbai Magic. Frankly my work pyjamas are neither. Good job I left them at home, Darling. They may “work” at my desk in Streatham Hill, but they very definitely have no place amongst London’s glitterati.
Last night, a little bit of unexpected glamour touched our lives. I love being a Londoner, me.
Facebook.com/100FootJourneyFilm – watch the trailers
Twitter.com/the100ftJourney – “Every bite takes you home!”