The fact it’s 5pm and I can only just bring myself to write about Hot Tub Cinema last night is surely testament to how much fun was had (hint: Too much fun for a Tuesday night). What made the whole experience even more surreal was the fact the venue was located in a warehouse just a stone’s throw from my office. At 6.25pm I left work and by 6.27pm I was standing by a giant glittery Oscar statue being registered by a woman in an animal onesie.
Once inside it got even more surreal, with all the staff dressed as animals (bar one man in a tutu and wig) and most of the guests in some form of elaborate fancy dress. I’d felt embarrassed turning up with just a pair of flippers and a float as my contribution, but as it turned out they went down a treat (however, fishing a flipper out of a dirty, tepid hot tub at the end of the night was a definite low point).
Now, moving on to the facilities…There was a licensed bar serving a variety of alcoholic beverages – which you could purchase with pre-bought tokens stored in a handy wallet around your wrist – as well as traditional cinema snacks like popcorn and hot dogs. Much to our relief there was also ‘table’ service during the film, meaning you didn’t have to get out of the hot water and traipse – tipsy and sodden – over to the bar.
The only downside was the size of the hot tubs. Billed as being big enough to fit eight (though to be fair to the organisers they did say six would be more comfortable), I can only assume they were talking about eight toddlers. With six of us in it the water levels were treacherously high, and by the time eight had clambered in…well, let’s just say it was a good job we all knew one another, and that nobody was claustrophobic. Fortunately the lovely organisers allowed us to spill over into the adjacent free tub shortly after the film commenced, which made for a much more enjoyable viewing experience.
Much as I love Ferris Bueller’s Day Off it was somewhat hard to concentrate on the film given the novelty of the surroundings. At certain points in the film the staff encouraged everyone to stand up and dance around in their tubs; cue much hilarity and more than a bit of hot-tub-hopping.
With the film finished and the music cranked up to ear-splitting levels the event descended into full-scale, drink-fuelled chaos, with people leaping from one tub to the next with wild abandon. When I turned around and found myself face-to-crotch with a tub of naked men I knew it was time to take my leave and stumble back out into the real world.
To conclude with the words of Ferris Bueller himself: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I urge you, dear reader, not to miss out on Hot Tub Cinema. It’s ridiculous, but it’s an experience you won’t forget.