23 Sep 2019 - The 'Hitsville : The Making of Motown' premiere

September 23rd, 2019.

In the space of just a few hours today, I went from “I only brought one camera because I’m not even sure this will be a real premiere” to “I went to Leicester Square at lunch and there’s a Greenpeace Burger King protest but no evidence of any premiere” to confirming to a friend who’d acquired two tickets to it that I’d totally watch the documentary that was having the premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square.

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes, like today, it happens.

Here’s how it went down (commentary, and more photos, to follow)

“I’m at the home of premieres, looking for a red carpet. Where are you?”  Oh, me? I’m sitting here on this retaining wall taking photos of the front of the Odeon Leicester Square and not being at all creepy. Why do you ask?

“I’m at the home of premieres, looking for a red carpet. Where are you?”
Oh, me? I’m sitting here on this retaining wall taking photos of the front of the Odeon Leicester Square and not being at all creepy. Why do you ask?

It’s autumn, and there are leaves and a pigeon. It could be as much of a premiere as we’ll see today (and the giant light-screen above the entrance is showing Brad Pitt in ‘Ad Astra’, which is hardly reassuring.

It’s autumn, and there are leaves and a pigeon. It could be as much of a premiere as we’ll see today (and the giant light-screen above the entrance is showing Brad Pitt in ‘Ad Astra’, which is hardly reassuring.

I’ll flippantly call the people at “Cover it Up'“ history’s greatest monsters for what they took part in at the Avengers : Endgame “premiere” abomination. Yeah, they were only following orders. It’s a perfectly acceptable defence when you’re getting paid to do what you’re doing.

I’ll flippantly call the people at “Cover it Up'“ history’s greatest monsters for what they took part in at the Avengers : Endgame “premiere” abomination. Yeah, they were only following orders. It’s a perfectly acceptable defence when you’re getting paid to do what you’re doing.

So… whatever it is that’s happening is happening indoors, and I won't be getting a ticket to it until later, and even when I do it won’t authorise me to take photos inside when it does.  Time to find a café, then….

So… whatever it is that’s happening is happening indoors, and I won't be getting a ticket to it until later, and even when I do it won’t authorise me to take photos inside when it does.

Time to find a café, then….

Progress! About an hour later, and they’ve replaced the ‘Ad Astra’ display with one for this movie!

Progress! About an hour later, and they’ve replaced the ‘Ad Astra’ display with one for this movie!

Oh, to be one of the few, the proud, the privileged….

Oh, to be one of the few, the proud, the privileged….

I’ll just join the equally few, the proud, the odd outside the event…

I’ll just join the equally few, the proud, the odd outside the event…

“Oh, for a slightly drunk, slightly belligerent passerby who declines my invitation to move along, and says anything that could be construed as a threat to me, or a guest, or this event” . I hear Leo isn’t coming.

“Oh, for a slightly drunk, slightly belligerent passerby who declines my invitation to move along, and says anything that could be construed as a threat to me, or a guest, or this event”. I hear Leo isn’t coming.

“I don’t know nuffin’ about no Motown, but I can get ya access to a warehouse down near ‘Ammersmiff” . You know… allegedly.

“I don’t know nuffin’ about no Motown, but I can get ya access to a warehouse down near ‘Ammersmiff”.
You know… allegedly.

“Why yes, I AM pretty. And now I’m going to go inside and BE pretty.”  The List of attendees at this event runs to four pages, but as my knowledge of Motown is slightly less than my knowledge of Gangsta Rap (which isn’t great either), and with everyone’s favourite autograph dealers off to stakeout Jeremy Irons’ place or something, I’m kind of out of my depth.

“Why yes, I AM pretty. And now I’m going to go inside and BE pretty.”
The List of attendees at this event runs to four pages, but as my knowledge of Motown is slightly less than my knowledge of Gangsta Rap (which isn’t great either), and with everyone’s favourite autograph dealers off to stakeout Jeremy Irons’ place or something, I’m kind of out of my depth.

“Actually I’m really interested in those 8,300 square feet of prime retail space that’s being advertised in the background, so if you could just move aside…”  - wireimage informs me that this is Izzy Bizu.

“Actually I’m really interested in those 8,300 square feet of prime retail space that’s being advertised in the background, so if you could just move aside…” - wireimage informs me that this is Izzy Bizu.

“If you really want to know who I’m wearing, it’s really not necessary for you to take a photo and do a reverse image search… you could totally just ask”  I actually know who Dame Kelly Holmes is - she’s a former British Olympian.

“If you really want to know who I’m wearing, it’s really not necessary for you to take a photo and do a reverse image search… you could totally just ask”
I actually know who Dame Kelly Holmes is - she’s a former British Olympian.

“You think anyone with an iPhone and a couple hundred thousand Instagram followers can do this? THIS is why you go and get yourself a photography degree, people” . It’s… quite impressive.

“You think anyone with an iPhone and a couple hundred thousand Instagram followers can do this? THIS is why you go and get yourself a photography degree, people”. It’s… quite impressive.

“And you… Up There! With the rain and all that crap. Just STOP it!”  But you don’t need a degree to create the universe.

“And you… Up There! With the rain and all that crap. Just STOP it!”
But you don’t need a degree to create the universe.

“Imma assume you’re not just taking photos of random black people with dreadlocks, hoping they are or were at one time a Big Thing in the Detroit music scene… but only because your hair will never be able to achieve these Dreads…”  In my defence, I did bring my brass-logo “L.A.” cap to this event… but I was just worried that it might be inappropriate to wear West Coast colours to this event..

“Imma assume you’re not just taking photos of random black people with dreadlocks, hoping they are or were at one time a Big Thing in the Detroit music scene… but only because your hair will never be able to achieve these Dreads…” In my defence, I did bring my brass-logo “L.A.” cap to this event… but I was just worried that it might be inappropriate to wear West Coast colours to this event..

Your…. excellency?

Your…. excellency?

Excitingly, this is Ben Turner, one of two directors of this documentary. Photographed in part because of the fetching overcoat he’s wearing… and partly because my secret strategy at events is: “Important People Don’t Hold Tickets” and “Important People Don’t Hold Umbrellas”. (They also usually wear slinkily dresses but that doesn’t apply here)

Excitingly, this is Ben Turner, one of two directors of this documentary. Photographed in part because of the fetching overcoat he’s wearing… and partly because my secret strategy at events is: “Important People Don’t Hold Tickets” and “Important People Don’t Hold Umbrellas”. (They also usually wear slinkily dresses but that doesn’t apply here)

“Am I tha hed of Motown Rekordz? Well.. not ezzackly, but I do have a demo tape an’ the ability to put on a live concert a’ showt notiss. Peace out, bruvva.”

“Am I tha hed of Motown Rekordz? Well.. not ezzackly, but I do have a demo tape an’ the ability to put on a live concert a’ showt notiss. Peace out, bruvva.”

“You don’t mind if I clip the word ‘premiere’ at ‘pre’, do you?”  I’m not going to lie, it feels kind of lame using somebody else’s Assist to take a group shot… but deep down this is less a photo of the directors and family as it is another chance to admire the dedication of that photographer. Well done, sir.

“You don’t mind if I clip the word ‘premiere’ at ‘pre’, do you?”
I’m not going to lie, it feels kind of lame using somebody else’s Assist to take a group shot… but deep down this is less a photo of the directors and family as it is another chance to admire the dedication of that photographer. Well done, sir.

“Okay, but did you take at least one shot without a Dutch tilt? Like.. with a straight horizon?” ”I am an Artist, Sir. I will not dignify that question”

“Okay, but did you take at least one shot without a Dutch tilt? Like.. with a straight horizon?”
”I am an Artist, Sir. I will not dignify that question”

wait…. is that Teri Hatcher??

Man at Right :  “I can’t believe you partly cropped me out of the picture so you could fully compose the word “Beer” into frame”  Me :  “Erm…. right.”  I believe this is former “Lois-of-Lois-and-Clark” fame and “Susan-of-Desperate-Housewives” fame and even former Bond Girl “Paris-of-Die-Another-Day” fame… Teri Hatcher.

Man at Right : “I can’t believe you partly cropped me out of the picture so you could fully compose the word “Beer” into frame”
Me : “Erm…. right.”
I believe this is former “Lois-of-Lois-and-Clark” fame and “Susan-of-Desperate-Housewives” fame and even former Bond Girl “Paris-of-Die-Another-Day” fame… Teri Hatcher.

Wow… that’s totally Teri Hatcher. She wasn’t just in a James Bond film… she had a small part in Seinfeld. And Frasier. And Star Trek the Next Generation. And McGuyver. AND QUANTUM LEAP!! (Also notice : not carrying her own tickets).

Wow… that’s totally Teri Hatcher. She wasn’t just in a James Bond film… she had a small part in Seinfeld. And Frasier. And Star Trek the Next Generation. And McGuyver. AND QUANTUM LEAP!! (Also notice : not carrying her own tickets).

“You will remember that I’m not here to overshadow the other guests at this premiere, right?”  I figure it would be improper for me to post more photos of her than (say) one of the directors of this film.. so I’d better get back to that, and get myself inside the venue.

“You will remember that I’m not here to overshadow the other guests at this premiere, right?”
I figure it would be improper for me to post more photos of her than (say) one of the directors of this film.. so I’d better get back to that, and get myself inside the venue.

My seat is second row from the very back, and comes with a small bag of Odeon popcorn and a bottle of water (which for coolness’ sake I shall call Jack Daniels). The chair is comfortable.

My seat is second row from the very back, and comes with a small bag of Odeon popcorn and a bottle of water (which for coolness’ sake I shall call Jack Daniels). The chair is comfortable.

“Okay, now if y’all could just stop updating your Instagram followers on the awesome night you’re having for just one second….”  Ethiopia Habtemariam is the current head of Motown Records.

“Okay, now if y’all could just stop updating your Instagram followers on the awesome night you’re having for just one second….”
Ethiopia Habtemariam is the current head of Motown Records.

“Enjoy the movie. It’s a documentary.”

“Enjoy the movie. It’s a documentary.”

So… that was that. Before I watched the movie, I’d read quite a negative alternative report on the goings-on at Motown records that paint the documentary as more of a self-promotional fluff-piece, but it’s hard to (a) judge that as an industry outsider, and (b) deny the impact of Motown records regardless, and (c) say anything other than I enjoyed watching it. And I didn’t even have the popcorn, so it’s not like my opinions were entirely bought!

Until next time!

+1 for the Archive of premieres.