11th Oct 2019 - The BFI LFF 'Western Stars' Premiere

October 11th 2019.

I took a day off today, which allowed me to sleep to the point where I only had 90 minutes LESS sleep than average (but still more than I’d gotten in the past 3 or 4 or 5 days). And for all of that, I only went to one premiere, choosing instead to waste (I mean ‘spend’) a few hours of time taking a photo of a single star getting out of, and returning back to, his van; and seeing the worst of humanity on display. Again.

Here’s how it went down.

It’s the latest premiere of BFI LFF that I’ve gone to - and it’s raining heavily, and the crowds are not small. Why? Because the guest of honour is THE BOSS, Bruce Springsteen. (He was big in the 1980s) (kids : ask your parents what the 1980s were).

It’s the latest premiere of BFI LFF that I’ve gone to - and it’s raining heavily, and the crowds are not small. Why? Because the guest of honour is THE BOSS, Bruce Springsteen. (He was big in the 1980s) (kids : ask your parents what the 1980s were).

In contrast to prior premieres (and in contrast to earlier in the day) this time I decided I wanted nothing to do with the a55holishness of autograph dealers, or the pushiness of the media, and stood where the FANS were - at the very end of the carpet. (With the look this assistant is giving me, I wonder what I’d be subject to if I was in ANOTHER pen)

In contrast to prior premieres (and in contrast to earlier in the day) this time I decided I wanted nothing to do with the a55holishness of autograph dealers, or the pushiness of the media, and stood where the FANS were - at the very end of the carpet. (With the look this assistant is giving me, I wonder what I’d be subject to if I was in ANOTHER pen)

“Are these people all getting shorter, or am I still growing?”  World’s Tallest Security Guard has only looked ‘normal’ height twice this festival - one for    ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’   , which featured the very tall actress Gwendoline Christie, and    ‘Knives Out’   , whose composer is also very, very tall.

“Are these people all getting shorter, or am I still growing?”
World’s Tallest Security Guard has only looked ‘normal’ height twice this festival - one for ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’, which featured the very tall actress Gwendoline Christie, and ‘Knives Out’, whose composer is also very, very tall.

You know the guest of honour is cool when even the Security are making sure every hair is in the right place. (Though turfing out all dealers from all premieres would be the ultimate act of cool, there seems to be some agreement that such a simple improvement will never be implemented.)

You know the guest of honour is cool when even the Security are making sure every hair is in the right place. (Though turfing out all dealers from all premieres would be the ultimate act of cool, there seems to be some agreement that such a simple improvement will never be implemented.)

I can’t really claim that every hair of mine is in place for this premiere, but the empty follicles on my head are more or less aligned, and additionally covered by a cap. It’s the best I can do until CRISPR technology becomes an iPhone app.

I can’t really claim that every hair of mine is in place for this premiere, but the empty follicles on my head are more or less aligned, and additionally covered by a cap. It’s the best I can do until CRISPR technology becomes an iPhone app.

“No, Margaret. I’M a bigger fan than you are! MUCH bigger?” ”Really? Name even ONE of his songs….” ”Wait… we’re talking about a ‘Him’? I was talking about Ariana Grande. Who you YOU talking about?”

“No, Margaret. I’M a bigger fan than you are! MUCH bigger?”
”Really? Name even ONE of his songs….”
”Wait… we’re talking about a ‘Him’? I was talking about Ariana Grande. Who you YOU talking about?”

“I still remember where I was when I first found out that the song ‘Born in the USA’ is ironic and cynical, and not celebratory at all”  - newslady in photo is holding a ‘7 Digital’ microphone, which means she’s Australian!

“I still remember where I was when I first found out that the song ‘Born in the USA’ is ironic and cynical, and not celebratory at all” - newslady in photo is holding a ‘7 Digital’ microphone, which means she’s Australian!

“It’s not like we’re pessimistic about the chances he’ll do anything more than pose for the Paparazzi and walk right in…. but…. you know…. better to be safe than sorry”  My camera has 10fps and even I’m worried.

“It’s not like we’re pessimistic about the chances he’ll do anything more than pose for the Paparazzi and walk right in…. but…. you know…. better to be safe than sorry”
My camera has 10fps and even I’m worried.

“No, I am not Bruce Springsteen, and I have not, how you put it ‘Let Myself Go’. But thanks for mistaking me for somebody pretty damn awesome, I guess”  - eh… I’m carrying an extra few pounds too these days, and it’s not just the camera equipment. I also lack #1 selling albums and semi-mythic status…. so feel free to mistake me for Eminem or something.

“No, I am not Bruce Springsteen, and I have not, how you put it ‘Let Myself Go’. But thanks for mistaking me for somebody pretty damn awesome, I guess” - eh… I’m carrying an extra few pounds too these days, and it’s not just the camera equipment. I also lack #1 selling albums and semi-mythic status…. so feel free to mistake me for Eminem or something.

It’s Bruce Springsteen! And somebody’s hairline! And a lot of blurry heads! And the BFI Logo! And most of the letters of ‘BFI London Film Festival’ (big thanks to ‘describe-my-jpeg.org’, who are guest commentators on this journal)

It’s Bruce Springsteen! And somebody’s hairline! And a lot of blurry heads! And the BFI Logo! And most of the letters of ‘BFI London Film Festival’ (big thanks to ‘describe-my-jpeg.org’, who are guest commentators on this journal)

“If you can reach out and give me a high-five, the sweet security lady you’ve been chatting with for the past few hours will snap your arm like a twig, and I for one would like to see that”  - she was quite a nice security lady, but I have reason to believe that in the heat of the moment she would be competent.

“If you can reach out and give me a high-five, the sweet security lady you’ve been chatting with for the past few hours will snap your arm like a twig, and I for one would like to see that”
- she was quite a nice security lady, but I have reason to believe that in the heat of the moment she would be competent.

“Well… I’ve seen you and you’ve seen me. It’s been real….. real…. ummm….Well, let’s just say I probably won’t write a song about it.”  And with that, Mr Springsteen entered the Embankment Cinema (“Its screen is 3m wider than the Odeon in Leicester Square” - security lady, earlier), leaving interviewing duties to be entirely performed by his duly designated alternate.

“Well… I’ve seen you and you’ve seen me. It’s been real….. real…. ummm….Well, let’s just say I probably won’t write a song about it.”
And with that, Mr Springsteen entered the Embankment Cinema (“Its screen is 3m wider than the Odeon in Leicester Square” - security lady, earlier), leaving interviewing duties to be entirely performed by his duly designated alternate.

It’s Trudie Styler!! (I don’t know who Trudy Styler is, but I can inform you that 90% of all the people in the pens and surrounding area have already left the event with Bruce Springsteen no longer being visible)

It’s Trudie Styler!! (I don’t know who Trudy Styler is, but I can inform you that 90% of all the people in the pens and surrounding area have already left the event with Bruce Springsteen no longer being visible)

It’s Livia Firth! I…. feel like I know who that is. Can anyone (eg. Wikipedia) help me?

It’s Livia Firth! I…. feel like I know who that is. Can anyone (eg. Wikipedia) help me?

“Well…. yeah, since Bruce and I are co-directors, we flipped a coin in the car to see who would do the interviews. And I WON, so I’m doing them!!”  Thom Zimny was the only person associated with the film to do interviews along the media line - he’s (co-)director of this film, along with Bruce Springsteen.

“Well…. yeah, since Bruce and I are co-directors, we flipped a coin in the car to see who would do the interviews. And I WON, so I’m doing them!!”
Thom Zimny was the only person associated with the film to do interviews along the media line - he’s (co-)director of this film, along with Bruce Springsteen.

“I appreciate that you’re disappointed I’m not Bruce Springsteen, but NO. I will not put on a fake soul patch and pretend to be him. Mainly because if you saw what he looked like moments ago, he was fully clean shaven.”

“I appreciate that you’re disappointed I’m not Bruce Springsteen, but NO. I will not put on a fake soul patch and pretend to be him. Mainly because if you saw what he looked like moments ago, he was fully clean shaven.”

Sam Fender is (per Wikipedia) a singer-songwriter, who won the Critics Choice Award at the 2019 Brit Awards, and his last album entered the UK charts at #1. Of more note, I know two people who speak really, REALLY fast - and I’m one - but I think he speaks slightly faster.

Sam Fender is (per Wikipedia) a singer-songwriter, who won the Critics Choice Award at the 2019 Brit Awards, and his last album entered the UK charts at #1. Of more note, I know two people who speak really, REALLY fast - and I’m one - but I think he speaks slightly faster.

“I know I shouldn’t find him so dreamy…. but he is and I do…”

“I know I shouldn’t find him so dreamy…. but he is and I do…”

“I can’t believe I’m busking on the tube to get people to see my film… I do hope that the dude with the Fraggle Rock muppets doing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ steals my thunder… he’s really good”

“I can’t believe I’m busking on the tube to get people to see my film… I do hope that the dude with the Fraggle Rock muppets doing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ steals my thunder… he’s really good”

… and that was more or less that. Waterlogged, tired and hungry, I made it back to the station just in time for it to be evacuated for some reason, getting home probably half an hour later than I wanted, far too tired to care.

Not every day is like this, thankfully.

Meanwhile, earlier that day, in an exercise of time-wasted pointlessness….

I arrived at BFI Southbank to see a large pen filled with autograph dealers (I mean… “FANS”) waiting for the arrival of Robert De Niro (who would be doing a screen talk inside), hoping like hell he wouldn’t use any one of the three known alternative entrances into the building.

I arrived at BFI Southbank to see a large pen filled with autograph dealers (I mean… “FANS”) waiting for the arrival of Robert De Niro (who would be doing a screen talk inside), hoping like hell he wouldn’t use any one of the three known alternative entrances into the building.

After security laid down the m&&herf&&king law, promising to ban anyone for a year if there was any trouble when De Niro arrived… it took about 12 seconds before a fight basically broke out in our pen.  Autograph dealers, as you, and I, and security, and everyone with half a brain knows…. are basically morons. Not all of them, but many of them. And, emboldened by the fact that there are no negative consequences for being an asshole, their behaviour drifts inevitably that way.

After security laid down the m&&herf&&king law, promising to ban anyone for a year if there was any trouble when De Niro arrived… it took about 12 seconds before a fight basically broke out in our pen.

Autograph dealers, as you, and I, and security, and everyone with half a brain knows…. are basically morons. Not all of them, but many of them. And, emboldened by the fact that there are no negative consequences for being an asshole, their behaviour drifts inevitably that way.

About two hours later, Robert De Niro re-emerged, and signed for nobody as he re-entered the van. He’ll be back on Sunday, along with Martin Scorsese, and possibly Al Pacino… and you can imagine it will be a pleasant, relaxed affair because autograph dealers will not be banned no matter how badly they behave or how rancid many of them make it for everyone…..

Robert DeNiro. I got two shots out of sixty that were in fous. This is the second-best one.

Robert DeNiro. I got two shots out of sixty that were in fous. This is the second-best one.

SO… that was that. Two days of BFI London Film Festival to go. Day 11 is set to be small and vey wet, and Day 12 will no doubt see repeats of this kind of behaviour, with the effects multiplied because instead of 2 Oscars worth of talent in one place, there might be up to 4. And I’m sure they’re looking forward to it about as much as I am.

Until next time!

Feel free to follow me on Facebook, or Twitter, so I can get soaked and tired and grumpy and you won’t have to; and I can add +1 to the Archive of Premieres and convince myself that this is a hobby that has some kind of value.