Cinema: The Barbican
Price range: £12 normal price, £6 on a Monday.
The Barbican, if you haven’t been recently, is one of the ugliest buildings in London. It looms over this part of the City with its brownish greyish facade, and has its own micro climate which ensures it’s always raining over it. It is also incredibly confusing to get to, as even though its mass spreads across the area like a big ugly blob, it also doesn’t seem to have any doors so you have to walk around in the drizzle for ages feeling like a loser.
After a few attempts, I finally managed to locate the door to the Cinema when I visited last week. This was my trip to see Eighth Grade, and I thought I’d use the opportunity to try out a new cinema too as it wasn’t showing as my beloved Odeon. I visited on a Tuesday night, at around 6pm.
Once you manage to get in to the horrible building, the bar and cafe just outside of the cinema is actually rather nice. It was chock-a-block with a Picturehouse sort of crowd when I arrived (read: middle class) and I decided to skip buying any wine to take in with me as it is renowned for being crazy spenny in there. It has a very lovely, relaxed vibe and I could’ve happily had a couple of drinks there.
Going in to the cinema there was a very pleasant plush grey carpet and gold rail situation, which I was very much here for.
The screening was perfectly code compliant, and the seats are tiered enough that you’re guaranteed a good view from wherever you sat. What I’m saying is: I could see the screen, people were quiet, how could this go wrong?
THEY SEARCHED MY BAG ON THE WAY IN. Which means either a) they’re making sure I’m not bringing in any weapons which is pretty alarming for a cinema or b) they’re checking you’re not bringing in snacks? Which is quite frankly the meanest thing I’ve ever heard.
Don’t get me wrong, I obviously want cinemas to stay afloat and understand they have to make most of their profit from selling Haribo at £4 a bag, but really? I’ve spent £12 on a ticket to come here and you searching my bag like I’m going into a nightclub makes me feel a little bit weird and invaded. I actually didn’t have any snacks on me (thank god I hadn’t bought my full gin & tonic making facilities) so I will never know what she was actually looking for, but the hurt remains.
Aside from that, the most notable thing about this cinema has to be these red leather seats. It’s good that they’re distinctive (I can’t erase them from my memory), but I found them a little bit sexy and creepy and MAYBE THAT’S JUST ME. Also, the drink holders are very shallow so if you did have a £11 glass of wine you would definitely spill it on the nice carpet.
The cinema I was in (there are three, but I’m not sure that the largest one is actually used for films?) had quite a small screen, which makes you feel a bit like you’re watching a big TV rather than a film. You wouldn’t want to watch Avengers on it, but for this it was OK.
I’d also arrived very promptly to my screening as the ticket had advised this, making me think that maybe there weren’t going to be many adverts. Another wrong call for me: there were about 25 minutes worth which is quite irritating when the film you’re going to watch is only 90 minutes long.
Look, they upset me with the bag thing and the seats are creepy – but for a clean, calm, pleasant viewing experience I couldn’t really fault it.