diamond geezer

 Thursday, July 04, 2013

Are you are looking for a museum you have not been to before? Perhaps you could try the London Film Museum. There are two London Film Museums. One is on the South Bank at County Hall and costs £13.50 to go in. I did not go to that one. The other is in Covent Garden and is free. Obviously I went to that one.

The museum entrance is in Wellington Street. This is round the back of the London Transport Museum. It is a modern entrance. There will be someone to welcome you on the front desk. When I went she looked very bored. You enter by going downstairs. This is under the old Covent Garden market, where the Theatre Museum used to be. It is quite dark. You want it quite dark in a film museum.

First there is a big film projector. It is old and very lovely. Then you can read the story of the birth of film. This part is called Capturing the Shadows. This starts with the birth of photos. Then there is a lot about how images started to move. Think science. Don't think Hollywood.

There are some very old films to watch. They are in black and white of course. The old ones are quite juddery. Many are French. Some are films of London. This bit is called Lights Camera London. I thought all this first section was surprisingly interesting.

Then you go round further. There are screens with top film moments. These are the 'wow' scenes. You can stand and watch these too. There are quite a lot of films to stand and watch. It is a Film Museum after all.

The rest of downstairs is themed. Several bays have been formed with panels. On the panels there is information about the theme. The theme could be crime films or gritty films or war films or something. At the far end of each bay is a screen. On the screen you can watch clips from the films. I think the films are all British films. I stopped and watched a bit from the Dads Army film. In one corner there is a Mini. I think this was the Spice Girls Mini from the Spice Girls film.

There is a lot of empty space downstairs. Downstairs is mostly bays and panels and films. There is not much else to see, but then it is a free museum. There are also a lot of film clips to watch. It is better than watching them on YouTube. You can even sit down so long as it is not too busy. If you like film clips you could be here for quite a long time.

The central path bends round in an S shape. At the far end is the entrance to a coffee shop. This is the Flower Cellars coffee shop. I thought it was quite big for a cafe hidden at the back of an underground museum. It was not busy. I did not have a coffee.

The museum would be a good place to go if it is raining. You could come down into the basement and watch some films. You would only see bits of films but they would be the good bits. People don't have the attention span these days anyway.

There is also an upstairs floor. I took the lift but you can walk. The upstairs floor is above the lobby. It is very small. I would call it a mezzanine. There was an exhibition here but not much of one. There were some photos and bits and pieces of art relating to the idea of cinema. I didn't stay upstairs for more than half a minute.

This was the second time I had come to the Film Museum. The first time I came it was closed. When I arrived the doors were shut because there was an event on. This underground space is ideal to hire for events. Staff can clear away all the panels and screens and make a big space for entertaining. I think lots of companies use it.

Apparently there is an event on at the moment. The London Film Museum website says so. It says "Due to a private viewing/event the Museum will be closed to the public until Friday 19th July." It says "We apologise for any inconvenience." So you cannot go to the museum today. You cannot go to the museum this weekend. You cannot go next week. You cannot go the week after either.

I have probably been wasting my time telling you about the London Film Museum. By the time it is open again you will have forgotten about it. But it will still be there. Especially if it is raining.


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