As romantic gestures go, a trip to the cinema ‘aint what it used to be. You go to your sticky seat, beloved in hand, only to find a pair of copulating teenagers writhing away in your peripheral vision. The stench of hotdogs and cheese sauce lingers in the air until you stroll back out into the unforgiving glare of the garish multiplex foyer, having squandered two hours and thirty quid on an occasion that feels about as special as buying a bottle of toilet duck.
Unless of course you’re smart enough to be using social networking websites to organize your social life, in which case you may have heard of the Secret Cinema.
Since 2007, Secret Cinema has been reviving the magic of the traditional picture show with a series of secret underground screenings around London. Naturally, members discuss, debate and find out about new events via Facebook and Twitter, with locations and details being confirmed just days before they take place.
Those in the know have enjoyed, amongst other things, a retro viewing of Alien in a Shoreditch warehouse (with an introduction from Ridley Scott, no less) and a UK premiere of Paranoid Park in a disused railway tunnel in South London. The idea is to shake up the big screen experience with a mixture of atmospherics and elements of theatre and performance. Hence at the Christmas screening of Bugsy Malone members walked into a mocked up Lower East Side at The Troxy and witnessed a real life splurge fight before watching the film.
So where does this leave the humble movie date? Well Secret Cinema’s next secret is taking place on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 February, and they’re looking for "romantic adventurers and dreamers" to take part, which we’re taking to mean a mass-orgy in Greenwich Observatory before a rather awkward viewing of 9 ½ Weeks. Sam Parker
Tickets are priced at £23.50 (£19.50 for students) and are available via www.secretcinema.org