If you were on a particular train going through the Shoreditch area on the 19th of August and, whilst daydreaming about that microwave carbonara in your M&S bag, happened to turn your head at just the right moment, you might have caught a fleeting glimpse into another world - a world in which we consume margaritas and hot dogs in jacuzzis. Leave real life at the door and let Hot Tub Cinema turn you into the star of your own nonsensical 90's music video.
The venue for this string of Hot Tub Cinema Club's 90's cult film screenings was the disused Shoreditch rail station. While roof-tops were all the rave this summer (leading to an inescapable plethora of skyline selfies), London's nightlife scene has long been rooted in the dark tunnels and caverns beneath our feet. The team truly lived up to the quirky setting, using the ticket and assistance booth to, whaddya know, check tickets, and setting up dozens of bulbous, bubbling, round hot-tubs beneath some great brick arches only just covered by two screens at either end.
Descending the stairs into the cinema and being confronted by pods full of near-naked bodies is a bit like entering the set of a sci-fi movie that went straight to DVD. However, you forget the surreal concept of sharing a bath with a few slippery strangers as soon as you ease into that warm water, and are ready to start watching the film.
Introduced by a giraffe onesie wearing bearded man (because why not?) as 'the film that misled a generation of prostitutes', Pretty Woman seemed like an appropriate choice; the juxtaposition of decadent luxury with gritty downtown city scenes mirrored our setting perfectly. The buzzing party atmosphere didn't subside with the start of the film however; subtitles allowed groups to continue chatting, and iconic songs or moments were bolstered by cheers and sing-alongs from the crowd. We all felt like proud parents before prom after the iconic makeover moment, and one Essex lad had most definitely found his sensitive side by the end of the film, shouting encouragement at Julia Roberts as she was forced to confront the leering Stuckey. The end of the film eased seamlessly into a 90's party, with buckets of bubbles and some disco lights cranking things up a notch - Julia's beaming set of pegs replaced by the synchronized dance moves of r'n'b videos on the big screens.
The Hot Tub Cinema team were keen to remind everyone that they needn't feel any reason to remove themselves from their aquatic armchairs - rather, they were on hand to deliver drinks to us, upon the wave of a hand and a quick token exchange. Despite the ease of service, it seemed a shame that the lovely bar upstairs was completely neglected: even without the bubbling booths of drinkers below, there is no doubt that it would have been a crowd-puller for the Shoreditch crowd, what with it's kitsch design features, bare brick walls and entertaining bar men.
This pop-up could easily never pop back off again. More ingrained and settled in its location than its short stay belies, the whole experience satisfies a desire that goes much further than the novelty of combining hot tubs with movies. Hot Tub Cinema Club is a damn good night out; and if your idea of a good night out doesn't include rowdy sing-a-longs, partial nudity, cocktails, underground tunnels and dancing to 90s anthems covered in suds, then I guess you should just get back to the Dave re-runs and carbonara - it's getting cold.