London Film Festival: Camping it up

10 Oct

… And so the London Film Festival begins. The excitement is palpable- And I should know. For the next week and a half, I shall be living in a tent in Leicester Square, surveying the crowds and accosting movie goers, assuring them that yes, I am a professional film critic and no, I don’t want their spare change (although if they have 50p, it wouldn’t hurt). As I’m sure you’ll come to infer, I take these events rather more seriously than my American colleague Marcus P.Hernandez. He’s staying at the Holiday Inn on Gloucester Road- does he not know what a festival is? A hint of jealousy, perhaps, clouds my judgement, but it is I, Jon Dilworth, who has chosen to be here: in more ordinary circumstances, my mother and I inhabit a very fine second floor flat in Tufnell Park, thankyou very much.

Perhaps I should explain how I came to be here: I do not know Digby well, but I like to perform the odd favour to the youngsters. This blogging lark certainly seems to be catching on, and I need to bring myself up to date: I am 54- by no means beyond the call of duty, but nonetheless susceptible to being left behind. For those new to my work, I am the author of the now-classic Smoking Cigarettes, Wearing Hats and Talking Rubbish: A Beginners’ Guide to New Wave Film, as well as the unfairly overlooked Naked Men, Naked Men: The Cinema of Ken Russell, and my 30-year career has taken me across Europe in the services of many a publication; I have supped with the great and the good and hobnobbed with the most foul-mouthed of industry figures from Los Angeles to Lahore. And yet hear I am in Leicester Square, depressed by the knowledge that it is only my duty to you, readers, that keeps me from slipping into the Underground Station and taking the last Northbound train, from escaping the White Lightning, the pale fire and the students outside my tent who won’t shut up about something called ‘dub step’.

But I shall stay put. Until the Police force me off, I shall stay unwaveringly loyal to you; I shall brave the drunks, the fools, the cold- the dirt collected on the mean streets of W1 will on its own keep me stuck into my cinema seat. I shall live to review, and review to live. Unless, that is, Hernandez gets there before me.

As for the film… well, I’m afraid to admit that I didn’t see Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie because I was asleep and when I did try to enter the cinema, the security guards told me that vagrants weren’t welcome. More fool them! By all accounts, though, it wasn’t quite Citizen Kane. 

Anyway, I must go- I must call my Mother to make sure she’s fed the cat. I look forward to bringing you all the latest.


Jon Dilworth


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