TGIM! Hot Tub Cinema
December traditionally sees an increase in the amount of clothing worn by the young and beautiful, which is of course a total and utter shame. Thus it is with great pleasure that Hot Tub Cinema invites them all to disrobe at one of its changing – and always trendy – locations, sit back and relax with a bottle of beer and some soggy popcorn. Yum. Locating its current run in East London, the idea will be familiar to anyone who has taken the time to enjoy similar rooftop excursions, from this summer’s hugely popular Rooftop Film Club to Queen of Hoxton’s current WigWamBam. Here the film is but an element of a night out that takes in London’s flickering skyline, some complimentary champers, and of course the opportunity to get down to your skivvies and bare some flesh. Or if you’re us, hide beneath the waves and vow to renew our gym membership.
Founding hot-tubber Asher Charman lays down the genesis for the brilliant idea: “We wanted to watch a movie, we wanted to use the hot tub, and we just thought why don’t we project it out the kitchen window onto a bed sheet on the washing line and see what the results will be, and that was how it was born. About a year ago we thought you know what, it’s about time, we’ve over grown our garden here, we’ve got three or four tubs, it’s time to take the step up and here we are now.” Quite why Charman had three or four hot tubs lying around, we’re desperate to know. Also, the image of friends huddled together in a back garden watching a film projected onto a bed sheet sounds suspiciously perfect and magical, so we’ll comfort ourselves with the knowledge that its transition to London’s rooftops might have lost a bit of the intimacy. If that sounds terribly bitter, it’s only because our own efforts at outdoor home-cinema were trials of unmitigated disaster. Moving on…
A night simmering in 40-degree water will set you back around £20 for a spot amongst the great unwashed (ew) OR you can embrace the elite nature of true hot tubbing and splash £200 with some friends on a basin of your own. Hot Tub Cinema’s website is unclear on whether the premium group experience allows for a different set of rules concerning hot tub behaviour or etiquette, but we assume if you book an entire six-person tank the freedom to act like Tony Montana on his birthday is all but encouraged. Swimwear can range from demure onesies to scandalous speedos, and the party goes on long after the credits finish rolling. It all adds up to a rather strange equation in which cinema is something of a remainder, but we are talking about hot tubs, people. There’s a small, film-y part of us that thinks perhaps Hot Tub Cinema is a bridge too far, taking the populist – but still firmly cinematic – nature of London’s outdoor movie-going renaissance and defiling it with boobs, bums and bros. Aside from the pages getting wet, how can we consult our Halliwells when this is happening:
Hot tubs are awesome. Perhaps TOO awesome. They are as good as, if not better than films. The combination of the two screams genius, especially in the cosy environs of a friend’s back garden. Watching films and chillaxing amid a bubbly jet-stream of warmth are both communal activities, but we’re just a little bit unsure of how comfy we’d be telling a half-naked cityboy to be quiet because we can’t hear Coach Carter. The films shown are a closely guarded secret, and you won’t know what’s on until it starts. It probably won’t be Coach Carter, but it won’t matter because you’ll be in a fucking HOT TUB drinking Hoegaarden, revelling after a hard day’s work. Not a thing wrong with that, but our tendency to err on the side of cinema makes us feel that Hot Tub Cinema is just too much of a good thing. How can our humble medium contend with the liquid caress of a top-of-the-line hot tub brimming with bikinis, booze and buff dudes? We must bow our heads and submit that simply, it cannot.
We’re not saying don’t go along, and must categorically state that we are 100% PRO-HOT TUB. A seasonal frolic of this nature should never be dismissed. But in grabbing at outdoor cinema’s coattails, Hot Tub Cinema relocates the fundamental appeal of the very idea, and the poor old movies seem like a pruned-up afterthought. Hot Tub Cinema promises a gaggle of ‘Hot Tub-loving movie buffs’, and God knows the world needs a forum for such people. It’s true, we express doubt at their claim, and think perhaps the whole venture is more an impossible dream than a tangible reality. But we do salute the idea, and imagine a future spent exclusively in the confines of roving hot tubs, all with built-in home cinemas and champagne dispensers. Until then, you can book tickets here – we’re about to. Because HOT TUB.