London Revolution report by Andifeel
• London Venue 1 – South Kensington
The drop pin on Madonna’s Facebook had clearly not been dropped in the right location as there were no buildings suitable for a projection at that end of Exhibition Road, so we walked the length of the road and identified one building at the side of the Science Museum, opposite the V&A Museum, which we thought would be suitable.
The first screening was interesting- we speculated whether someone would appear on the V&A Museum Balcony to project onto the side of the opposite building. Certainly at 8pm there were only a handful of Madonna fans there and no sign of anything that was about to happen.
Slowly and surely more Madonna fans arrived – maybe 200 or so by 8.35pm, when a £29 a day White Van arrived with 4 guys in it. As they unloaded we saw a case with Madonna’s name on it, so knew we were in the right place and called our Madonna friends at the other end of Exhibition Place to come and join us in the cold!
Shortly after 9am the guys in The Van fired up their Macbook and after a couple of false starts the video started playing.
Security at the adjacent building came out to see what was going on, however there was no issue as the security guard in the main building was on site ready to go. A couple of Police Support Officers also stayed to watch the screening after checking the paperwork!
Sadly it was besieged with technical difficulties as the sound dropped out many times during the screening, made worse by a loud abusive girl who kept shouting obscenities. Fortunately she was quietened by people telling her to go home.
Despite Madonna intimating that it would be a different part at each screening, the full 14 minute film was shown and was met with a polite round of applause at the end; it was now 9.30pm and the race was on to get to Venue 2 in Soho – would there be another van there ready to go?! Jump in a cab and off we went…
• Venue 2 – Soho
A swift cab ride to the heart of Londons’ gay community in Soho and it was no surprise that a sizeable crowd had gathered, including many friendly Triber and Iconer faces. A quick double vodka from the KuBar and we popped outside shortly before 10pm to see The Van arrive from venue 1 – this was a relief as it meant that we would be racing against The Van between venues, rather than racing to venues with pre-set up equipment.
The same 14 minute film was projected onto the side of Gerrard Street Car Park at the corner of Chinatown, high in the air. This time there we no sound breaks, however due to the crowd The Van had to park a little way back as such the speakers were relatively quiet for people watching the film from the front. It was great to hear Madonna’s narrative fully this time, including the full monologue from one of the MDNA Canada shows I was at.
A big cheer at the end of the screening before a sharp exit to grab a cab to get south of the river to meet friends at the Tate Modern…
• Venue 3 – Tate Modern
This was a confusing one, as no one knew quite where to expect The Van to arrive, there were less people at this screening possibly down to it being in a quieter area with less through-traffic at 11.15pm in the evening!
• Venue 4 – Shoreditch Station
And then FINALLY after a quick exit from the Tate and a brisk walk over the Millenium Bridge we hopped in our final cab to get across to Shoreditch High Street station for the final broadcast.
For me, THIS was the one to be at. Big projection onto a white background, LOUD and clear sound, and somewhere to lean LOL.
Lots of people at this screening wearing Madonna t shirts and jackets – by the time The Van arrived it was well past midnight, so a good turnout given it was in an area of London not accessible by Tube.
So what’s the official TanMan verdict?
The film is beautifully shot and directed, with poignant, brave narration and no holds barred on what Madonna is trying to achieve a revolution whereby people become more aware of how they treat fellow human beings, and stand up there and then where they see discrimination, intolerance or bullying; and the film is a great first step in launching that.
The next steps of her #SecretProjectRevolution will be interesting to watch the performances at tonight’s NYC Event, the ArtForFreedom website and what that entails, and any guidance on any specific go do’s’ that result from the events.
Madonna doesn’t need to work anymore, let alone invest her time in charitable affairs or awareness campaigns. That she is, and that she is bothering to TRY and make a difference, in my view warrant AT VERY LEAST our open eyes and hearts and attention as her fans. Anyone who was ever bullied or derided for being gay, straight, black, white, disabled anyone who can’t marry because their government doesn’t let them..anyone who can’t get an education because of their sex these people will get what she’s trying to do and no doubt be grateful.
As for criticisms? Sure, there will be people who focus on the sound not working on the first show, fans who wish she’d not preach and just make music, fans who think it’s taken forever to get the kick off of Secret Project ready and claim to be bored before they’ve seen it but I’d ask them to simply reflect on Madonna’s overarching message for this project : Be Nice. This is who Madonna is these days, this is how she chooses to spend her time, and she’s bothering to try and make a difference. Try to embrace what she is rather than mourn for what she isn’t.
There will also be people left confused at the lack of tangible go do’s’ after the film some people thought that the film would be it’ THE Secret Project, whereas it’s transpired that the film is the start, a kick off, with the launch and website to come. To those people I’d say live the ride the internet has built a culture for some of I need to know EVERYTHING and I need to know it NOW.
For that I respect her, and that’s why I made a mad dash around London on a cold Monday night with my friends, and I’m really glad I did.
Check out Neil’s complete gallery by clicking here.
Thanks to Neil.