It’s rare that I’m lost for words, but even two hours after a long journey home, I’m still trying to decompress, and absorb the events of the evening. It’s all a bit difficult to explain too – because, you see, this evening I returned to 1985. Not the 1985 I remember either – I returned to 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana – the setting for the TV show “Stranger Things”.
My eldest daughter and I were bought tickets for Christmas – to visit the “Starcourt Mall” at a secret location in London on the 12th January. Although we instantly knew where the name of the location came from, the rest remained a mystery over the intervening days – only knowing that we would have to dress in period clothes.
I’m trying really hard not to break any confidences, expose any secrets, or ruin surprises for anybody that might stumble upon this post in the coming days – while the Starcourt Mall is still open for business.
Imagine walking through a door into 1985, and into the world of a beloved television series. Imagine cutting yourself off from the world you have always known, and diving headlong into perhaps the most confounding shared experience you might ever try to describe – shaking your head as events unfold around you, and only realising after leaving that from the moment you walked in you were on the stage – that you were a part of it.
You pick it apart afterwards, you try to deconstruct the experience with those that shared the secret with you, and you smile. The most interesting thing? You have no photographic proof – only memories, and stories.
For several hours this evening, the Hawkins of 1985 came to life, drew us in, erased the lines between fiction and reality, and left us stunned, and struggling to decompress for some time afterwards.
Secret Cinema is a wonderful, wonderful thing.