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Wednesday 21 August 2013

Rooftop Olympics at Queen of Hoxton - The Drowned Man

Saturday 6th July - Another ridiculously late write up, this time for Rooftop Olympics at the Queen of Hoxton, organised by the Social Athletics Club.  I scrambled together a ragtag bunch of athletes (Will, Cath, Ali and Seb), and we rocked up to Shoreditch for 1pm, vaguely dressed in retro sports gear.  By that I mean Will had long socks on, Cath and I had ties around our heads, Ali was wearing a dress, and Seb was for some reason wearing jeans on one of the hottest days of the year.  We wrestled with many team name ideas (The Cathletes, Underdressed and Overweight) but eventually settled on Seb & Co. - get it? No one else did, and we were even mocked publicly by the organisers for coming up with such a rubbish name. Good start.  Best team name went to the Clitoris Allsorts (closely followed by One Erection). After a £40 (WTF?) jug of Pimms, I regrettably gave Seb a spare pair of shorts, and the competition got under way.  I will let the photos tell most of the story. First up - "Beer Pong".

This wasn't really beer pong, as there were no real beer forfeits.  You just had to drink half a pint at some point during the game.  After a couple of minutes of illegal blocking from the other team, we lost by one point - bitter much?  As long as those blokes in the blue Orlando tshirts didn't win the whole thing...  Next up - "Staring Contest"

This was a funny one - we all stood in a line opposite the other team, and it didn't really matter if you beat someone, it all came down to the last two standing.  I was gifted the win after the girl opposite me was judged to have blinked - she didn't blink.  Event No.3 - Rock, Paper, Scissors

I didn't put this one in inverted commas, as it was actually Rock, Paper, Scissors.  5 v 5, quick rotations - it was actually damn exciting.  I had mindgames in the queue with my opponent and lost nearly every time. Thankfully, everyone else did pretty well and we won comfortably in the end.  NEXT - Table Football.

Another comfortable win for Sebastian & Co (got it yet?), even though the eponymous Seb was at the bar getting beers for the whole event.  Ali and Cath turned out to be demon defenders - who knew?  Final Event - "Frying Pan Ping-Pong"

This turned out to be ping pong, I'm not sure where the frying pans got to.  We wrapped this one up pretty quickly to give ourselves 4 wins out of 5 events.  We were quietly confident having only lost one event by one point - who could top that? THOSE BLOODY GUYS FROM BEER PONG, THAT'S WHO.  Look at them celebrating in their perfect attire. Next year, next year...

There was one bonus event left, with a grand prize of team t-shirts.  We sent forward Ali (in a dress) and Seb (in my shorts) to take on the limbo.

Bookies favourite

What you can see above is the exact moment that Seb ripped open my shorts which have now been consigned to the bin.  Sad times.

Ali in standard limbo attire
They gave it their all, but some smaller, more flexible girl was finally announced as the winner in the end. Sebastian & Coe (right, enough clues) licked their wounds and trudged out to an off license.  Despite what you might think from my bitter comments throughout, it was a really good laugh and a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  They need to tighten up the events, as it could be even better with a bit more innovation. Scrap the staring contest, and bring in some classics like egg and spoon race, or a three legged race and I would be all over it next year.  I'll even change our team name.

Tuesday 16th July - Totally different from Rooftop Olympics and much more bizarre was my trip to see A Drowned Man : A Hollywood Fable from experimental theatre group Punchdrunk.  They have had big hits here including an interpretation of Faust, and The Masque of Red Death, but they have also received rave reviews across the pond in Boston for Sleep No More.

I won't go into any great detail about the show as it is a unique experience that I wouldn't want to spoil in any way.  What can I tell you? Punchdrunk have transformed 4 floors of an old postal office in Paddington into a living, breathing Temple Studios and its surrounding areas, with an insane attention to detail.  You are free to roam around (wearing a mask) for 3 hours, during which time you can try and follow a narrative, or simply explore the astonishing sets.  The story is loosely based on Buchner's Woyzeck but there is no need to know the plot before you go.  Don't try and stick with your friends, it will only hold you back.  It is intensely enjoyable being able to go exploring on your own, or follow right behind the actors as if you are a cameraman making your own film.  I managed to follow the main characters for most of the performance and see some key scenes, but this is not essential.  Do what you want!  I found List Leader Natalie again at the end and she had a totally different, yet joyful experience, as did other friends who went along.  We did both agree on one thing - wearing the masks over glasses is pretty annoying and painful so wear contacts if you can.

Don't be put off by the £39.50 price tag, it's the least they deserve for the effort that has gone in to the show. If you are feeling fancy, buy yourself a Premium ticket for £85.00 - "this will include an invitation to enter Temple Studios via the Studio Entrance, available only to a small number of guests each night, and an additional prologue to The Drowned Man, as well as a taste of Mr. Stanford's hospitality".  They have extended the run til December 31st and there are tickets for most performances still available here - I can't recommend it highly enough!  

P.S. - Please leave comments if you have been and let me know what you thought of it!


  1. I struggled with the lack of narrative in a big way. I immensely enjoyed exploring the surroundings and being able to be a ghost amongst the action. But I really had no idea as to what was happening other than what I had read as a into before hand. As such I was making the things I saw 'fit' the idea of what i thought should be happening rather than seeing a story play out. this left me feeling a bit lost at times. A little more dialog or even a way to make people see key events that would fall into place towards the end would have meant I left feeling fulfilled, rather than smiling but confused!

  2. Hey James, yeah a couple people have said the same to me already. I tried to remember the faces of the main characters in the lift at the beginning which helped me out later on, and once I found any of the main 3, I stuck with them. As there are some big set pieces, you can feel hard done by if you don't catch them all. Maybe everyone should be given a second visit for £10 to sort out any loose ends!

  3. Great Article Thank You!!
    Looking for the best rooftop bars in Shoreditch? Golden Bee has the best rooftop terrace and garden bar for the summer evenings and a cold winter nights.


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