Tinkler, tailor, soldier, stalker

Ahhhh. It was the big date night last night, and what a night it was.

First, the film; if you haven’t seen Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, what are you waiting for? Think of Spooks with the volume turned down, the colour washed-out and the most amazingly authentic 1970s set design you’ve ever seen. Or Life on Mars without the in-your-face Mancunian joke factory. Then stick my beloved Gary Oldman in it (career-defining performance, etc), introduce the beautifully played-out themes of betrayal, love, loyalty, male-bonding and espionage, and add Tom Hardy and Bernard Cribbins (aka Benedict Cumberbatch) for some less-weathered eye candy. Finish with a soupcon of ACTING (without saying much) and a side dressing of mind-tingling tension, and you’re there.

I shouldda been a film critic right?

Second, the outfit. Thanks to advice from selected readers, I went with the vampish lace dress (eBay) and red tights, adding a vintage top that has been doing the rounds between a group of friends for years. My partner said I looked like I was in a full-on vampire fan’s costume. His point being….?

And thirdly, to Gaz. We sat in the second row (second row!) which meant that when the chairs came out for the Q&A, with Oldman, director Tomas Alfredson (of Let The Right One In fame – vamp central!) and producer Robyn Slovo, I was about 8ft away from the great man. As I said on Twitter after the event, I could have got to him before security could have got to me. My knees were jelly. I didn’t ask any questions; I sat and smiled (beamed) like a loon.

Gary was very sweet, quite nervous by the looks (that’ll be my sparkly top). He wore a mish-mash of an outfit – navy blue safari jacket, black cravat with a white animal (dog or horse) print, cream chinos, red striped socks (yes I was that close) and brown brogues. He has his Commissioner Gordon ‘tache on the go and was in very serious actor mode. Not much sign of that infamous ‘geezer’ personality. But we did see glimpses of it when he told funny stories about John Le Carre’s reaction to the film (“he said he was ‘chuffed as fuck'”) and being staked-out by “the filth” during his open air swimming scenes on Hampstead Heath. He looked much older, more serious, thoughtful, shy, and quite tiny. He was lovely.

It wasn’t the kind of do where you could take pics or ask for autographs, even though he hung around chatting to people after the event (I stood RIGHT NEXT TO HIM). Gazza doesn’t hold with the celeb stuff so I didn’t want to embarrass him or myself by begging for a photo for the blog – and I was way too shy/starstruck to talk to him. When a man is (probably) going to be lauded by his peers at awards season, he’s got bigger fish to fry. But he did beam in our direction when he breezed into the cinema, and I’ll be taking that treasured second to the memory bank.

Give that man an Oscar. He sure deserves one.

Written by Johanna Payton