It takes a special kind of nerd to walk through the streets of London obsessively looking at the driver of every taxi in the hopes of spotting Tony from the Up films. That was me on Saturday during a brisk walk through the rain on my way to catch a train to Sheffield for this year’s Doc/Fest. Also in that wet walk: a brief stop at Covent Garden for a feeling of disappointment that it doesn’t look as it does in Lindsay Anderson‘s 1957 short Every Day Except Christmas. Or My Fair Lady — because I’m not just into docs. I also stopped into the original Forbidden Planet to look at Doctor Who toys and almost bought a t-shirt that says “Keep Calm and Don’t Blink.” Again, a special kind of nerd.
The last time I was in England was 1995, for an art class trip. In those days, I might have been all over the opening night festivities involving a screening of the new concert film Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets followed by Jarvis Cocker spinning records at an after party for three hours. Never mind that I didn’t officially become a Pulp fan until that fall when Different Class came out. I’ll admit that I would still have enjoyed seeing both of those highlights now, but the choices I did make on my first day of the 2014 Sheffield Doc/Fest were quite memorable just the same. I watched a film in a cave, after all.