‘Press to call’

BFI Southbank is running a David Lynch film series all throughout February, and on that occasion, I went to see the spectacular The Elephant Man. Tempted as I am to book tickets for every single Lynch film they’re screening, I unfortunately don’t have the financial means for such extravagant immersion in culture – unless they do decide to do a Twin Peaks marathon (preferably omitting the last half of season 2), in which case I’d happily dish out. Revival houses intrigue me – the experience of seeing classics and independent films in a cinema theatre is, to me, radically different from going to a normal cinema. Rather than just process the entertainment aspects of a film, I find myself analysing and appreciating the deeper, cinematic qualities of it (and nothing is as excellent to analyse than Lynch). It also makes me feel like a pretentious art fart, which I don’t mind at all.

The point of this post, though, wasn’t to gush about Lynch and revival houses, but to point out a stupidly misplaced and mislabelled button. After the film screening, and after risking our lives wading through the horrible, adverse weather conditions of the snow storm tormenting the Thames and all of London (…), we went to have a late dinner at The Terrace at Le Méridien Hotel in Piccadilly Circus. Satiated and rolling towards the lifts to exit the restaurant, we pushed the button next to the lift and waited patiently for it to arrive. Thinking it was rather unusual that right above the button, it said ‘Press to call’, and that it was embedded in this out-of-place, engineering-looking speaker box, I soon realised the actual lift button must have been somewhere else.

Not that I think our hunter-gatherer ancestors pressed lift buttons in their daily endeavours and that lift button pressing behaviour is evolutionarily coded in our genes, but I daresay pushing that button on the left, in fact the only button in visible proximity to the left, would be an automatic, natural action by most people.

We had to step back 2 meters to find the actual lift buttons on this outgrowth of the wall:

Immediately obvious, isn’t it?

On a sidenote, the food at The Terrace Restaurant was terrific. I had the mixed grill with broccoli and pine nuts – and while I do quite love broccoli, I’d never think they could be as tasty as the broccoli-pine nut combination. It was as if they were creamy without actually being creamy (which, given my Asian genes, is a welcome addition to my diet).

The mystery of what was supposed to have been called by pressing the conspicuous not-a-lift-button-button still torments me.


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