Tag Archives: Alexandra Palace

Grease is the word. A night at the Drive-In at Ally Pally

Last Friday, my sister and I and our children, A, J and Z all went to the Drive-In at Alexandra Palace to see Grease. We were all so ridiculously excited about going, so much so that Z caught an early train back from Paris, C arranged with work to finish early and A and J (who were both only coming home for a week) made sure to be back in London. And, luckily for us, it did not disappoint.

Drive In box office 2

The box office – Rush

When I heard that the Rooftop Film Club was setting up a Drive-In at Ally Pally (which is just up the road from me), I knew that I was going to have to go and, when I saw that they were showing Grease, well, euh (that may be the first Grease-ism of many – I’ll try to resist), it was a no brainer. Both of these are a part of my childhood, I don’t really remember the Drive-In in Antigua (it must have closed by the time I was six) but I have a sense of it and I first saw, and fell in love with, Grease when we still lived there (we left when I was seven). I remember people being astonished by Sandy’s skintight trousers, wondering how in the hell she got them on and whether in fact they were painted on. Ah…happy days.

Drive In projector

Popcorn anyone? Though there were rollerskating hosts and hostesses serving snacks (including popcorn) this here is a Popcorn Projector and NOT a popcorn vending machine.

J and I had actually been to the Drive-In the week before to see Rush (what a good film, still not a fan of Formula 1 but I’m perhaps a bit less of a hater than I was) and on that night there’d been a balls up with the catering (think the organisers were somewhat let down) so I decided that I’d best do a little catering of my own and what better than a Twinkie. After a quick search on Google, I found a recipe that didn’t need lots of ingredients I’d never even heard of (let alone got) and A and I set to making us some twinkies. I kept the recipe exactly the same for the Twinkies but substituted golden syrup for the corn syrup in the filling and WOW, it was delicious.

Making the twinkie moulds

Making the Twinkie moulds.

Twinkie batter

A bubbly and light, vanilla infused batter.

Twinkies for baking Twinkies baked

Before and After

Twinkie eating


Unfortunately for us we’d started on the Twinkies a little late and we JUST couldn’t get them filled in time so had to head off without them! Doh. And, because I was baking up to the last possible moment, I didn’t have time to dress up appropriately (was planning a Rizzo get-up) and ended up having to go dressed in an indoors only outfit. Good job all we had to do was sit in our car then!

Pink Ladies

Absolutely loved seeing these Pink Ladies (though the effort they’d put in did make me wish that I’d planned my time a bit better!).

The Drive-In was in one of the out of the way car parks at Ally Pally and by 8pm (showtime) it was packed full of cars and I swear, all of those cars were full of people as excited as we were. The atmosphere was fantastic. The catering issues had been dealt with, out with the wine and beer (yes really!?) and in with the hotdogs, burgers and jerk chicken??…not quite Drive-In traditional but good, nonetheless.

Buying food is a serious business

The serious business of buying burgers.

Cheerleader Sandy

Urgh…this is one of my favourite scenes – if I’m talking about Grease (which I don’t do THAT often), a re-enactment of this scene always comes in to it replete with excessively salivary lips.

We talked all the way through the film, except for where we were saying the lines or singing along. There is something really great about how relaxed you feel in the (dis)comfort of your own car – you experience the film in a completely different way. I mean…Would you pull this crap with a normal cinema (Grease-ism)? Borrowed from my daughter’s Instagram, this is what it was like for almost all of the film.

As the final track of the film ‘We Go Together’ played out, the Pink Ladies and several other members of the audience (revellers) could be seen dancing around towards the front of the car park and C and I got out of the car to do a little shoo-bop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom of our own. Cars flashed their lights and honked their horns and as we all drove out, I got the feeling we were all losing control (Grease-ism) coz the power the Drive-In was supplying…was ELECTRIFYING. WOW. Hmmm…I think I oughta stop here.

What a great night out. The Drive-In experience worked for me for both a film that I’d not seen before and one that I knew like the back of my hand. If you can get a ticket, definitely go (it’s at Brent Cross for a few more days) while you have the chance.

Getting ready to rumble

Obligatory red cups – models’ own (as are the funny pouts).

The Brent Cross Drive-In is on until the 27th April 2014 and it’s looks as though they’re going out with a corker…….GREASE!!







Ally Pally Fireworks display

I went and watched the Alexandra Palace fireworks display from a great vantage point, just one block along from Ferme Park Road the view was incredible. Now, of course, you don’t get the same atmosphere as you would if you actually bought a ticket and rocked up early to the park to take in all the extra entertainment that had been put on (in truth, it never even occurred to me that you’d need to buy a ticket in advance. Doh.) But…I didn’t mind. I went with child number one and we met up with a few of her friends. A bought a couple of packets of sparklers on the way up to meet S and they really made the evening.

Unfortunately I don’t have any good photos of the fireworks as my camera phone wasn’t up to getting photos of quality and distinction (sorry that’s a play on a B.E.F. title, Music of Quality and Distinction) from that distance and in that light. I did however manage to capture this….

A clutching her sparklersA proudly clutching her sparklers and munching on salt and vinegar crisps, or as she used to say..vig-enar…heh heh

This is meant to be me with the fireworks in the backgroundThat funny lighting behind me???..That’s a really quite impressive firework.

Sparkler fun 5 Sparkler fun 2 Sparkler fun 1 Sparkler fun3 Sparkler greedSomeone’s being a bit greedy here. For some reason A decided to light all the remaining sparklers at once, I think with a view to sharing them out, but it was so windy that none of us could get close enough to take them off of her.

Sparkler Pom PomsA doing an impression of a cheerleader.

After the fireworks had finished, A headed into Crouch End with her friends and I ambled back to my old house to make supper. As D had already eaten I decided to try out the one pot pasta that I’d seen on both The Londoner’s blog and on Rachel Phipp’s blog (yes, I know, I’ve mentioned both of those blogs in this and my previous post – well, they’re good blogs and I read them most days).

One pot spaghetti rawI added spaghetti, peas, tomatoes, thinly sliced carrots, bay leaf, thyme (it’s all that I had), mushrooms, chilli, a splosh of olive oil AND a knob of butter, and…a stock cube. I added cold water, brought it to the boil uncovered and then covered it, boiling for five or so minutes. I then took the lid off and boiled and stirred for another five minutes or so, until almost all of the liquid was gone – and I was left with a glistening sauce for my throw-together supper.

One pot spaghetti cookedBuried under a generous blanket of grated parmesan, it really was delicious. So simple, so easy, so cheap and easy and convenient. This definitely ought to be in the busy person’s repertoire.

Update – Jan, 2014 – the one pot pasta recipe originated, I believe, here – Martha Stewart. I read the post by The Londoner and the one by Rachel Phipps though and referred to none of them when making my supper. Have just been reading about good crediting form on blog posts so thought I’d best pop that in!