It's rare I venture out to Leicester Square, which is often swarming with drunken louts and aggressive touts. Or, as happened last night, with screaming girls awaiting the arrival of Robert Pattinson for some premiere.
Making a sharp detour to Odeon West End, I attended the premiere of the BBC production of The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, for the opening night of the 24th London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. Full of swaggering dandies and extravagant haircuts. And that was just the audience. The film, starring Maxine Peake as the titular character, an extraordinary 19th century Yorkshire noblewoman, is great bawdy fun, full of heaving bosoms and a bit of bodice ripping. Quite racy for the BBC. Can't imagine what Outraged in Tunbridge Wells will make of it, when it airs on BBC2 later in the year.
But, of course, on these occasions, it's all about the people-watching, both at the screening and the after-party. Spotted: Sarah Waters, Charlotte Cooper, and The Raincoats. But, the real action was in the Ladies toilets at the Odeon, where Maxine Peake and other cast members repaired after the film. Simultaneously fixing her make-up and signing autographs, Ms. Peake tutted that she still can't get used to seeing herself on the big screen. Meanwhile, her co-stars patiently waited in the queue. Finding myself between Miss Walker and Miss Belcombe, I shook hands with them both and complimented them on a job well done.
It's not often a character's hesitant declaration: "But, I-I-I don't want to marry" is greeted with cheers. Jane Austen's characters turned finding a husband into a sport and congratulated themselves on this achievement, but for Lister's circle, remaining unmarried was the happy ending.