The one on the left was some kind of rubber cheese and tomato, as far as I could gather. The central lump contained, I thought, tuna, and on the right was a thing containing that lumpy-moist-matter you get when you grate cheese, add it to spring onion and mayonnaise, stand back and admire your handiwork. I love that stuff. Whatever it is.
I admit I hadnt been concentrating at the sandwich table, really. It was my first ever professional preview screening, and I was far more concerned with looking like someone who should be at a screening than I was with sustenance. This was my first mistake.
Id hovered around the bar for long enough, wondering whether a real journalist would pick up a diet coke or an elderflower crush, before remembering Id seen one drinking the former only days beforehand, and deferred, so by the time I got to the sandwich table I was scared of being caught out as an interloper and, excusemeing my way between the only two people in the room who seemed to want to want to talk to each other, I grabbed the first three food objects that came to hand.
Perching on the edge of the scratchy foam sofas that lined the lobby, I looked around.
They all look very serious, I thought, film critics. All similarly perched, plate in one intelligent hand, drink in the talented other, film production notes laid across their journalistic knees and glasses pushed to the ends of their clever noses, they intimidated me silently and wildly as they nibbled on their classy sandwiches and ignored me completely.
The two who deigned to converse could be heard over the other side of the room, monopolising the crisps, horsing away about something impressive, deconstructive and clever. They dropped to a mumble.
Simultaneously, I studied the provided notes, handed to me at the door, and my sandwiches. Within seconds Id learnt that the director was big in British comedy, the co-star was a keen juggler, the lead actor was very pleased to be reprising his award-winning role, and that the cheese and onion matter seemed to have been put on a very funny bread indeed.
I pulled the plate closer to the famous Pickard schnozz. Yes, those were definitely raisins – but what was the other scent? Cinnamon? That seemed wrong. I poked the bread a little, sending the sandwich scooting to the far side of its paper boat. It was rock hard. The movement told me that.
Ive studied sandwiches for years – but realised I couldnt get further into the investigation without trying to eat the investigated. Throwing the Diet Coke into my bag, journalistically (still closed, Ive watched carefully and noticed journalists are clever that way), I picked up the quarry, and bit in.
Ciabatta, I think, is not made to be chopped into bite sized sandwiches. Particularly – though by no means exclusively – stale ciabatta that has been sitting in a warm room for about an hour. With a soft filling.
As my teeth hit the hard, hard bread, they simply brought the edges together, leaving me with a dry mouth full of splinters of crust, nubbles of burnt raisin, and a growing realisation that cheese and onion gloop was engaged in some sort of joyful birthing process on the far size of my (now-wedge-shaped) sandwich.
There was a problem. Professionally speaking, I was now in the perfect position to report that the film had been made on a budget of orange cheddar, and had been filmed in the exclusive spring onions of mayonnaise smear.
Further grapples with my sandwich platter ensured that if anyone ever wanted to know the career details of the leading lady, they would discover that as well as appearing in several leading European comedies, she had also had extensive blobs of tuna and looked forward to working with tomato drop drop drop and an Emmy.
When we were summoned to the screening room and told apologetically that we couldnt take food in, I almost cried with relief.
An hour and a half of an apparent comedy flickered before the eyes of a room full of clever, stern-faced-critic-types and one hungry blogger.
Several days after I had an out-of-the-blue phone call from a PR.
HellothisisTracyfromDoobedoomedia?! Just wanted your thoughts on the screening really briefly? Did you like it? Did you not like it?
Well. I said. I cant be overly positive, Im afraid, Trace. Which is a shame, as Im usually terribly keen on that cheesey-spring-onionny-mayonnaise stuff