I dived into the film Contagion feet first, even though on paper it looked like it would be a rough ride. A realistic movie about a disease that sweeps across the world and kills million in weeks is not the type of fare one savours ahead of a cold and flu ravaged winter.
As with all of Soderbergh’s work, what exemplifies the production is the quality of the performances. Many of the ensemble cast have never been better. Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t put a foot wrong as the unfaithful wife and Matt Damon is brilliant as her husband while Jude Law, reuniting the trio from The Talented Mr Ripley, excels as a web master/conspiracy theorist.
Meanwhile, Marion Cotillard as the pioneering scientist, Kate Winslet as the doctor in charge and Lawrence Fishburne as the lead health investigator, all punch way above their weight.
Someone will win an Oscar for this movie, but exactly who is anyone’s guess.
“They’re not movie star performances,” says Matt Damon. “They're real and unadorned and not vain in any way. We all tried to make a realistic pandemic movie so rather go over the top we would do the real thing as that is more scary.”
My other gig of the day saw me spinning a few tunes at the opening of my old pal Steve Lazarides’ (the art dealer who put Banksy on the map) new pop-up art gallery/installation Minotaur. Situated in The Old Vic Tunnels, underneath London’s Waterloo Station, it runs for the next two weeks and coincides with the Frieze Art Fair.
Lazarides commissioned each artist to "create their own interpretation of the classical myth within a stunning Labyrinth installation".
I arrived at 9pm and had to fight my way through a great throng of gorgeous things all clamouring to get in. A quite fabulous affair it was; full of uber groovies, uber beauties and uber art.
One room was full of purchasable work (or as Steve would say: “Stuff you can hang over your fire”) from the Lazarides stable, such as the brilliant street artist David Chloe, Brooklyn street art collective The Faile and Portugal’s Vhils aka Alexandre Farto, who has drilled huge portraits out of the walls for his exhibit.
Added to the mêlée is a restaurant where one can enjoy a three-course dinner by top Michelin-starred chefs Nuno Mendes (Viajante, London), Matthias Schmidt (Villa Merton, Frankfurt), Juan Amador, (Amador, Mannheim) for a mere £75. Entry alone is £5. “I really didn’t want to charge for entrance,” says Lazarides. “But it’s cost so much to put on, we have to.”