We admit it. On our way into the office this morning, we strode straight past this savvy ad for Charlie Brooker’s latest Black Mirror episode.
After all, retro-style pop-ups flogging 80s vinyls and cooler-than-thou zines and tees, aren’t exactly a rare sight in Old Street station.
Only later on did the penny drop: Bandersnatch is the eponymous name of the new adventure Netflix episode, in which a young developer battles mental demons, while adapting a sci-fi novel into a game.
It’s set in 1984 — a possible nod to the George Orwell dystopia.
The stunt is reminiscent of sightings last year, when a retro WH Smith materialised in Croydon — along with a throwback Wimpy’s, Pizza Hut and Chelsea Girl. Except, these were sets for Bandersnatch filming, whereas Old Street’s pop-up seems to be essentially a 3D billboard — partly designed to lure writers into excitedly publishing articles on their websites… oh, DAMN YOU, BROOKER!
“Do you know if it ever opens?” one passer-by asked us, keen to buy one of the t shirts hanging behind the counter. But Brooker works in mysterious ways, and we’re guessing that this sign hasn’t budged all day:
More billboards advertising the fictional games Bandersnatch, Valdack’s Revenge and gaming company Tuckersoft can be found on nearby Leonard Street.
Like every episode of Black Mirror, Bandersnatch is an unsettling concept, perhaps exacerbated this time, given that the viewer is handed the narrative reins. Yet one thing here troubles us more than anything else. This spelling of stationery:
Grammar blunder or yet another Brooker easter egg, we wonder? Almost certainly the latter.