I watched the Throne, but where was Kanye West?

I braved the cold to see Kanye West at a secret screening of his new video in east London. My reward? Frostbite and footage of a panther projected on to a wall

Shoreditch High Street Station, 5pm. Underneath a freezing sky, 100 or so bloggers, paparazzi and underemployed scions of the creative industries huddle on the pavement expectantly. We are here for – actually why are we here? No one is really sure; the only certainty is it involves a "guerrilla screening" of Niggas in Paris, the new music video from Kanye West and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne project. We're really starting to take the piss with the word "guerrilla" at this stage. It's difficult to know what the Tamil Tigers would make of the scene. At the very least you'd have to buy them a frozen yoghurt and a flat white and pat them on the shoulder reassuringly.

Jump back half an hour and 10 self-loathing hacks and chirpy Kanye fans are on the wildest of goose chases. A few of the latter have been given mysterious print-outs reading "KW JZ … ogaj eht fo dlihc … 4:45." An illuminati logo crowns the Dan Brown-esque puzzle – this seems about Kanye's level – and if you read the main phrase backwards it reads "Child of the Jago", a shop five minutes away. It is now 4.40pm. Maybe the video screening is just a decoy, right? Maybe Kanye is going to show up, and will be handing out diamond-encrusted casts of his own face at the secret location? We scoot around the corner. There's a gaggle of people outside Child of the Jago, but the guy working inside has no idea what we're talking about; we gaze the shop up and down looking for more clues. This is the worst episode of Sherlock ever.

All afternoon Twitter has been ablaze with the sincerity Shoreditch – and this stunt – deserve: Kanye has been spotted shopping in Dalston Argos! He's eating at the Nandos on Kingsland Road! He just nicked the last pool table at Efes! He's playing a secret gig at Chariots Roman Spa! He's going to announce he's flattered to even be in consideration for the England manager position, but he can't possibly make any further comment until he's spoken to the board! Back at the tube station, as 5pm approaches, the crowd has swelled to absorb more half-interested passersby, shivering in Russian hats and Day-Glo trainers, multi-coloured mittens wrapped tight around take-out coffee cups. "Reuters is here", my friend says, with a laugh like a death rattle.

And then, the main event, the moment we've all been waiting for: a video, projected on to a wall. It's all right. A kaleidoscope of baby blue lights, strobes, and fans waving their hands in the air like they just don't care. And, because it's vaguely connected with Paris, there's Notre Dame cathedral, and there's … a panther. Obviously. In Shoreditch, hands are in pockets rather than in the air. One fan turns to me and shrugs. It's all right. Niggas in Paris is one of the better tracks on Watch the Throne, but the lyrics are just awful. Among the lines blaring out tinnily on to the station forecourt – "Doctors say I'm the illest/ Cause I'm suffering from realness" (seek a second opinion Kanye), "we ain't even s'posed to be here" (Jay, I know the feeling) – it's the little mid-song clip from the ice-skating buddy-comedy Blades of Glory that is punishingly apt:

Jon Heder: I don't even know what that means!

Will Ferrell: No one knows what it means, but it's provocative.


Dan Hancox

The GuardianTramp

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