A maximum-security stay in London's pop-up Alcatraz
By Ethan Bilby
LONDON (Reuters) - As the hours approach towards incarceration, the nerves begin to fray. The few belongings packed in preparation for a stint in the big house seem paltry: a towel, a book, and even a roll of toilet paper.
But you can't prepare to think like a prisoner.
"Inmates" at London's Hotel Alcatraz, lose everything they've brought with them when they walk in the door, even the clothes off their backs, as they enter a mock-up of the notorious U.S. island prison made famous by inmates such as Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly.
The hotel may be a publicity stunt for the British premiere of "Lost"-creator J.J. Abrams' latest science fiction television series, "Alcatraz," but guests were quickly disabused of the notion that this is anything other than a night in the slammer.
Mugshots were taken. Uniforms issued. Belongings surveyed. Pockets were checked for contraband.
A guard sitting at a manual typewriter stared up on a Wednesday night and asked for a name.
"Here in Alcatraz, you will address the guards as sir!" he growled.
The Alcatraz experience followed the role of the "escape-proof" original -- the prison system's prison -- where those who didn't obey the rules were sent to break their will on an island in San Francisco Bay, California. Continued...