All week, we’ve been previewing autumn’s most promising cultural fixtures… in a reassuring alphabetical order. It’s the A-Z, not the A-S, though, so join us for our final installment to complete your season’s briefing.
A chance to tune in and wig out: Aussie five-piece Tame Impala do mind-bending guitar music like no other band on the planet, and are almost single-handedly making the psych-rock genre cool again. If indeed it ever was. Fans of excellent 2010 album ‘Innerspeaker’ are still accumulating, making this gig – in support of upcoming second record ‘Lonerism’, due in October – one extremely hot (and loud) ticket.
The Tiger Lillies
When Shakespeare was penning ‘Hamlet’, it’s doubtful he imagined that one day it would be performed by the world’s foremost neo-Brechtian-post-punkfalsetto-squeezebox-gypsy-cabaretthree-piece band. But that’s exactly what’s happening this September, when The Tiger Lillies present a novel take on the tragedy that involves circus, giant puppets, video projection and singer Martyn Jacques taking on a Yorickish jester-corpse persona.
Underground Rebel Bingo
The antithesis of a quiet night down your local Mecca, Rebel Bingo takes an OAP pastime and gives it a hardcore twist. The number callers are potty-mouthed bingo babes, and the audience is encouraged to dance while drawing all over each other with Sharpies. The Rebel crew will be getting their balls out again for two nights of raucous revelry this autumn.
‘Valentino: Master of Couture’
Strike a pose. No, seriously, do – because this exhibition celebrating the life and work of haute couture designer Valentino Garavani gives visitors the opportunity to strut their stuff down a 60-metre catwalk. And once you’ve stopped voguing and showing off, you can get an eyeful of more than 130 of the Italian genius’s dresses that have been showcased by style icons including Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Jackie Onassis. Somerset House has established itself as something of a specialist for fashion and design shows, and this looks like another strong outing.
‘Friendship never ends’ declared the Spice Girls back in 1997, and though Posh, Ginger, Baby and Mels B and C have gone some way towards challenging that contention over the last 15 years, all five are firmly united behind this jukebox musical. Produced by exclamation-mark-happy ‘Mamma Mia!’ maestro Judy Craymer, with a book by Jennifer Saunders, and based around the music of a band who, lest scoffers forget, shifted 65 million records, the commercial potential for this contemporary comedy musical about ‘family, friendship and trying to stay true to yourself’ is enormous.
‘War and Peace’
Three concerts exploring contemporary responses to World War II, in which Vladimir Jurowski conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra, then the Russian National Orchestra, then both of them together. The works include Britten’s ‘Sinfonia da Requiem’, Walton’s Viola Concerto (soloist Lawrence Power), excerpts from Prokofiev’s opera ‘War and Peace’ and Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No 6, ending with Shostakovich’s Symphony No 7 (‘Leningrad’) which was premiered in 1942, while the city was under siege by the Nazis and thousands of its inhabitants were dying every day from starvation.
Okay, we know this is technically your A-Z of autumn, but if the shops are already stocking Christmas trees, we can safely talk winter. Hyde Park’s seasonal makeover into the pricy-but-pretty German-style Christmas market that is Winter Wonderland returns this November. Expect the obligatory ice rink, more rides, and lots of places to gulp down mulled wine and chomp on a bratwurst.
X-treme (ahem) pressure at The Red Bull Culture Clash
Soundsystem culture teams up with all the best aspects of a gameshow for an epic battle of the beats this November. Four competing crews – Diplo’s Major Lazer, London grime syndicate Boy Better Know, reggae selectors Channel One and Magnetic Man with Annie Mac – each set up in a corner of the arena and fight for the crowd’s votes, with the winning crew playing until the end. Tim Westwood and Radio 1’s Gemma Cairney bring the requisite razzamatazz as hosts; Bruce Forsyth was presumably unavailable.
If bigger is better, then the Old Bengal Warehouse is one to watch. This Grade II-listed former spice warehouse (originally built by the East India Company) is being converted by D&D Restaurants into a mega-complex with more than 10,000 square feet of dining, drinking and retail space. There will be two restaurants in the venue (one fish, one grill), a cocktail bar, a wine shop and two terraces (one smoking, one non-smoking). In short, it’s a vast playground for London’s rebooted City slickers. Britain’s getting back on its feet again! The New Street Grill is due to open on Sept 17.
To keep up to date with what’s going on in town, see our major events calendar.