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34 excellent things to do in London this week

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If your new year’s resolution was to have more fun, then you’ve come to the right place! Style hunters can check out fabulous knitwear at the Fashion & Textile Museum, adventurous diners can dig into a five-course feast designed by The Art of Dining and indie lovers can bop along to great sounds at a four-day music fest. Here are all the finest ways to have fun this week.

Fun things to do

Farewell to Christmas, Geffrye Museum, Tuesday, free. Wave goodbye to Christmas at this traditional celebration on Twelfth Night which takes place in the Geffrye Museum’s pretty gardens.

Pillow Cinema, Former Shoreditch Underground Station, Tue-Thu, £20 per bean bag or £10 each shared between two people, £15 per bean bag earlybird or £7.50 each shared between two people. The aquatic movie mavericks behind Hot Tub Cinema have conjured up another full-fat fun filmic concept. The vibe for 2015: hot tubs are out. Snuggling up surrounded by pillows, on the other hand, is so, so in.

Don’t Move, Improve!, New London Architecture, Tue-Thu. free. Planning an extension or conversion? This exhibition of entries in New London Architecture’s annual awards is worth checking out. Awards include ‘Most Innovative Home Extension’, ‘Best Historic Intervention’ and ‘Most Cost Effective’.

Philosophy Breakfast, Le Pain Quotidien Canary Wharf, Wednesday, £30. The School of Life has created a little broadsheet – Le Flâneur – for customers of Le Pain Quotidien, which encourages a vivid imagination and provides food for thought and to introduce it, founding members Rowland Smith and Mark Vernon will host a Philosophy Breakfast. Booking essential.

Rethinking the Urban Landscape, The Building Centre, Thursday, free. This exhibition looks at how landscape architecture can help provide solutions to urban issues such as flooding and public health, showcasing contemporary UK projects from the Olympic Park to community allotments.

Winter Warmer at the Fashion & Textile Museum, Borough, Thursday, £12. Take a tour of the exhibition’s fabulous vintage knitwear spanning 1920s Chanel jersey, a 1930s woollen swimsuit and conceptual pieces from Comme des Garçon, then warm up with seasonal soups or stews, and hot drinks.

Hidden City – The Enchanted Mirror, V&A, all week, £40 per team of up to four. If you feel bold enough to gather your most trusted companions and to take on the witch’s challenge now is your chance, for masters of the clue-solving treasure trail Hidden City have resurrected it. Depending on the number of taverns you are enticed by along the way it will take between two and four hours to complete the three-mile route to the mirror.

Southbank Centre Winter Festival, Southbank Centre, all week, free. Alongside its array of festive shows and performances the Southbank Centre will be celebrating the coldest season with a fistful of fun pop-ups and activities, and this is the last week to catch ’em.

…or check out more events happening in London this week.

Redemption

Eating and drinking 

Redemption, Fairly Square, all week. Back by popular demand, Redemption is taking up a month long residency at Fairly Square, serving up mocktails and vegan food for those looking for an alcohol-free start to the new year.

Gone Camping, The Pickle Factory, Wed-Thu, £55. Get a breath of fresh air and a sense of adventure at this pop-up dining experience from The Art of Dining, who have turned a shed in Bethnal Green into a Scout’s dream playground for a series of five-course feasts.

Valhalla Vodka Bar, Skylounge, Wed-Thu. Rooftop bars are for life, not just for summer. The one on top of Tower Hill’s DoubleTree Hilton Hotel has had a Nordic makeover for winter, gaining weatherproof cover, heaters, sheepskin throws and hot drinks to keep visitors cosy.

Snaps & Rye, Westbourne Park. Scandinavian cooking has been a big deal here in London for a few years, but much of it has been Swedish in origin or orientation. Snaps & Rye is Danish. You’d have to be well versed in the region’s cuisines to spot the finer points of difference, but whatever the national origin, the result is sensationally good.

…or see Time Out’s recommended restaurants.

Kraken

Comedy

Kraken, Soho Theatre, Tue-Thu, £10. Officially our favourite comedy show of 2014. Fact. New Zealand mime artist Trygve Wakenshaw’s largely wordless show is an hour of joyous, physical stream-of-conciousness. Check him out and you’ll see what we mean.

Tony Law – Enter the ToneZone, Soho Theatre, all week, £15-£20. As usual, Law makes it seem as if he’s unprepared, never quite finishing a thought before gliding into the next topic. The sense of loose, ill thought-out chaos is relentlessly silly. Deliciously barmy, unpredictable lunacy. Classic ToneZone.

Bridget Christie – An Ungrateful Woman, Soho Theatre, all week, £20, £17.50 concs. Bridget Christie won the 2013 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award for her passionately political show attacking everyday sexism, ‘A Bic for Her’. Her follow-up, ‘An Ungrateful Woman’, is equally superb, if not better.

…or check out all the critics’ choice comedy shows.

Fortuna Pop's Winter Sprinter

Live Music and Nighlife

Fortuna Pop’s Winter Sprinter, The Lexington, Tue-Thu, £8.50-£10.50 (one day), £27.50 (four nights). Long-running London indie label Fortuna Pop presents four days of indie fun, with slight leaning towards spiky twee but a fine range of artists involved.

Louis Moholo-Moholo Quartet, Cafe Oto, Tue-Wed, £8-£14. A founder of South Africa’s legendary Blue Notes who relocated to London in the 1970s, Moholo is a master drummer who reels off a jazz swing as easily as African polyrhythms and free improvisations.

Joanna Gruesome, Power Lunches, Thursday, £11. Mixing up early My Bloody Valentine’s sweet fuzz with punk thrust and indie-pop jangling, the impeccably named Joanna Gruesome are an exciting four-piece from Cardiff whose debut album ‘Weird Sister’ was a real treat.

J Mascis, Scala, Thursday, £16. The grandaddy of grunge (with respect to Neil Young) takes to the stage solo again to remind us of just how many strings he has to his slacker-rock bow.

Thunder, The Waiting Room, Wednesday, free. Following some heaving parties of late, featuring underground house heroes, the Thunder cats bring down disco-based The Legendary Children (aka producers Prince Pac, Elles McFierce’em and Neil Edward) as well as local heroes like Rick Hopkins, Miles Simpson and Joseph Apted.

Tru Thoughts Showcase with Quantic + Hidden Orchestra, The Forum, Wednesday, £15.50-£17.50. Brighton beat connoisseurs Tru Thoughts return to north London to showcase the label’s talent for chill-wave, hip hop, jazz-funk and D&B.

…or take a look at all 31 live music events in London this week.

Birdman

Film

Birdman ★★★★★ Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, an actor who raked in the cash in the early 1990s as a lame pre-‘Avengers’ superhero in a blockbuster franchise (a clear nod to Keaton’s own days as Batman). He hasn’t made a Birdman film in years – but Birdman is still part of him and he’s trying to reinvent himself for a second act as a serious artist.

The Theory of Everything ★★★★☆ Hawking has often seen the dark humour in the disease that began robbing him of his muscular functions as early as his student years. ‘The Theory of Everything’ runs with that irony: this is a Hawking profile in which you’ll see the wheelchair-using, speech-impaired scientist happily rolling around his living room dressed up like a Dalek.

Enemy ★★★☆☆ Director Denis Villeneuve does an expert job in creating a yellowed, washed-out Toronto, an almost abstract place, perfect for his Hitchcockian blonds (Mélanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon) to swan around in, alluringly.

…or see all of the latest releases.

Tiger Country

Theatre

Tiger Country, Hampstead Theatre, all week, £32-£22, £15-£18 concs. Nina Raine’s play is a window onto the daily life of UK hospital medical staff. It is partly about the NHS as a whole, but it is mainly about how and why doctors and nurses do what they do, and how easy it is for their jobs to entirely consume their lives.

Tree, Old Vic, all week, £9-£16. If ever you wanted proof that the Old Vic was getting pretty hip in the dying days of Kevin Spacey’s reign, here it is: cult comic Daniel Kitson has jumped ship from his usual base of the NT to restage his ‘Waiting for Godot’ indebted 2013 play, which co-stars another brilliant comic, Tim Key.

Golem, Young Vic, all week, £10-£35. With new show ‘Golem’, the animated vistas conjured by theatre company 1927 have become so stunning that the story could be about pretty much anything. Whereas the company’s visuals have previously been mostly influenced by German Expressionism and silent movies, here animator Paul Barritt lobs in everything from ‘Metropolis’ to ‘Monty Python’ to ‘Morph’ to create an astonishing, acid yellow world that looks like ‘Nathan Barley’ reimagined by Fritz Lang.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices here.

God’s Own Junkyard

This week’s best art

Lights of Soho Presents God’s Own Junkyard, Brewer Street, all week, free. London recently lost a most remarkable resident. This exhibition returns work from Chris Bracey’s 40-year career to the part of London he started out in with a dazzling display of pieces borrowed from the artist’s gallery of signs, God’s Own Junkyard.

Pipilotti Rist: Worry Will Vanish, Hauser & Wirth, Tue-Thu, free. Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist has made a career out of creating video projections that aim to re-engage us with our inner self. And her latest mesmeric installation, ‘Worry Will Vanish’, is worth 15, 30 minutes or, heck, an hour or two of anyone’s time.

IWM Contemporary: Jane and Louise Wilson: Undead Sun, Imperial War Museum, all week, free. This is the last week to catch sisters Jane and Louise Wilson’s Great War-inspired short film. ‘Undead Sun’ has multiple layers of meaning and is testament to the time the Turner Prize-nominated artists spent in the IWM archives.

Drawn by Light: The Royal Photographic Society Collection, Science Museum, all week, £8. A biggish chunk of this show of works from the Royal Photographic Society’s collection is so astounding because it is the product of artists-turned-scientists, scientists-turned-artists, self-taught geniuses and pioneering visionaries who had more in common with brave/naïve Victorian explorers than with modern ideas of what a photographer might be, or do.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… dinner for two at the iconic BT Tower or a three-night trip to Ibiza

Grab… £13 tickets to Underground Film Club at The Vaults

Book… these gigs while you still can

Best of the blog

20 tube photos that are way better than photos of women eating food

60 superb things happening in London this January

Overheard in London: the funniest #word(s)onthestreet of 2014

New year, new prices: TfL fare changes for 2015

 

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