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40 great things to do in London this week

Pablo Reig[Photo: Pablo Reig]

Get in the festive spirit this week with Carnaby Street’s Christmas Shopping Party, tuck into breakfast at Billingsgate Market or sample the best Nordic music and food at Ja Ja Ja Festival. Here are the coolest things happening in the capital over the next few days…

Fun things to do

Pillow Cinema, Former Shoreditch Underground Station, all week,  £7.50-£20. The aquatic movie mavericks behind London nightlife sensation Hot Tub Cinema have conjured up another full-fat fun filmic concept. The vibe for November 2014: hot tubs are out. Snuggling up surrounded by pillows, on the other hand, is so, so in.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Camden Walking Tour, Electric Ballroom, Tuesday, £10, £5 concs. Local music fan Alison Wise leads this 90-minute walking tour around Camden, taking in the area’s musical heritage via the stomping grounds of such bands and artists as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Ramones, The Clash, Blondie, Joy Division, Madness, The Smiths, Blur, Oasis, Pulp, The Libertines and Amy Winehouse.

Bright Club: The Zoo, The Albany, Tuesday, £5. Fancy laughing your head off while also using it to have a good old think? Bright Club turns UCL researchers into comedians for one night only. You’ll learn all about their work, and you won’t even need a Dual Award Science GCSE to find it entertaining.

Wild Life Drawing: Wolves, Proud Archivist, Tuesday, £20. Each of these classes sees a new animal strike a pose for anyone looking to brush up on their observational drawing skills. This week a show-stopping Czechoslovakian Wolf crossbreed takes to the stage. No, we’re not sure how they get them to stay still either!

Carnaby Christmas Shopping Party and Christmas Lights Switch On, Carnaby Street, Thursday, free. The pedestrianised shopping haven in Soho has long been inventive with its Christmas decorations, so this huge event featuring discounts, live music and free events is a fitting celebration for their switch-on.

Inside Rolls-Royce, Saatchi Gallery, Thursday, free. This four-day exhibit takes over all nine rooms of the Saatchi Gallery, with a series of interactive experience promising to provide visitors will a fresh look at the Rolls-Royce car.

National Maritime Museum Late: Clocking Off, Greenwich, Thursday, £5, ticket includes entry to exhibition. To celebrate the exhibition ‘Ships, Clocks and Stars: The Quest for Longitude’, the National Maritime Museum is hosting an evening of events inspired by Georgian London.

World Press Photo Exhibition, Royal Festival Hall, all week, free. Photographers from more than 130 countries submitted nearly 100,000 photos to the World Press Photo of the Year competition for 2014. This exhibition is your chance to see the 185 images that won awards.

Southbank Centre Winter Festival, various Southbank Centre venues, 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.

…or check out more events happening in London this week

Selin Kiazim Residency at Carousel

Eating and drinking

Selin Kiazim Residency at Carousel. She’s been a chef at The Providores and Kopapa and Giles Coren once said her food ‘has the potential to change lives’, so it’s likely the menu at Selin Kiazim’s three-week stint at Carousel in Marylebone is one guests will be wowed by.

Anima e Cuore, Kentish Town. From the outside, Anima e Cuore appears to be a gelateria and café. But the tiny restaurant at the back (22 covers only) serves – at very low prices – Italian food that can stand comparison with the best in the capital.

Women in Food, Wholefoods Market Kensington, Thursday, £15. This event from professional food obsessives Toast celebrates the achievements of women in the food world, which is traditionally (and still) male-dominated.

Festive Breakfasts at Billingsgate Seafood School, Billingsgate Market, Thursday, £35. A visit to Billingsgate market has always meant an early morning, but at these special breakfast events you’ll get more than something scaly for your supper to take home.

…or see more recommended restaurants.

  Joseph Morpurgo – Odessa


Joseph Morpurgo – Odessa, The Invisible Dot Ltd, all week, £10, £8.50 concs. Character comic Joseph Morpurgo’s latest solo show, ‘Odessa’, is another hugely innovative triumph.

Stewart Lee – A Room With a Stew and ‘Comedy Vehicle’ DVD Launch, Leicester Square Theatre, all week, £20.50 including limited edition DVD. To celebrate the release of the third series of ‘Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle’ on DVD the iconoclastic comedian is performing this limited run of work-in-progress gigs at the Leicester Square Theatre, workshopping material for the fourth series.

John Waters – Carsick: This Filthy World Volume Two Live Comedy Monologue, Southbank Centre, Tuesday,£22.50-£27.50. Expect weapons-grade filth from the king of trash cinema, who returns to the capital with a rare stand-up date. Fans of cult movies like the mind-blowing ‘Pink Flamingoes’, ‘Serial Mom’ and ‘Hairspray’ will not want to miss out.

Andrew Maxwell’s London Loves, Comedy Café Theatre, Tuesday, £15, £12.50 adv. Mischievous Irish raconteur Andrew Maxwell has been a London dweller for 20 years now. He’s practically a Londoner, we’d say. To celebrate his two decades in our capital, the Radio 4 star is performing this topical show, all about London.

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

Cat Power

Live music

Cat Power, Union Chapel, Mon-Tue, £25. Chan Marshall is Cat Power, who made her name as a cripplingly shy performer of bone-scrapingly raw and mostly acoustic songs. She’s since grown in both stature and confidence, to the point where she’s appeared in Gap ads and appeared on fashion show front rows, but her music is still astonishingly direct and vulnerable.

Rise Against, O2 Academy Brixton, TONIGHT, £23. Angsty, poppy hardcore from the hugely influential Chicago-based headliners, who’re here to plug a new album called ‘The Black Market’.

La Roux, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Wednesday, £19.50. La Roux is back, down one band member (it’s just luminous singer Elly Jackson this time) but up one simply incredible second album, ‘Trouble in Paradise’. Grab this chance to see a modern-day pop icon live and on top form.

Lykke Li, Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, Thursday, £28.50. Live, Li is a magnetic presence who favours total immersion in her live shows, veering from wild banshee to vulnerable chanteuse. Don’t miss her.

Ja Ja Ja Festival, various venues, Thursday until Sunday. An authentic taste of hip Nordic culture: the second year of a London festival devoted to the music and food of Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and the Faroe Islands.

…or take a look at all 59 live music events in London this week.

 Skate at Somerset House


Skate at Somerset House: Club Nights, Somerset House, Thursday, £17 adv. Seminal radio station Rinse FM brings its underground sounds to Somerset House as part of the station’s twentieth birthday celebrations. Expect grime, garage, dubstep and techno from a cast of heavy-hitting friends and family.

Huntleys & Palmers at Plastic People, Old Street, Thursday, £5-£7. Consistently ace leftfield label and party crew Huntleys & Palmers return to the immense Shoreditch basement with a stellar line-up of underground producers and selectors.

Spiritland, Old Street, Thursday, free. Angled as a new space for soaking up music of all shapes and sizes – via a huge collection of vinyl amassaed by the organisers – Spiritland holds a three-month residency at sleek Shoreditch bar and restaurant Merchant’s Tavern.

…or see all 22 parties planned this week.




Science Fiction Theatre: ‘Outland’, The Duke Of Wellington, Wednesday, £5. Another underappreciated sci-fi flick given the big-screen treatment courtesy of this brilliant film club. ‘Outland’ is essentially ‘High Noon’ relocated on sunless Io, Jupiter’s third moon, with Sean Connery as the upright federal marshal posted to the mining base where a death-dealing black market in drugs is tacitly sanctioned by the profiteering authorities.

Underground Film Club: ‘American Psycho’, The Vaults, Thursday, £13. Another classic screening in the tunnels beneath Waterloo Station. Director Mary Harron sensibly excised the gratuitous gore at the sick heart of Bret Easton Ellis’s yuppie slasher novel, leaving a provocative socio-psychological satire balanced tantalisingly on the cusp of chilly horror and outrageous comedy.

Or at the cinema…

Interstellar ★★★★★ This is autumn’s biggest blockbuster. Man of the moment Matthew McConaughey heads into space in Christopher ‘Dark Knight’ Nolan’s hotly anticipated space epic.

The Skeleton Twins ★★★☆☆ Props to the filmmakers behind this uneven yet affecting US indie for giving comics Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig a pair of roles that allow them to stretch into unexplored dramatic territory.

The Case Against 8 ★★★★★ On the eve of Barack Obama’s 2008 election, many liberal Californians found their euphoria dampened by the passing of Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage in the state.

…or see all of the latest releases.

 Behind the Beautiful Forevers


Behind the Beautiful Forevers, National Theatre, all week, £15-£35. Katherine Boo’s extraordinary non-fiction book about the vast Mumbai slum Annawadi and the lives lived in it is adapted for the stage by heavyweight talent David Hare.

Wildefire, Hampstead Theatre, all week, £25-£32, £15-£18 concs. A new play from politically charged writer Roy Williams is usually a talking point, and this one, which explores the state of the British police force, looks about as current and as topical as you can get. Maria Aberg directs.

La Soirée, Spiegeltent at the South Bank, Tue-Thur, £15-£67.50. Everyone loves a bit of high camp over Christmas and you’ll certainly find it on the South Bank this November. The burlesque, circus, vaudeville melee is an absolute blast.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices here.

 Wounded: The Legacy of War, Photographs by Bryan Adams

This week’s best new art

Wounded: The Legacy of War, Photographs by Bryan Adams, Somerset House, Wed-Thu, free. The harsh realities of war are conveyed in these striking portraits of British Armed Forces servicemen and women injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars by the musician-turned-photographer.

House of Voltaire, Green Park, Wed-Thu, free. Pop up art shop from the brilliant Studio Voltaire selling editioned and specially commissioned artworks and design by a host of famous names including Helen Marten, Linder and Jeremy Deller. This year marks the support of fashion house Chloé.

Allen Jones RA, Royal Academy of Arts Burlington Gardens, Thursday, £11.50, £8-£9 concs. Last year may have seen our interest in pop art reach fever pitch, but there’s still more on the horizon with this retrospective show of pop-indebted work from the ’60s onwards by this British artist.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… a Samsung Galaxy tablet and phone and a trip to The Shard or be the first to skate at Winterville’s ice rink

Grab… £4 tickets to National Maritime Museum’s ‘Clocking Off’ LATE event on November 13

Book… these gigs while you still can

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