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43 excellent things happening in London this weekend

spannarama[Photo: Spannarama]

The first weekend of February is looking fresh, gang! A handful of excellent markets are pitching up across the city, a bus dishing out quality pizza is pulling into Peckham and a ’40s-themed party is about to burst into life in a secret underground bunker. Here are all the best things happening in London town this weekend.

Things to do 

Farewell Leicester Square, London Transport Museum, TONIGHT, £10, £8 concs. A final late opening for the ‘Goodbye Piccadilly’ exhibition, this event commemorates and celebrates the end of World War I with the kind of glamorous activities Londoners enjoyed back in the jazz age.

Polar Plunge, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Saturday, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, £20, £16 students, £10 children over 12, £5 for under 12s. Brave Brits who aren’t phased by sub-zero temperatures will have a specially constructed arctic open-air pool waiting for them at this charity event, which aims to raise money for Special Olympics GB who support 8,000 athletes across the UK.

Valentine’s Calligraphy Workshop, Liberty, Saturday, £40. What better way to say those three little words than with a gift made by your own fair hands? Stationery brand and design studio Betty Etiquette host this love-themed workshop where you’ll be able to create a Valentine’s card and print for your one true love.

DIY Speaker Workshop: Make Your Own Bespoke Speaker, Machines Room, Saturday, £55. The Technology Will Save Us team host this fun workshop where attendees can construct their own amplifier using an exciter. With this method, makers can transform almost any material into a speaker to pump out big tunes from.

Rhythm & Brews, The Snooty Fox, Saturday, free. This much-loved Canonbury boozer is hosting a three-day beer festival with extra added music. DJs will play rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll and soul music while lovers of a good (alcoholic) brew sip their way through top quality ales from some of the UK’s most exciting microbreweries.

North London Vintage Market, St Mary’s Parish Hall, Saturday, £1.50. This birthday edition of North London Vintage Market celebrates four years of the Crouch End shopping fixture. As well as the usual edit of over 25 affordable vintage traders, you’ll find a pop-up vintage beauty salon, a raffle and some non-vintage birthday cake.

Village Green Market, Clapton, Sunday, free. Village Green is a young weekly Sunday market in the heart of Hackney. Its smattering of stalls include an array of hangover-worthy food from vendors such as Cast Iron Kitchen and Mama’s Jerk station, and twee vendors selling everything from pickles to prints.

Change: How?, Islington Metal Works, Sunday, £20, £10 concs. More than 100 speakers will tell their stories in 15-minute sessions across five different stages at this festival of ideas hosted by political campaigners Compass which promises ‘more than party politics’.

Blue and White: British Printed Ceramics, V&A, all weekend, free. Spanning objects from the 1750s to the present day, this exhibition takes a closer look at the iconic blue and white ceramics that have become something of a phenomenon with us Brits. A varied collection of designs and decorated pieces reflects changes within British society and culture, and explores the fascination the style holds for consumers as well as potters and artists.

Elvis at The O2, all weekend, £9-£20. An exhibition of Elvis memorabilia on loan from the Presley family’s Graceland Archives.

Hawker House

Eating and drinking

Hawker House, 260-264 Kingsland Road, TONIGHT, Free before 7pm, £4 after. Street Feast are bringing their food-focused party to an indoor venue so that we can tuck into delicious dishes from some of the city’s best street food vendors without catching a chill.

The Crust Conductor, Brick Brewery Peckham, Fri-Sat. Pizza makes a bus better and bus makes a pizza better, right? So it seems the most sensible thing to do with a London Leyland Titan bus from the ’80s is serve pizza in it. Jonny Henfrey of The Gowlett in Peckham is doing just that – his double decker rollable restaurant contains a wood-fired oven and a sound system and is parking up at Brick Brewery for our edible pleasure. Pizzas start at £6.

Twist at Crawford, Baker Street. Twist is really a stylish and grown-up neighbourhood restaurant that just happens to have an honest commitment to quality cooking. This is backed up by service that was unfailingly attentive and smiling without being uptight, and a wine list diverse enough to cater for most tastes and budgets, with a particularly appealing by-the-glass selection.

Backchat with Jack Whitehall and his Dad, Michael


Backchat with Jack Whitehall and his Dad, Michael, Cadogan Hall, TONIGHT, £30. Arena-filling TV favourite Jack Whitehall and his no-nonsense father transfer their hit BBC chat show to the stage for this one-off gig in aid of Street Child’s Ebola Orphan Appeal. ‘Countdown’s Nick Hewer will be on hand too, to introduce mystery celebrity guests…

Amused Moose Piccadilly, Sanctum Soho Hotel, TONIGHT, £12.50-£14.50.  The Amused Moose gang – who run a superb Saturday night club on Greek Street – put on this Piccadilly gig, hosted by TV regular Alex Zane each Friday. Tonight’s line-up includes TV favourite Katherine Ryan, Pippa Evans, Markus Birdman, Ian Smith and guest MC Mark Dolan.

Luisa Omielan – Am I Right Ladies?, Soho Theatre, Fri-Sat, £15, £12.50 concs. Feelgood comic Luisa Omielan is back with another sass-filled comedy hour. Omielan’s previous show, ‘What Would Beyoncé Do?’ sold out multiple runs at the Soho Theatre and has been a huge hit in the US too. ‘Am I Right Ladies?’ is a feisty, confident stand-up show with heart, and is bound to be another sell-out success. Come for the comedy, stay for the party.

Live at the Chapel, Union Chapel, Saturday, £20, £18 concs. The line-up tonight is headlined by the wilfully obscure Paul Foot, plus support from Sara Pascoe, Alex Horne and Tom Basden and Tim Key’s double-act, Freeze!


Live music

Interpol, Roundhouse, TONIGHT, £25.60. The hugely influential New York post-punk band return to London, after spending more than two days trapped in a snowstorm in November – not a bad metaphor for their crushing, gloomy and potently chilly music.

Night Flowers, Shacklewell Arms, TONIGHT, £6, £4 adv. If you’re after a scarily accurate replica of the classic ’90s shoegazing sound, Night Flowers are your four lads and a lady – even though none of them look old enough to have heard Lush and Catherine Wheel the first time around. It may be retro, but it’s got plenty of heart and a real kick to it.

Telegram, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, Saturday, £10.60. Four London longhairs draw on krautrock, classic British psychedelia and glam rock to thrash through their loosely structured, wah-heavy tunes.

Milky Chance, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Sunday, £15. Look past the awful band name, and focus on the huge grassroots success that this German duo have had across Europe with the acoustic guitar and sampled beats of their track ‘Stolen Dance’. Eighty million YouTube views have to count for something, right?



Waves, AIRspace Brixton, TONIGHT, £8-£15 adv. White-hot production talent TCTS brings his deep, melodic grooves and vocal house jams – reminiscent of Gorgon City and Disclosure’s brand of infectious four-four – to Waves for a headline set. Supporting is Bristol bass ace Woz, a favourite on consistently…

Coffin Dodgers Disco, The Phoenix, TONIGHT, £7 adv. Let’s get reeeeeady to… er, grumble? Old timers Don and Reg have had enough of those fresh-faced youngsters clogging up dancefloors all over the capital, they’re making some space for the golden oldies in the heart of city. How? With a strict no under-28s door policy, of course, governed by no-nonsense mistress Vera at the gate, so bring ID, folks.

FILTH at The Vaults, South Bank, Saturday, £15. An exclusive underground silent disco with 50 shades of difference: three awesome channels of music plus an X-rated adult channel.

The Blitz Party, a secret London location, Saturday, £25. The latest Blitz Party instalment takes place at an ‘east London bunker’ (2-18 Warburton Road), where you can hear big bands perform live and sip gin French cocktails. Dance classes will also be available for an extra £5.

J Dilla Changed My Life, Scala, Sunday, £6. Who’s iller than J Dilla? Not many, but London hip hop crew The Doctor’s Orders are saluting the hip hop great’s legacy with another of their annual tribute nights.



Katherine Hepburn Season: ‘A Woman Rebels’, BFI Southbank, Saturday, £8.15–£11.50. More Hepburn, as the BFI continues its tribute to one of old Hollywood’s most groundbreaking and glamorous actresses. This interesting proto-feminist movie stars Hepburn as the Victorian miss saddled with a stern father, despite which she manages to get herself pregnant in a headily romantic affair with Van Heflin.

Bechdel Test Film Club: Reclaim the Romcom, Genesis Cinema, Sunday, free. Our favourite feminist film club presents a free all-dayer complete with two films that buck the usual romcom trend by focusing on female characters, plus a discussion on whether the romantic comedy genre is inherently conservative and chauvinistic.

Walerian Borowczyk Double Bill: ‘Goto, Island of Love’ + ‘La Bete’, Rio, Sunday, £10, £8 concs. A terrific double bill of mind-expanding films from Polish director Walerian Borowczyk.

Or at the cinema…

Selma ★★★★★ This 1960s-set, US civil-rights drama works brilliantly as both expert historical re-creation and a powerful reflection of what’s happening in the world right now. As recent events in Ferguson, Missouri show, there’s nothing ‘finished’ about the issue of racism in America or beyond.

The Interview ★★★★☆ You’ve read the news story; now you can see the film. Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s ‘The Interview’ follows the hysterically violent misadventures of idiotic talk-show host Dave Skylark (James Franco, hamming it up) and his underachieving producer, Aaron (Rogen), who land an interview with Skylark superfan and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (Randall Park).

Kim Noble – You're Not Alone


Kim Noble – You’re Not Alone, Soho Theatre, Fri-Sat, £15, £12.50 concs. A hypnotic, bleak, very funny and sometimes disturbing look at loneliness and connection from the extraordinary artist-comedian.

The Ruling Class, Trafalgar Studios, Fri-Sat, £15-£52.50. James McAvoy returns to Trafalgar Studios to star in the first revival of Peter Barnes’s comedy, directed by Jamie Lloyd.

How to Hold Your Breath, Royal Court Theatre, Fri-Sat, £10-£32, £17-£27 concs. This new play from Zinnie Harris looks at how we live now prompted by a seemingly innocent one-night stand. Harris returns to the court to explore our recent European history, with ‘How to Hold Your Breath’, directed by Royal Court boss Vicky Featherstone.

The Nether, Duke of York’s Theatre, Fri-Sat, £10-£52.50. The genius of US playwright Jennifer Haley’s multi award winning ‘The Nether’ is that it uses the medium of sci-fi to pep up its points about the web, but it uses it lightly. It is a parable about the online world and our relationship with it, but it’s been exaggerated into a future where the internet has evolved into the Nether, an advanced virtual reality in which most people work, go to school and indulge their fantasies.

Marlene Dumas

This week’s best new art

Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden, Tate Modern, all weekend, £14.50, £12.70 concs. Major survey of the South Africa-born, Amsterdam-based painter whose subjects include Jesus, Princess Diana, Phil Spector and Amy Winehouse.

Human Rights Human Wrongs, Photographers’ Gallery, all weekend, free. An exhibition of original press prints that conveys the important role photojournalism has played in raising awareness of global issues.

Viviane Sassen: Pikin Slee, ICA, all weekend, £1 Day membership. Photographs of the remote rainforest village Pikin Slee by the Dutch-born fashion photographer.

Guy Bourdin: Walking Legs, Michael Hoppen Gallery, Fri-Sat, free. Bourdin’s 1979 campaign for show designer Charles Jourdan situates mannequin legs in deserted English locations creating unexpected surreal scenarios.

A Strong Sweet Smell of Incense: A Portrait of Robert Fraser, Pace Burlington Gardens, Fri-Sat, free. Brian Clarke curates a personal portrait of the cultural guru, Robert Fraser through the work of artist’s the dealer exhibited and admired.


Win… tickets to Glasgow International Comedy Festival or the chance to jump in London’s adult ball pit

Grab… an exclusive three-course champagne supper with unlimited champagne at Cookbook Cafe, Park Lane for £44

Book… these gigs while you still can

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