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39 lovely things to do in London this week

Patrizia Ilaria Sechi[Photo: Patrizia Ilaria Sechi]

Try the best food in the city at Taste of London, have a killer evening watching The Craft at the Alibi Film Club or catch some cracking comedy as the Edinburgh preview season kicks in. Enjoy!

Things to do 

Act Up For Love, Trafalgar Square, Tonight, 6-8pm, free. Head down to participate in a giant selfie to protest against Nigel Farage’s HIV-phobic remarks and the Tory restrictions on healthcare access which will impact on HIV+ migrants.

5×15, Union Chapel, Tue, £20. This series of talks brings together a range of speakers, each of whom speaks for 15 minutes on their chosen subject. On Tuesday Neil Gaiman and David Mitchell take to the stage.

Knittin’ Kittens, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Wed, free. Cat lovers are the butt of some pretty unfortunate stereotyping on occasion, so it’s nice to see an event that caters to their interests, even if assuming they love knitting is stereotyping, too. But if you do love cats and knitting, or love cats and would like to start knitting, this is the club for you.

Kopparberg Urban Forest, 37-41 Whitepost Lane, Wed-Thu, free. A five-week, loosely Scandinavian-themed pop-up in Hackney Wick featuring top bands, DJs, bars and street food.

Crossrail Place Gardens: Bloom, Canary Wharf, Thu, free. This summer time celebration takes place in the recently opened Crossrail Place gardens, and provides a free programme of events and workshops.

In Conversation: Prof Brian Cox and Dr Adam Rutherford, Conway Hall, Thu, £15. Join particle physicist Brian Cox for an evening in conversation with author and broadcaster, Adam Rutherford. The pair will discuss the importance of getting people interested in science and why they think we should be striving to make the UK the world’s hottest science hub.

London Short Story Festival, Waterstone’s Piccadilly, Thu, prices vary. Writer development organisation Spread the Word returns for a second year with this three-day celebration of the short story format, highlighting the work of great writers.

Stand Up and Spit, Camden Centre, Thu, £11-£15. An evening of ranting poetry with performances by John Cooper Clarke, Phill Jupitus, Mark Thomas and Linton Kwesi Johnson.

Play: Toys, Sets, Rules, Walter Knoll, all week, free. Featuring play things designed by Ken Garland, Roger Limbrick, Patrick Rylands and Fredun Shapur, this exhibition brings together the best in British Modernist toy design from those who led the way.

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, Victoria & Albert Museum, all week. Pleasure and Pain focuses on the transformative power of extreme footwear, exploring the agony and ecstasy that a shoe might inspire.

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

Taste of LondonTaste of London

Eating and drinking

Magic Dinner, Hoi Polloi, Tonight, £100. This all-star dinner is a fundraiser for Magic Breakfast, a charity which provides free, healthy breakfasts for UK children who would otherwise start their school day hungry. Each of the seven courses will be cooked by chefs from a celebrated London restaurant.

Taste of London, Regent’s Park, Wed-Thu, £20-£29, £14 6-16s, free under-six. The annual Taste of London outdoor food festival returns in June 2015. Whether you wince at the prices or have your fork at the ready, these culinary events (of eight sessions over five days) will be returning for another year of gastronomic Glastonbury.

Forza Win, Peckham, Thu, £35. The evening sun is streaming through the open door, a huge piece of meat is slowly turning over the wood-fired grill and there’s a good-natured buzz of anticipation across the communal tables; summer means that supper club Forza Win is back in its spiritual home.

Roofnic, Marble Arch, all week. A rooftop bar over Oxford Street brand new for 2015. A slick white canopy makes the bar look like a festival tent, casting its shadow over most of the area. This makes the spot by the terrace’s edge where the sun creeps in all the more coveted. Fulfilling the festival feel, there’s AstroTurf, sparkly light bulbs, cushions scattered on the floor and the likes of Grimes and James Blake on the stereo.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

Laugh Out London in Brixton


Laugh Out London – Edinburgh Fringe Preview Season, multiple venues, Mon-Tue, £3-£5. It’s Edinburgh Fringe preview season at Laugh Out London – one of our favourite comedy clubs in the capital – and it’s pulled together a spectacular bunch of comics workshopping their new solo shows.

Tommy Tiernan – Out of the Whirlwind, Soho Theatre, Tue-Thu, £20. What a treat. Multi award-winning Irish superstar Tommy Tiernan performs an intimate run at the Soho Theatre with his new solo show ‘Out of the Whirlwind’.

Austentatious – An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, Udderbelly, Thu, £15.50, £14 concs, £20.50 Sirloin seats. Improv gets a bad rap in this country, but anyone who dismisses the genre clearly hasn’t seen Austentatious. This highly impressive troupe perform a completely improvised Jane Austen novel, complete with period dress and cello accompaniment, with marvellous results.

Diane Chorley – Duchess of Canvey, Soho Theatre, all week, £10-£15. The regular Queen of Caaanvey, Diane Chorley, turns the Soho Theatre’s basement room into her Essex nightclub The Flick for a two-week stint. In the ’80s, Chorley’s club was the place to be seen in the Essex area. But after the police got wind of some dodgy operations, Diane was sent to prison and the club shut up shop.

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

Lead Belly Fest

Live music

Lead Belly Fest, Royal Albert Hall, TONIGHT, £60-£150. Van Morrison, Eric Burdon and Jools Holland are among the musicians celebrating folk and blues legend Lead Belly.

Spitalfields Music Summer Festival, various east London venues, Mon-Tue, events priced individually. Two weeks of concerts, art, talks and workshops in the historic district of Spitalfields.

Incubus, Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, Tue, £46.85. Huge in the post-nu-metal years, Brandon Boyd’s Californian funk-metal/pop-rock outfit are still very much plugging away. They visit London tonight to promote two new EPs (essentially an album in two separate bits) and play all the old favourites.

British Summer Time, Hyde Park, Thu, £59.50. The annual mega-gig series returns to Hyde Park, with headliners including Blur, The Who, Taylor Swift and Kylie Minogue.

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



CTRLSound – A History of Garage and Disco Day, Prince of Wales, Tue, £15. Garage on a rooftop? No, it’s not an ambitious episode of ‘Grand Designs’, it’s a banging party celebrating the history of garage, taking place on an ace Brixton venue roof terrace.

Gospeloke, Queen of Hoxton, Thu, £6-£10. A full-on fun karaoke night themed around gospel music, complete with a full gospel choir.

Summer Tales, Red Market, Thu, £5, £4 before 9pm. A pop-up party from the Night Tales crew, featuring cocktails, street food, DJs and a jungle theme.

…or see all the parties planned this week.

The craft


Alibi Film Club: ‘The Craft’, 91 Kingsland High St, TONIGHT, free. A tale of supernatural LA high-school hijinks featuring the three members of a teenage coven: ‘The Bitches of Eastwick’. Outsiders all – the punk with an alcoholic single parent; the rocker with facial scars from a childhood car crash; the one who’s, well, black – they’re in need of a fourth to complete their empowered circle.

Tufnell Park Film Club: ‘The Red Shoes’, The Lord Palmerston, Tue, £15 yearly membership. The realisation that we’re in the presence of genius comes just a few minutes into ballet-led masterpiece ‘The Red Shoes’. As a gaggle of eager balletomanes settle into their seats, the roar around them fades, a cheery onscreen ticker reads ‘45 minutes later…’, and Michael Powell moves us forward in time without even breaking the shot.

Or at the cinema…

The Look of Silence ★★★★★ Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer follows ‘The Act of Killing’ with another powerful, hauntingly beautiful documentary about Indonesia’s brutal past.

Jurassic World ★★★☆☆ The fourth film in the series and the first in 14 years, ‘Jurassic World’ serves up another theme park and another bunch of knuckleheaded scientists cloned from the same strand of foresight-impaired DNA. It has absolutely no reason for being – except for the obvious – but at least it chomps through your time painlessly.

…or see all of the latest releases.

Giffords Circus: Moon Songs


Giffords Circus: Moon Songs, Chiswick House & Gardens, Mon-Tue, Thu, £25, £15 concs. Mighty Boosh man Cal McCrystal directs this old-fashioned family circus.

Traces, Sadler’s Wells, Tue-Thu, £15-£38. Traces is the award-winning show that brought worldwide attention to Montreal ‘cirque nouveau’ collective The 7 Fingers, way back in 2006.

The Red Lion, National Theatre, Thu, £15-£50. Patrick Marber finds the back of the net with this dark comedy about corruption in semi-pro football.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

FreshFaced + WildEyed

This week’s best new art

FreshFaced + WildEyed, Photographers’ Gallery, Tue-Thu, free. With graduate season hotting up, this annual open submission provides a much-needed platform to nurture and showcase innovative photographic styles coming out of colleges across the UK.

BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, Thu, free. From famous sitters to family members, like Michael Gaskell’s acrylic painting of his niece ‘Eliza’ (pictured), every face tells a different story in this annual portrait prize.

UnfinishedŠ Works from The Courtauld Gallery, Courtauld Gallery, Thu, £8.50, concs available. The Courtauld’s summer showcase brings together a variety of works from the permanent collection, which are described as unfinished. Dating from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century, the paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture reveal the working process of an artist.

Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair, Olympia London, Thu, £100 preview day. Explore this inspiring treasure trove of a fair with thousands of exhibits from 170 of the world’s leading specialist dealers. The 43rd edition offers a broad variety of art and antiques from antiquities, ceramics, furniture and jewellery to contemporary art and design, photographs and textiles.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… a trip to bold and beautiful California or a Zurich city break for two with Zurich Tourism

Grab… £22 tickets to Drive-In Film Club at Alexandra Palace, Pavilion Car Park

Book… these tickets while you still can

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