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45 totally terrific things to do in London this weekend

Mr Steveh


[Photo: mrsteveh]

It’s payday Friday and we’ve found tons of  fun ways to spend your bucks in style this weekend. Turn up the heat at a chilli festival, get some fresh new ink at the London Tattoo Convention, sip champagne at a burlesque afternoon tea or take a trip back to the roaring ’20s with a Great Gatsby themed party. Here are the coolest things happening in the capital over the next few days…

Fun things to do

Malaysia Night, Trafalgar Square, TONIGHT, free. Trafalgar Square will give itself over to Malaysia Night for a fifth year, hosting a night market to introduce Londoners to the delights of Malaysia. Visitors will be able to see, smell and sample treats from the country from a variety of traditional producers.

The Art of the Brick, Old Truman Brewery, all weekend, £14.50–£16.50, £11–£13 concs. Collectively the Lego artworks in the show took a painstaking 4,188 hours to build. Sculptures include recreations of famous artworks such as Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ and the Venus de Milo, as well as many original pieces including a six-metre long T-Rex skeleton constructed from over 80,000 bricks.

Swingers, Shoreditch, £3 entry, £8 golf, £10 for both when booked in advance. Swingers is a 7,000-square-foot warehouse filled with nine holes of the silliest sort of putting. There’s a 1920s style clubhouse bar providing cocktails for before and after hitting the green and Pizza Pilgrims will be serving freshly baked neapolitan pizzas.

Japanese Matsuri, Trafalgar Square, Saturday, free. Hot on the heels of Malaysia Night, Japan comes to central London on Saturday with plenty to excite your taste buds. There’s street food, taiko percussion, dance performances and work outs with Radio Taiso.

London Bridge Live Arts Festival, London Bridge, Fri–Sat, free. This creative arts festival organised by Team London Bridge returns for its third year, featuring dance commissions, interactive art installations, street dance performances and an open-air cinema.

Autumn Ambles, various locations, Sat–Sun, free. Get outdoors and breathe in some crisp autumnal air on one of the 40 walks taking place over this active weekend organised by Transport for London.

Art Schooled launch, Gosh Comics, Saturday, free. Illustrator Jamie Coe’s ‘Art Schooled’ is the latest graphic novel to be published by Nobrow. Get your copy signed, hear tales of Jamie’s own art school experience and grab a few free bevs.

Protein Block Party, New Inn Yard, Saturday, free. Creative agency Protein sure knows how to throw a party and luckily for us, it’s hosting its free block party this Saturday and we’re all invited. Expect great food, workshops and music all afternoon from NTS, Boiler Room, Just Jam, PDA and Tief DJs with an after party on the Ace Hotel rooftop from 7pm till late.

NFL on Regent Street, Saturday, free. This Saturday Regent Street will be traffic-free, but shoppers may get more than they bargained for. In celebration of the following day’s NFL International game taking place at Wembley Stadium between the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders, the street will play host to an American-football-style block party.

London Tattoo Convention, Tobacco Dock, all weekend, £20–£30 adv, £25–£35 on the door, £55 weekend pass. The annual body art festival celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2014 and an impressive line-up of more than 340 international tattooists will be in the house.

Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival, Guildhall Yard, Sunday, free. As the last Sunday of September rolls around, it’s time for Guildhall Yard to welcome the cockney masses for a shindig Dick van Dyke would give his right arm to muscle in on. The annual event features traditional English entertainment including maypole dancing, Morris dancers and a marching band.

Kettner’s Burlesque Afternoon Tea, Soho, Sunday.  While enjoying an afternoon tea, guests will be treated to burlesque performances by the infamous Ruby Deshabille and cabaret compere Joe Morose who will be performing a mix of comedy songs and stand-up.

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


Eating and drinking

Dacha, South Bank, all weekend. Russian Revels, the culinary collective bringing Baltic Sea flavours across Europe to the capital, is back with ‘Dacha’, a three-day pop-up showcasing traditional countryside flavours from the Ukranian steppe and the Georgian mountains at the South Bank’s Real Food Market.

Pork Life, Dalston Yard, all weekend, £15 per day. Celebrate everything pig at this evening street food market. Try it grilled, roasted, steamed, smoked, pulled, deep-fried and in drinks (seriously).

VegFest, Olympia, all weekend, £12. If pork’s not your thing, this might be what you’re looking for. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or just veggie-curious, meat-shunners will be pleased to hear that VegFest is coming to the big smoke.

King & Co, Clapham. King & Co is an independent free house that chooses its own pours. The staff are enthusiastic and the interior is suitably quirky, with salvaged chairs and light fittings. The dozen taps for the kegs dispense a wonderful array of craft beers, such as Beavertown’s Neck Oil or or seldom-seen beers such as Hitachino Nest White Ale.

Festival of Heat, Spitalfields City Farm, Sunday, free. London’s chilli festival returns for round two in 2014, and since 3,500 heat-seeking Londoners turned out last year, you’d be wise to get there in good time to enjoy the attractions.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

Andy Zaltzman – Satirist for Hire


Andy Zaltzman – Satirist for Hire, Soho Theatre, Fri–Sat, £12.50–£17.50. Fans of hugely popular podcast ‘The Bugle’ rejoice! Co-host Andy Zaltzman is back at Soho Theatre with his ‘Satirist for Hire’ show. Email Zaltzman with what you’d like him to satirise, and he’ll do just that.

Greenwich Comedy Festival, National Maritime Museum, all weekend, £12.60–£24. The superb Greenwich Comedy Festival (possibly our favourite London comedy fest) is back with a bang for 2014, setting up camp in the grounds of the beautiful National Maritime Museum.

John Kearns – Shtick, Soho Theatre, Fri–Sat, £10–£15. John Kearns, 2014’s triumphant winner of the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award, brings his superb, gong-bagging show ‘Shtick’ to Soho Theatre for a month-long run.

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

The Libertines

Live Music

The Libertines, Alexandra Palace, all weekend, £35. After a reunion in Hyde Park earlier this year, Carl Barât and Pete Doherty’s bunch of grungy indie roughnecks will be taking to the stage on three consecutive nights at Ally Pally.

The Fall, Electric Brixton, TONIGHT, £23. Few UK bands have carved a more inventive, original and fascinating path through music than Mark E Smith’s enduring post-punk gang.

Lust For Youth, 100 Club, TONIGHT, £8. Upbeat, coldwave-influenced synthpop, fresh from the Copenhagen punk scene.

…or take a look at all 45 live music events in London this weekend.


Club nights

Joe Goddard, Plastic People, TONIGHT, £5–£10. A huge DJ set from Goddard, which will no doubt cover a hell of a lot of territory: expect to hear anything from house to bashment to disco to punk-funk to hip hop to rave to pop.

The Great Gatsby Party, secret location, Fri–Sat, £35. This immersive pop-up promises opulence and debonair revelry of the highest order, soaked in champagne and ’20s-style cocktails. There’ll also be glamorous period decor, canapes and music, so get your best ’20s fancy dress on and get ready to run wild, or at least do the charleston.

Optimo, Village Underground, Saturday, £10. JD Twitch and Johnny Wilkes, the duo who helped shape Scotland’s clubbing culture with Optimo, their eclectic house/techno/all sorts night at Glasgow’s Sub Club, return to London for another crate-digging, genre-busting journey through two huge record collections.

To The Lazer Cave, Autumn Street Studios, Saturday, £10–£16 adv. This warehouse party in east London combines tacky ’70s B-movie references with hi-NRG disco, cosmic house and electro, with resident space cadets providing the tunes. There’ll be thousands of laser beams at every turn, special effects, actors getting into character, makeup artists to transform you into a cosmic disco warrior and a laser maze.

Secretsundaze 2014, Oval Space, Sunday, £14.50 adv. Farewell for another season, Secretsundaze. The closing party features acclaimed US house spinner DJ QU, electronica warper Lone and further house and techno from Konx-om-Pax and Brawther.

…or see all 63 parties planned this weekend.

Fight Club


Kaleidoscope Cinema presents Fight Club, Body Studio’s gym, Saturday, £10. Kaleidoscope Cinema is screening ‘Fight Club’ in a boxing gym in Shoreditch this weekend. Guests can chomp away on free popcorn and buy beers from the pop-up bar.

Dogwoof Weekender: ‘The Case Against 8’, ICA, Nash House, Saturday, £11, £7 concs. The ICA’s Dogwoof Weekender presents six new films from this prestigious documentary distributor, including a new film about the life of Roger Ebert, ‘Life Itself’, and theatrical tale ‘The Last Impresario’. ‘The Case Against 8’ goes behind the scenes, over five years, of the case to overturn the 2008 ban on same-sex marriage in California, known as Proposition 8.

Doc ‘n’ Roll Festival: Julien Temple All-Dayer, Hackney Picturehouse, Saturday, £10.60 per film. Head to Hackney for four days of documentaries on all aspects of modern music, from obscure punk band­­s and outsider hip hop labels to legendary rock photographers.

Or at the cinema…

Ida  ★★★★☆ Tragedy hangs like smoke over this spectral, startling return to form for Polish-born, British-based writer-director Pawel Pawlikowski.

Maps to the Stars ★★★☆☆ Director David Cronenberg creates a deeply sick spirit in his tale and explores it through far-fetched fiction told with deadly seriousness, also adding a dose of baroque to proceedings and a streak of wicked humour.

What We Did on Our Holiday ★★★☆☆ TV comedy veterans Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin retool their BBC sitcom ‘Outnumbered’ for the big screen.

…or see all of the latest releases.

Calm Down, Dear – A Festival of Feminism

At the theatre

Calm Down, Dear – A Festival of Feminism, Camden People’s Theatre, Fri–Sat, £12, £10 concs. Camden People’s Theatre’s Festival of Feminism returns, this year with less comedy and more theatre and cabaret. Leading this year’s offerings is Sh!t Theatre’s ‘Women’s Hour’ which uses satire, song and movement to look at the way women are portrayed by the media.

Rudy’s Rare Records, Hackney Empire, all weekend, £10–£25. There’s a warm fuzzy glow emanating from this piece about a record store in Birmingham starring Lenny Henry. Much like Henry’s comedy, it’s funny, sweet, benign and it touches on pertinent issues, but doesn’t really rock any boats.

The James Plays, National Theatre, Saturday, £15–£35. The National Theatre teams up with the National Theatre of Scotland and the Edinburgh International Festival for the first time on the ‘James Plays’ an intriguing series of three history plays about the Stewart kings who ruled Scotland in the fifteenth century.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices here.

Anselm Kiefer

This week’s best new art

Anselm Kiefer, Royal Academy of Arts, Sat–Sun, £9–£14. It’s hard to not feel overwhelmed in this retrospective of Anselm Kiefer, a dizzying show of post-war art that leaves you spinning. The German artist delves deep into history – towards Wagner, the Romans and ancient forest legends, always searching for meaning, something to make sense of what has come before.

Lawrence Weiner, South London Gallery, all weekend, free. The prominent American artist who creates immaterial sculptures through cryptic slogans presents a new body of work, ‘ALL IN DUE COURSE’. The reluctant conceptualist’s text-based work has adorned manhole covers, the exterior of buildings, and even pin badges.

Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age, Barbican, all weekend, £8–£12. From New York’s first skyscrapers to recent urban sprawls in Asia, this show includes 18 photographers who have influenced our understanding of the built environment.

Snowdon: A Life in View, National Portrait Gallery, all weekend, free. British photographer Lord Snowdon gifted 130 of his prints to the National Portrait Gallery in 2013. Here, a selection of his studio portraits from the 1950s to the 1990s that includes music legend David Bowie and acting royality Laurence Olivier will be displayed alongside pics from the Private View series that put the 1960s British artworld in front of the lens.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Obra Sonora, Carroll/Fletcher, Fri–Sat, free. Four acoustic installations by the Mexican-Canadian artist reference the spatial research of composers like Stockhausen.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… tickets to see Stephen Fry live or some free sausage!

Grab… £10 tickets to a night of live accoustic/rock music at Rising Stars at The Jazz Cafe

Book… these gigs while you still can 

And the best of the blog…

It’s official: this time next year the tube will run all night at weekends!

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Seven types of conversation every Londoner dreads

The top 20 ‘Friends’ episodes (and the life lessons they’ve taught us)

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