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41 excellent things to do in London this week

floating covent garden[Photo: Jeff Moore]

It seems last week’s wacky heatwave is gone for good and autumn really has arrived. But don’t let that get you down! Here’s a huge list of all the best things waiting for you this week. Check out a levitating building in Covent Garden, dine at a secret supper club somewhere on the Jubilee line or pick up your pencils and get creative at The Big Draw. London never looked so good!

Fun things to do 

‘Take my lightning but don’t steal my thunder’, Covent Garden, all week, free. Alex Chinneck’s new contemporary art installation is like a magic act, creating the illusion that part of Covent Garden Market is levitating ten feet above the ground. And though we know this can’t be the case, it’s pretty darn convincing.

Opening of Flat 130, Balfron Tower, Wed-Thu,£12, £10 students. Trellick Tower and Balfron Tower – now Grade II-listed buildings – were designed by Hungarian-born architect and designer Ernö Goldfinger, who for two months in 1968 lived in Balfron Tower’s Flat 130 himself in an effort to prove just how desirable life in one of his artistic grey pillars could be. Now you can take a peek at what his flat was like.

The House of St Barnabas and BUG present: 37 Things You Need To Know About Modern Britain, Greek Street, Tuesday, £10. This talk will see a panel of established journalists and media analysts discuss how journalists will excite, enrage and influence us in 2020, and what stories will interest us most. Expect audience debate.

The Big Draw, various venues, all week, prices vary. The month-long, annual festival designed to provide opportunities for people of all ages to discover, or return to, the pleasure of drawing features hundreds of events, many of which are free to attend at venues countrywide.

Wool Week, Southwark Cathedral, all week, free. Artist Gillian Ayres has created ‘Tirra Lirra’, a giant wool tapestry which will be installed in Southwark Cathedral to showcase wool in design. The tapestry has taken tens of thousands of hours to create and will be sold at the end of the exhibition to raise money for young artists and design students wishing to explore wool within their work.

Photomonth East London 2014, various venues, all week, free. The annual photography festival is back for 2014 after a break in 2013. Photomonth is an umbrella event featuring over 150 exhibitions, events, talks and workshops taking place in venues including galleries, shops, cafés, cinemas, libraries and universities in the East London area.

London East End Food Tour, various venues, all week, £65, £50 13-17s, £40 under-13s. On this tasty tour guides will lead the way through the East End’s markets, shops, bakeries, pubs and restaurants to give a real flavour of London.

Vue Entertainment and Prop Store Exhibition, Vue Westfield London, all week, free. Movie collectibles vendor Prop Store has been gathering some of the most recognisable, memorable and goddamn awesome bits of film ephemera for over a decade now, and will auction off 375 of them in London on October 16.

London Literature Festival, Southbank Centre, all week, prices vary. Back for 2014, the London Literature Festival brings together an international line-up of world-class poets, authors and speakers to celebrate the power of words and their ability to transform lives. This year’s liberty-themed festival focusses on justice, freedom and democracy, and acts as a tribute to the late Maya Angelou.

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

Gingerline Jubilee

Eating and drinking

Gingerline Jubilee, Secret location, Wed-Thu, £55-£58. This raucous and secretive supperclub is abandoning tradition for a new project, Gingerline Jubilee, about which we know little except that it will take place somewhere on the Jubilee line rather than its original namesake, the East London line.

London Cocktail Week, various locations, all week, £15 wristbands. For one week, 200 bars will throw open their doors to offer £4 cocktails to wristband wearers. There are also plenty of pop-ups, parties and tastings happening across the capital.

El Nivel, Covent Garden. London’s more than ready for mezcal and its agave amigos, and this bar from Tomas Estes (the official Mexican tequila ambassador to Europe: really) is a fine place to sample some.

Mission, Bethnal Green. Chef James de Jong turns out sunny dishes that match the wine country food, such as tender octopus with tomato and grains of farro, topped with a scoop of garlicky aioli.

Mondrian London at Sea Containers. The Mondrian London at Sea Containers is the first ever location of Mondrian-branded boutique hotels outside of the US. New York chef Seamus Mullen of Tertulia will be at the helm of the hotel’s restaurant alongside Luke Rayment, former head chef at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.



Centrepoint Laughing Point, Palace Theatre, TONIGHT, £8.50-£31. This fundraiser for homeless charity Centre Point features a spectacular line-up. Two of the finest comedians in the country, Daniel Kitson and Stewart Lee, are the big draws. Plus there’s support from Josh Widdicombe, Sara Pascoe, Tony Law, Katherine Ryan, Aisling Bea and Joe Lycett.

Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, Leicester Square Theatre, TONIGHT, £16.50. We’re obsessed with Herring’s LST Podcast, and it’s even funnier as a live show. In RHLSTP, the consummate comic sits down with superstar names (previous guests include Armando Iannucci, Stewart Lee and Graham Linehan) – but Parky this isn’t. Herring’s interviews include questions like ‘Have you ever tried to suck your own cock?’ and ‘Have you ever seen a Bigfoot?’

Liam Williams – Capitalism, The Invisible Dot Ltd, all week, £8, £6.50 concs. Punters were queuing for over an hour at the Edinburgh Fringe to catch Liam Williams’s pessimistic stand-up show, which deservedly bagged him a Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination. ‘Capitalism’ is an erudite, eloquent hour about Generation Y angst in which the 26-year-old comic (who was also nominated for Best Newcomer in 2013) skilfully picks apart his own depression and contradicting personalities.

EastEnd Cabaret – Sexual Tension, Soho Theatre, all week, £10-£15. EastEnd Cabaret – vaguely Eastern European femme fatale Bernadette Byrne and her stalky, hermaphroditic accompanist Victor Victoria – have been playing the cabaret circuit for years. But now they’ve gone proper ‘comedy’, with sharp-witted, musically rich songs about – you guessed it – sex.

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

Kid Wave

Live music

Kid Wave, Birthdays, TONIGHT, £6. One of the best new live acts we’ve seen in a while, Heavenly Records’ latest signings bust out joyous, jangling shoegaze-pop with no shortage of great melodies.

Outfit, The Waiting Room, TONIGHT, £8.50. Laying calypso-tinged melodies and funk rhythms over spooky, gnarled electronic textures, these impressive, chillwave-toned Scousers are the rising stars of UK synthpop. They play tonight from their great debut album ‘Performance’, and promise to preview a few songs from its forthcoming sequel too.

James Taylor, Royal Albert Hall, Tue-Wed, £40-£75. The singer-songwriter and Laurel Canyon scenester returns to London with his band, performing his smash-hit ‘Fire and Rain’ and more of the hippy era’s most beautiful songs.

FKA Twigs, Hackney Empire, Wednesday, £20. After the success of her debut album ‘LP1’, FKA Twigs performs a London headline show on Wednesday. If she can bring to the stage even a fraction of the transporting effect of her records, the audience will be in for quite a trip.

…or take a look at all 57 live music events in London this week.

PaperworksThe Paperworks

Club nights

Huntleys & Palmers, Plastic People, Thursday, £5-£7. Portuguese artist DJ Nigga Fox plays his debut London show and Gang Gang Dance’s Brian DeGraw spins leftfield sounds.

Spiritland, Shoreditch, all week, free. This new venture is a unique space for listening to and appreciating music of all genres. Free to the public, it will run seven days a week for three months.

The Paperworks, Elephant and Castle, Wednesday, free. Several London institutions have collaborated on an enticing free-entry pop-up space, providing music, art, street food, cocktails and a bit of monkeying around, too.

…or see all 25 parties planned this week.

gone girl‘Gone Girl’


The Thin Red Line, Prince Charles Cinema, TONIGHT, £7.50, £5 concs. Grab this chance to see Terence Malick’s visually sumptuous WWII masterpiece on the big screen. The story is simple and straightforward, charting the fortunes of a US army platoon as they attempt, against all odds, to wrest control of Guadalcanal from the Japanese.

Or at the cinema…

Gone Girl ★★★★★ Transformed into the kind of wickedly confident Hollywood thriller you pray to see once in a decade, Gillian Flynn’s absorbing missing-wife novel emerges – via a faithful script by the author herself – as the stealthiest comedy since ‘American Psycho’.

 Still the Enemy ★★★★☆ Within ‘Still the Enemy Within’ tells the story of the 1984 miner’s strike from the inside, interviewing those who manned the picket lines. It exposes how the Thatcher government colluded with big business, the police and the media to break the back not just of the National Union of Miners, but of the entire trade union movement, and perhaps even any notion of working class solidarity.

Life After Beth ★★★☆☆ Up-and-comer Aubrey Plaza’s deadpan stare makes her perfect to play girlfriend-turned-zombie Beth. After dying in a solo mountain hike at the start of the film, it’s only a matter of time after the funeral before Beth reappears, slightly dazed and in need of a bath.

…or see all of the latest releases.

The Vertical Hour


The Vertical Hour, Park Theatre, Tue-Thu, £19.50, £16 concs. It’s basically David Hare’s Theory of Iraq, and if that sounds bloodless, well it is. But it’s also bloody brilliant: an extraordinary piece of public thinking that benefits both from the distance of a decade and, as another Gulf war looms into view, a renewed sense of urgency.

Great Britain, Haymarket Theatre Royal, all week, £15-£50. Richard Bean’s phone-hacking comedy made a big splash at the National Theatre when it opened, days after the Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks verdicts, having been put together in top secret conditions so as not to prejudice their trial. In a satire that is, of course, entirely fictional and unrelated to the great Hackmageddon in Wapping, we are flies on the newsroom wall of top tabloid The Free Press.

The Scottsboro Boys, Garrick Theatre, all week, £10-£35. Kander and Ebb’s ferociously uncompromising final musical about the mistrial of a bunch of young black men in ‘30s Alabama gave the Young Vic a bleak smash hit last Christmas. Now ‘The Scottsboro Boys’ take on the West End.

Confirmation, Battersea Arts Centre, all week, £15, £12 concs. Chris Thorpe’s brutally unsentimental piece of documentary theatre about his attempt to understand the worldview of a white supremacist was the best theatre show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer. London finally gets a piece as ‘Confirmation’ storms BAC.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices here.

Bob Gruen: Rock Seen

This week’s best new art

Bob Gruen: Rock Seen, Londonewcastle Project Space, all week, free. The American photographer is as much a legend as the music legends he’s been shooting for the past 40 years. From David Bowie, Mike Jagger to the Sex Pistols and Led Zeppelin, Gruen’s unique and unassuming documentation of rock ‘n’ roll greats gleans a vision of music’s ‘in’ crowd who hung out at New York’s legendary Max’s Kansas City restaurant and CBGB club.

Turner Prize 2014, Tate Britain, all week, free. After travelling to Derry-Londonderry last year, the annual exhibition returns to London this autumn with four more hopeful artists all vying for the glory of winning the coveted Turner Prize. Duncan Campbell, Ciara Phillips, James Richards and Tris Vonna-Michell make up this year’s line-up.

Sigmar Polke: Alibis, Tate Modern, Wed-Thu, free. The German painter, who gave the polka dot contemporary art status, is surveyed through this retrospective of his unusually varied five-decade career.

Danjuma Collection: One Man’s Trash (Is Another Man’s Treasure), 33 Fitzroy Square, all week, free. London-based collector Theo Danjuma has amassed an impressive collection of contemporary art by artists including Glenn Ligon, Cyprien Gaillard, Klara Linden, Sarah Lucas and Turner Prize 2013 nominee Lynette Yiadom-Boakye over the past six years.

Lizzie Fitch & Ryan Trecartin, Zabludowicz Collection, Thursday, free. The LA-based artist brings the carnivalesque escapades of his absurd characters to London for the first time this autumn.

…or see all London art reviews.

Still bored? Here are more 82 great things happening this month.

And finally

Win… the ultimate cultural weekend at Bankside or vouchers to your favourite cinema.

Grab… 64 percent off a 75-minute pamper package at Pharaoh Beauty Salon, including massage, facial and body wrap.

Book… these gigs while you still can.

And the best of the blog…

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