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40 terrific things to do in London this weekend

Umbreen Hafeez[Photo: Umbreen Hafeez]

Step out of the semi-darkness of this morning’s solar eclipse into the shimmering lights of the weekend! Get down to some classic R&B and hip hop at No Scrubs, celebrate everything 007 at a series of Bond in Motion talks and tours, or don your stripes and make a dash for the Where’s Wally Fun Run in Victoria Park. Here’s everything you need to know about this weekend…

Things to do 

Strange Creatures: The Art of Unknown Animals, Grant Museum of Zoology, Fri-Sat, free. See the weird and wonderful ways we portray new species to the wider world. This exhibition brings together a range of animal representations including Europe’s first image of an Australian animal, medieval accounts of exotic creatures and cutting-edge reconstructions of dinosaurs.

Eric Gill Exhibition, Sotheran’s, Fri-Sat, free. This exhibition will focus on Gill’s woodcut prints on Japanese paper which often depict secular and religious subjects. The show will also feature a number of books with his artwork, including the Golden Cockerel Press’s edition of Chaucer’s ‘Troilus and Criseyde’.

National Learn to Play Day, various locations, Saturday, free. Make some noise for Learn to Play Day. Over a hundred musical instrument shops and other venues throughout the UK are offering free instrument lessons to anyone who would like to have a go at music making.

Bond in Motion Anniversary Weekend, London Film Museum Exhibition Space, Sat-Sun, £14.50. In celebration of the Bond in Motion exhibition’s first anniversary, the Covent Garden branch of the London Film Museum is holding a weekend of Bond-related talks, tours and Q&As.

Bark Life, Battersea Park, Sunday, £10 registration per dog, £40 sponsorship pledge. The Zoological Society of London is calling for man’s best friends to declare a truce and forget their rivalry against moggies in order to raise some money for their larger endangered cousins. This 2.5km sponsored pooch parade will take place in Battersea Park with all proceeds going towards saving Asiatic lions in the wild, and to creating a new breeding centre and exhibit at ZSL London Zoo.

Where’s Wally Fun Run, Victoria Park, Sunday, £25. Signing up for any fun run involves a bit of looking like a wally, but for this one you’ll really have to get used to it. Walk, jog or run a 5km or 10km course through Victoria Park dressed as Martin Handford’s cheerfully elusive creation along with hundreds of other Wallys.

Canalside Festival, Chisenhale Dance Space, Sunday, free. Amy Sharrock’s Museum of Water is returning to London in celebration of World Water Day. The collection, which was stared two years ago, now comprises over 500 publicly donated containers of water and the stories behind each one.

Yam, Ridley Road Market Bar, Sunday, free. Grab bargains from the likes of Burberry, Acne, Kooples, Dr Martens and Sunspel at this new charity sample sale where all proceeds go to local Hackeny based organisations. DJs will keep you bopping and pizza from Slice Girls will be on the menu.

Spring Fair at the Finnish Church, Rotherhithe, all weekend, 50p donation. The church’s annual Spring Fair features traditional Finnish seasonal treats including mämmi and pasha, Finnish sweets, Moomin products, chocolates and arts and crafts stalls.

Asia House Fair, Marylebone, all weekend, free. Asia House’s London headquarters will be transformed into a bustling bazaar showcasing handmade products from Asian craftspeople, cooperatives and designers as well as marginalised women in remote regions. Visitors can explore products ranging from jewellery to woodcarving and textiles to art and craft from around 30 exhibitors.

The Edible Garden Show and Good Life Live, Alexandra Palace, all weekend, £20, £16 concs. Learn to grow (or find) your own dinner at this show for foodies who like to know where their meals come from.

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

An Evening of Hogarth, Gin and Food

Eating and drinking

An Evening of Hogarth, Gin and Food, Tate Britain, TONIGHT, £85. Eating, drinking and being merry is a fine way to celebrate a person, and the great artist, satirist and portraitist William Hogarth would no doubt approve of this evening event in his honour.

Over the Hop Festival, White Horse, all weekend. Celebrate the flavoursome powers of the hop at this three-day beer festival. The White Horse’s already impressive beer selection will be upgraded with extra Blonde, Golden, Pale and Indian Pale ales.

Spring Real Ale Festival, Pub on the Park, all weekend, free. This three-day ale extravaganza will feature 23 rotating ales, bottles from Belgium and ciders from Hertfordshire. Homebrewers who deliver a bottle of their own concoction to the Pub On The Park by Sunday March 15 will be entered into the Festival’s homebrew competition.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

Alexis Dubus – Cars and Girls


Alexis Dubus – Cars and Girls, Soho Theatre, Fri-Sat, £12.50, £10 concs. Friendly comic Alexis Dubus (creator of suave French character and ‘Live at the Electric’ star Marcel Lucont) revives his solo storytelling show ‘Cars and Girls’.

Mel Brooks Live in London, Prince of Wales Theatre, Sunday, £74.75-£502.25. This show, ‘Mel Brooks – Live in London’, is a one-off live event celebrating his life and career. The man behind ‘Young Frankenstein’, ‘Blazing Saddles’, ‘The Producers’ and ‘Robin Hood: Men in Tights’ will be recounting tales from his childhood, Hollywood career and approach to comedy to just a few thousand lucky Londoners. Brooks is a master storyteller.

The 2000 Year Old Man, JW3, all weekend, £12.50. Canadian actor Kerry Shale and Radio 4 regular Chris Neill star in this recreation of Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner’s classic comedy skit – it’s the first time ever than Brooks and Reiner have given permission for the semi-improvised sketch to be revived. Shale plays the titular role, being interviewed by Neill about his two millennia on this earth.

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


Live music

Kaytranada, O2 Academy Brixton, TONIGHT, £23.50 adv. His woozy, electronic take on R&B – spliced with samples, spacey electronica and chunky beats – is almost absurdly on-point, so this performance at the vast Brixton venue should be a fine show.

Hookworms, Oval Space, Saturday, £12. Awesome Leeds outfit Hookworms provide psychedelic rock that’s heavy, engrossing and euphoric. In a live setting, they storm along with a hefty motorik thrust, and play very loud indeed.

Annie Mac Presents…, Koko, Saturday, £16.20. She’s got more solid DJ sets under her belt than she does curls in her ever-impressive bouffant, and her long-running AMP showcases have become essential tick boxes for many a top DJ and producer across a range of genres.

The Who, The O2, Sunday, £50-£150. Stadium-filling rock hits by the two surviving members of one of the biggest bands ever.Two dates at The O2 are followed by a gig at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity which has Daltrey as patron.

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

 No Scrubs


No Scrubs, Old Queen’s Head, TONIGHT, £5. Don’t expect things to get serious at this party: do expect to have even more fun than TLC did as space-ninja-dancers in their ‘No Scrubs’ video. The action takes place at a two-floored Islington boozer, where you’ll hear classic R&B and hip hop.

Boomtown Fair Presents Mayfair Avenue, Electric Brixton, Saturday, £18. The delightfully chaotic and colourful festival Boomtown Fair holds a warm-up shindig with plenty of energetic music, performance and immersive fun.

The Blitz Party, Village Underground, Saturday, £25. A heavily ’40s-themed party featuring big bands, wartime snacks and drinks, ration books, sandbags and other authentic fun. Make an effort with your costume.

Pantha Du Prince + Darkstar + Zomby, St John-at-Hackney Church, Saturday, £20. The final event of the Convergence series sees melodic techno maverick Pantha Du Prince, who produced one of 2013’s stand-out albums in ‘Elements of Light’, play a headline show at the beautiful, atmospheric St John-at-Hackney Church, which should suit his haunting, psychedelic take on dance music perfectly.

Savage, Metropolis, Saturday, £5. Those restless polysexual party animals Sink The Pink are at it again. Their latest venture is a weekly disco bash at strip club-cum-club space Metropolis, where you can roam around three floors of filthy fun for only a fiver.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.

Mommy Mommy


BFI Flare: ‘Orlando’, BFI Southbank, Saturday, £8–£12.90. There are plenty of new movies playing at this year’s BFI Flare – the new-ish name for the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival – but our favourite in the first week is Sally Potter’s literally timeless adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s generation-hopping romance.

Science Fiction Theatre: ‘Fantastic Planet’, Deptford Cinema, Saturday, £5. Another SF classic from this rolling film club. Take the big’uns-versus-little’uns conflict from ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, sprinkle with the Blue Meanies from ‘Yellow Submarine’, add a political allegory as forceful as Orwell’s ‘1984’ and you’re beginning to grasp this unique combination of Gallic creativity and Czech production expertise.

Camberwell Free Film Festival: ‘Pretty in Pink’, Cool Cats Café, Sunday, free. There’s loads of great free screenings at this year’s Camberwell Fim Festival, from recent hits like ‘Northern Soul’ to London-centric titles like cannibal classic ‘Death Line’. But we’ve opted for this superior teen angst movie, in which writer-producer John Hughes completed the series he began with ‘Sixteen Candles’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’.

Mommy ★★★★☆ Cinema doesn’t come much more exuberant, musical and raw than French-Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s ‘Mommy’. It’s the tale of a wild, gurning teen, Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon), an angel face hiding devilish deeds.

…or see all of the latest releases.

Play Mas


Play Mas, Orange Tree Theatre, Fri-Sat, £10-£20, £15 concs. A superb revival of Mustapha Matura’s 1974 darkly funny exploration of Trinidad.

Shrapnel: 34 Fragments of a Massacre, Arcola Theatre, Fri-Sat, £17-£19, £14-£15 concs. The ‘fragments’ of Anders Lustgarten’s provocative new play are a bitter reference to the 34 villagers blown apart by a US-led drone strike on a mountain pass between Turkey and Iraq in 2011.

The Cutting of the Cloth, Southwark Playhouse, Fri-Sat, £18, £16 concs. Sewing scissors at dawn! ‘The Cutting of the Cloth’ is a tale of two tailors: one a master of the handmade craft, the other a whizz with the sewing machine.

Wink, Theatre 503, all weekend, £15, £12 concs. A frenzy of Facebook likes, Snapchat photos, sexting and porn make up the blinkered world of the two characters in this smart if improbable new play.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

Revelations: Experiments in Photography

This week’s best new art

Revelations: Experiments in Photography, Science Museum, all weekend, £8, £6 concs. The invention of photography helped Victorian scientists to capture things too small and too fast for the human eye to see. So it’s apt this Science Museum show should focus on the mutually inspiring terrain of scientific study and artistic endeavour.

Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden, The Queen’s Gallery, all weekend, £10, £5.20-£9.20 concs. A display of exquisite works from sixteenth century to early 1900s that reveals the lasting appeal of the garden.

The Red Mansion Art Prize, Slade Research Centre, all weekend, free. Seven leading art colleges in the country nominate six post-graduate students each year for the Red Mansion Art Prize, an award that encourages artistic exchange between China and the UK. This year’s six winners will present work that was produced during a month-long residency in China.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… a luxury cottage stay for you and your friends or tickets to an exclusive screening of ‘(Pillow) Fight Club’ at Pillow Cinema

Grab… £16 for four cocktails at The Jones Family Project in Shoreditch

Book… these gigs while you still can

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