Monthly Archives: September 2010

Bad Film Club

Ok, so I know I’ve posted a lot about cinema recently, but that’s only because there’s some good stuff out there! Plus, what with the weather being so unpredictable you need an indoor back up plan, right?

We all have films we love to hate – but what about films we hate to love…? That’s where Bad Film Club comes in.

Nicko and Joe have been running the club in 2006 and it’s grown quite a following.  This time, the film’s Twister (you know, the one with Helen Hunt) and it’s showing at the Barbican on September 30.

Tickets range from £5.50-£10.50 and the film starts at 8:45pm.  You can book tickets and find out more info here.

Nearest Tube: Barbican/Moorgate

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Filed under Arts, Central London, E London

Spots V Stripes

I’m sure you’ve all seen the latest Cadbury advert. So are you Team Spots or Team Stripes?

Find out this weekend as Spots v Stripes hits London, in Leicester Square, Victoria and Brockwell Parks and Westfield Shopping Centre.

There’ll be games and challenges at each venue, and you can get involved by joining one of the teams.  If fashion’s your thing, turn up in an appropriately spotty/stripey outfit and you could find yourself up on the website.

All the games are free and suitable for all ages.

The Spots v Stripes challenge is on until Sunday, September 12.

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Filed under Central London, E London, Local interest, SE London, Sports

Vintage Fashion Fair-Free Tickets!

If you missed it last time, the Vintage Fashion Fair is being held again on Saturday, September 12.

Generally, the Fair is held every month at Primrose Hill’s Cecil Sharp House, and you can while the time away rummaging through all sort of vintage clothes and accessories.

Normally it’s £3 entry, but if you head to their website, there’s a chance to get yourself a  free ticket for this weekend.

It’s open 11am-5pm – plenty of time to grab yourself a bargain.

Cecil Sharp House is located on Regents Park Road.

Nearest Tube: Camden Town

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Filed under Markets, N London

Thames Festival

Another week, another festival.  This week, it’s the turn of The Mayor’s Thames Festival – a weekend long jolly along the river between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge.

There are tons of activities and events to keep you occupied, and areas along the river are split up into four zones so you know where you need to be for each one.

Highlights look like:

Feast On The Bridge

Does what it says on the tin….it kicks off on Southwark Bridge (which is in Zone 3, fyi) at noon on Saturday and continues long into the night, ending around 10pm.  As well as all the food, you can feast yourself on the live music, dancing and baking – and that’s just for starters.

Photography Masterclasses

On both Saturday and Sunday, there’s a free drop-in photography masterclass in Zone 1, based on a first come, first served basis.  Once you’ve got all your tips, get snapping and you could win a new camera by entering the festival’s photo competition.

Walk and Explore

On Saturday, you can join a charity walk which explores the streets of London.  There are three walking challenges to choose from, and there’s an optional donation to take part in the event – click here for more information.  The walk officially starts at 10:30am (although it sounds like you can turn up at any time) from outside the front of the Tate Modern.

Festival Market

Covering all zones and running on both days, the Festival Market will be showcasing independent shops and designers, selling things from arts & crafts to food. With over 300 traders, you’re sure to find something you like!

Thames River Parade

Saturday sees a parade along the Thames of all who use it.  From barges to tugs to cruiseliners – you got it.  It sets off at 2:30pm from the Queen Elizabeth II Pier outside the O2 – click here for the full itinerary.

Beach Activities

Hang on to summer by hitting the beach on the foreshore at Gabriel’s Wharf (in Zone 2) on Sunday.  Activities include sandcastle making and wellie throwing. Suitable for all ages, all equipment for the activities will be provided.

Carnival and Fireworks

Concluding the Festival, a 2000-strong parade of dancers and musicians start partying at 7:15pm from Victoria Embankment.  The procession finishes around 9:15pm behind the National Theatre in time for fireworks, which will be going off from two barges stationed on the river between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges.  The display starts at 9:45pm.

The Festival is happening this Saturday and Sunday, September 11-12.

Nearest Tube: London Bridge/Waterloo/Embankment/Southwark/Tower Hill/Borough

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Filed under Central London, Festival, Food & Drink, Historical, Local interest, Markets, Music, S London

Lovely Lido

It may have got colder and wetter recently, but that shouldn’t put you off the great outdoors.  Not when you could be getting wet anyway, at one of the lidos around our fair city.

Jon Forman went to check out the one at Tooting Bec.

Supposedly, I’m currently in training for a Triathlon which is taking place in the near future. I say supposedly; a more accurate reflection would be I’m eating lots of Pizza (carb loading……) and occasionally thinking about going to the gym.  Anyhoo, this week has featured a couple of days which could at least be described as warm, and so I packed the bag and cycled off to Tooting Bec Lido in search of some aqua themed exercise.

According to the website the Lido is; “the second biggest outdoor pool in Europe, and has been voted “Best Outdoor Pool” by the London pools campaign for the second year in succession….” Phew, quite some pedigree.

I have to agree, the place has a lot of Art-Deco charm. The pool is surrounded by sea-side style changing rooms, there’s plenty of space to sun-bathe after some strenuous laps, and it isn’t difficult to imagine many a happy Bank Holiday being spent here since it opened in 1906. (Although mixed sex bathing was not introduced until 1931!) There’s also a paddling pool for the younger members of the family and a café serving the usual assortment of snacks, drinks and iced cream. I also found the water to be extremely clean.

There’s only one thing….it’s cold. Gaspingly cold. A-thousand-tiny-knives-stabbing-you, Jack-from-Titanic-style-cold. OK, I might be exaggerating slightly – Yes, I am a wimp. There were however other people training for Triathlons wearing wet-suits!

Back in the day, this sort of thing would have been called ‘character building’ in schools. Not going in for this style of child abuse myself I’d still maintain it was cold. Let’s not labour the point…… Out of the water the weather was warm if not balmy, and aside from the training I spent a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon reading, napping and taking the occasional dip.

I’d thoroughly recommend a day out here, just make sure the sun is out. Fingers crossed for an Indian summer at the Lido……….

Entry:

Adults (17+) £5.00
After 6pm £3.20
Child (5-16) £3.20
OAPs (60+) £3.20
Concession/ student/ unemployed £3.20
Family (2 adults, 2 children) £13.20

The lido is open 6am-5pm throughout September, and is located on Tooting Bec Road.

Nearest Tube: Tooting Bec

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Filed under Local interest, Sports, SW London

The Press Photographer’s Year

If, like me, you enjoy the pictures as much – if not more – than the report in newspapers, The Press Photographer’s Year exhibition at The National Theatre might be up your street.

Photos on show have been used by the media over the last year, and categories include sport, news, arts and entertainment.

The exhibition is in its last few days, but might be a good way to spend a rainy Wednesday afternoon/evening.  It’s open 9:30am-11pm until Saturday, September 11.

Entry’s free, and you can find the show on in the Lyttleton Exhibition Space at the National Theatre on the South Bank.

Nearest Tube: Waterloo

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Filed under Arts, Central London

Tower of London

My roving reporter Jon Forman has been out and about exploring the city again.  Here’s his take on the Tower of London.

The parents have been down this weekend, staying in a hotel on Gloucester Road. They were promming over at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday night – I think it was a Hungarian Orchestra playing some Mahler and Beethoven – and then Sunday left us free to dive into some good old fashioned tourism. Father expressed an interest in visiting The Tower of London; something which initially struck me as a little strange. Does he have a passing interest in History? Yes. Does he often express an interest in exploring the nationalistic embodiment of the hegemony of the monarchy? No.

The Tower of London (Picture courtesy of FreeFoto.com (c) )

Anyhoo, explore we did and upon my arrival at the nominated location at the anointed hour, Father was already looking rather pleased with himself having successfully negotiated the ‘interweb’ to pre-book tickets. We decided a good plan of attack would be to take on the wall walk, and on heading up the first of perhaps a hundred narrow spiral staircases the day would bring, we were thrust into the full history and atmosphere that The Tower has to offer.

It’s easy to forget the impact that some of The Tower’s past residents and internees have had on the country, nee the world. Henry the VIII and Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh and the Kray Twins don’t often appear in the same sentence but have all spent time within the walls of The Tower for varying reasons.

The general ambience and presentation of information really gives you  this sense, whilst also providing interesting facts that you might actually stand a chance of remembering. The exhibits are genuinely engaging and err just on the side of what I’d a call ‘glam historical macabre’. See the Block and Axe with which Lady Jane Grey met her grizzly end, sit on the chair which bore the weight of the final soul to be dispatched at the tower. (A WWII German spy – death by firing squad whilst sat down!)

I was genuinely surprised to find myself lapping up this same atmosphere which keeps those lovable Yanks coming back year on year. If there’s one thing we Brits do well it’s Pomp & Circumstance and the epitome of this was the excellent exhibition on the various Crown Jewels to which The Tower is a home.

Impressive day out

I was impressed with the ‘overall attitude’ and packaging of the day out. Ice creams weren’t too expensive, the place is excellently maintained, and exhibits are modern and labelled in an informative manner. If you stay to take in everything on offer, you’ve got a full day out on your hands. The parents and I got through the majority of the exhibitions (including the Ravens) and this took us from 10am until 4pm once we’d included a short break for lunch!

Overall the day brought tired legs and full minds, and there was a real buzz about the place. I found a particular pleasure in the failed actors unleashing their inner jester to entertain the cue for the Crown Jewels.

On this showing, I’d say that The Tower has cemented itself as one of the Capital’s top-flight and most value for money attractions. To coin a phrase one might call it the Jewel in the Crown…….

Adult: £17 (£16 online). Concession: £14.50 (£13.50 online).

Nearest station: Tower Hill

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Filed under Central London, Historical, Local interest, SE London