An entire month of no bars, pubs or cocktail masterclasses? In London this is way easier than it sounds because there’s always something happening and at the end of the day, your liver could do with the time off. And Macmillan Cancer Support could use the fundraising money for Sober October.
Lets put everything in date order so you know what you have to head to soon but highlight what kind of event it is – remember there’s a LOT going on.
If you want to start your month with a laugh then there’s the Big Wednesday Comedy Club at Charterhouse Bar. Every Wednesday, starting with Pat Cahill on the 1, then Stuart Black on the 8 and more medium-sized names on the 15, 22, and 19 if you can’t make this week. Front row tickets are discounted for £7 and doors open at 8pm but Happy (Three) Hour ends at 7pm so get there early and enjoy!
Hit The Lexington for a night of music with Fools Good – duo specialising in African music (specifically Congolese, Ethiopian, Eritrean and Malian), Krautrock, and 80s dance influenced pop. Bands hit the stage around 8pm and tickets are only £10 but they don’t appear on the scene very often so worth a look.
If you prefer a more exciting sound then the legendary Sophie Ellis Bextor is playing O2 Shepherds Bush Empire from 7pm. Not just a night of Groovejet-style beats, her DJ set is one of the best I’ve ever enjoyed and comes highly recommended.
Opening night of I Know What I Like art group show at Curious Duke Gallery is full of work by young, bright, talented people. The show runs until Thursday 9 and entry to the opening party, which starts at 6pm, is free on MeetUp. Work is for sale and is entirely affordable 2D: photography, painting, collage and other mixed media.
If you want to do something a little bit different how about a ballet in one act at Southbank? Sway, swing, hop or pirouette into 1920s Paris with Edge of Sound in the Queen Elizabeth Hall from £12. With scripted scenario and original poetry, it’s even more cultural than a real Parisian cafe – no tourists.
Spend the night at Camden Comedy Club for Monkey Business on the 2, 9 or 16 with Joe Grant, Scott Ambrose and Tash Goldstone, respectively. Tickets are £12.50 and feature almost 15 stand up acts – so you know there’ll be someone funny there!
Something a little different for your Fridays is Magic Night at Madame JoJo’s with a selection of different acts from all areas of disappearing entertainment. Get a ticket for the 3 or 17 and enjoy magical tales, tricks and superhuman feats. Of illusion. Doors open at 7pm and you can stay for the after party until 3am, with a meal included for £25 but tickets start at £12 if you pick one up today.
For the geeks out there this entire weekend, until the 5, is Destination Star Trek at eXcel London. Join Kirk, Picard, Worf and Data – among many others – as the boldly encounter the Trek addicts of London. You’ve got a couple of faces from the new films so not just for the old guys. Tickets start at £29 but go up to £2,999 for VIPs – just to put that ticket price in perspective for you.
A cinema museum, a treasure hunt, an endangered display of public art and an opening Night gig at the Coronet with a DJ set from The Maccabees (on Thurs 2) make up the Elephant and Castle festival this weekend. Ongoing for the four days of a long weekend, it promises to be an epic party and it’s free to walk around.
Sky Line is the most recent chapter of Lawrence Lek’s Bonus Levels, an ongoing project interrogating the construction of utopian narratives through videos and virtual worlds and is the digital commission for Art Licks weekend. Sounds heavy but is really a video tour and playable game at The White Building – private viewings on the 2.
For a night of comedy and theatre book tickets from the 4 for East is East starring Jane Horrocks. They have a young, emerging talent directing the comic tale set in Salford, Manchester of a mixed-ethnicity British household headed by Pakistani father George and English mother Ella. Tickets are £38 and performances start at 7:30pm.
Also on this art-themed weekend is an exhibition that takes place in a private apartment. Starts on the 2 and the viewer is led from one room to the other unfolding the relationships between the art object and it’s surroundings. Also part of the Art Licks weekend and can be found in SE14 but check FB for further details on ‘Arrogant Objects’.
For a day of shopping at reasonable prices turn up to Bethnal Green’s Affordable Vintage Fair from 10:30. There will be a day of stylists and stalls of vintage themes at York Hall, Bethnal Green. Early bird entry is £3 and there’s some affordable vintage fashion, accessories and homewares.
Maya Angelou was one of the world’s most important writers and activists, famed for her spirit and style, and Southbank has an evening of celebration fo her life. Her poetry will be British Sign Language interpreted and tickets are from £15. ‘You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.’
More theatre in the form of a classic musical from The Kinks starts from the 4. Harold Pinter Theatre houses the story of the early life of Ray Davies and the rise to stardom of The Kinks. Tickets for the production, which explores the euphoric highs and agonising lows of one of Britain’s most iconic bands, start from only £15.
Head back to The Lexington for the Rough Trade Shop Pop Quiz with picture rounds, music rounds and puzzly pop questions for prizes of record tokens and drinks. Put together a team of six people and club in a pound each for the quiz at 8pm. Bear in mind the bottle of wine will have to be stored until the end of the month.
Roxy Bar and Screen may have some good cocktails, but their food is excellent too. This Wednesday they’re showing the film A Million Ways to Die in the West, about a cowardly farmer who begins to fall for the mysterious new woman in town, and must put his new-found courage to the test when her husband, a notorious gun-slinger, announces his arrival. Spend some money on a Roxy membership for £30 and enjoy free films and discounts on future drinks and food.
The BFI London Film Festival starts today for twelve days over seventeen venues. Looking forward to the Daily Show host Jon Stewart and political journalist Maziar Bahari discussing the important roles of journalism and satire in upholding freedom of speech but there are some other, lighter, options.
Made in Dagenham the musical opens today on stage at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End with tickets available from just £15. Inspired by a true story, it’s all about women’s rights and being appreciated for the work you do. Still relevant then.
If you appreciate a bit of sci-fi and haven’t seen one of our other movies this month then definitely head to the cinema for Automata. Starring Antonio Banderas, it’s a robot-filled future with profound consequences for the future of humanity. Go for the popcorn, stay for the special effects.
If you need someone more light-hearted then go for Grand Theft Impro – an improvised sketch comedy troupe that evolves as the members change. The hour and a half of fearlessly inventive, exciting and funny sketches and songs, all made up on the spot, and inspired by audience suggestions, runs on the 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 at The Wheatsheaf.
If you liked reading Wolf Hall (and you should – it was a great book) then you will have the option to chat to Hilary Mantel at Southbank. Hilary reads a complete story from her new collection The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and talks about the work in progress, while discussing her working methods. It starts at 7:30pm in the Royal Festival Hall…it’s worth it.
Herne Hill Music Festival starts today and goes on to the 19, with a range of classical, folk and jazz musicians in a variety of venues. Particularly liking the idea of Music in the Park and the Opal Flutes – from acrobats to bareback riders, clowns to elephants, they’ve got it all in the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’. Some things cost money but a lot are free.
If you’re not too tired of the highbrow stuff then The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov comes to the Young Vic theatre. It may be an ‘anguished and heartbreaking’ love letter to a society in violent transition but it’s also beautiful theatre. The Cut Bar & Restaurant at the Young Vic serves an inspired mix of classic and original play-themed dishes create an exciting menu from fresh, free-range and organic ingredients and tickets are from £10.
Hackney Wonderland hosts three venues – The Laundry, Oslo and London Fields Brewery – spanning a two mile stretch of Hackney will play host to over 20 live artists and DJs throughout the day. The evening will consist of a varied mix of the best emerging live music talent programmed by the UK’s most prolific independent live music promoter Cherry Cola Club.
Having spent the best part of a decade bringing some manners back to popular culture, this dopest of fellows will entertain and amuse you with his ingenious stylings. Basically Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer is an entertaining rapping hipster. But his tunes and ukulele will brighten up your day and tickets are only £8.25. Join him in the Buffalo Bar in Islington for the night.
Today is the last day to see An Idiosyncratic A to Z of the Human Condition at The Welcome Collection – weird and wonderful collection of objects, medical artefacts, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and some equally intriguing contemporary artworks. Inspired by the exhibition, and for those of you unable to contribute in the gallery itself, we invite you to participate in our #HumanCondition activities on Instagram and Twitter.
Ed Sheeran has over half a dozen gigs at the O2 this month if you want some indie tunes. Sheeran’s second studio album is titled ‘x’ (multiply) and was released on 23 June. Supported by Saint Raymond, there are some standing tickets left. Dates start on the 12 but he’s there til the 15 – good for a evening of laidback music and not too many drunk people.
For an established club for comedy and a good night out regardless, head to one of the Laughing Horse Comedy Club venues. They have shows at Stratford on 6, Brixton on 5, 12, 19, 26, Covent Garden on 1-4,8-11, 15-17, 22-25, 29, 30 and Lancaster Gate 11, 12.
Today is the last day to visit Intoxication Season at Kew Gardens, an exhibition on mind-altering plants and fungi. With activities, workshops, tours and fascinating talks, the season will highlight just how powerful plant chemicals can be. When you visit you can share your experience on Twitter using #IntoxicatedbyKew for your chance to win a year’s membership in our competition. Try getting £5 tickets to the Plant Connoisseurs’ Club, on top of the £15 entry.
If you feel like a bit of Oscar Wilde theatre then The Importance of Being Earnest is at the Richmond Theatre for a week. One of his more amusing and accessible plays, it’s about mistaken identities and falling in love. The hilarious misadventures which result from character subterfuge results in a plot that twists and fizzles with some of the finest dialogue to be found in theatre.
If you’d rather spend a night at the movies, then Non-Stop at the Roxy is a good bet. Tickets and a good meal are only £12 – try the Steak and ale pie. It stars Liam Neeson as an air marshal who springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account.
White Mink: Electro Swing Speakeasy is a night at Village Underground hosts the sounds and styles of the 1920s and 30′s turned on their head and smuggled into the 21st century. Expect high production values, cutting edge but accessible music, world-class performers, a fantastic atmosphere and surprises galore from this club night.
Scattered around the city, Laugh Out London has comedy nights in Stoke Newington on 19, Disney Comedy Night in Camden on 3, Victoria Park on 23 and Angel on 14. It’s £3 or £5 in advance and £7 on the door, with comedians doing things like showcasing the magic of Disney through sketch, song and surrealism.
A unique exhibition exploring our changing relationship with the environment, the Human Nature art show features photography, artworks made from recycled materials, paintings, sculpture and street art. From 11am you can see Gordon Glyn-Jones’ new work, among many others, at Hoxton Arches.
The Vamps announced their debut album on March 13 and are bringing their hearty guitar-pop and youthful lyrics to London. Join them at the Eventim Apollo on the 14 and 15 – but remember that they list their influences as Blink-182, Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons and McFly so nothing too hardcore here.
One of the world’s leading contemporary art fairs, Frieze takes place each October and can be found in Regent’s Park until the 18. Take a look at Tobias Madison, who will construct an experiential environment in which visitors’ movements will be translated into light. There’s film, music and a safe family space so pretty much an easy couple of days of looking at things.
For the best of culture and comedy book opera tickets to The Marriage of Figaro at the English National Opera. Mozart’s best known work, The Marriage is probably the best opera for beginners as it’s pretty popular and therefore easy to find out in advance what’s going on. Basically it’s a lot of people trying to sleep with and/or marry each other and ends happily when the scheming count realises he loves his wife after all – just like an episode of Hollyoaks, really.
For a day of reliving what you remember of your childhood television years then go and see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is released in cinemas across the country today. If you never watched the mutated sea creatures and their rat sensai, then you should probably go see this movie anyway. They were really just creepy looking teenagers – they liked pretending they were ninjas and eating pizza.
Before ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Elementary’ there was a lot of book and now there’s an exhibition at Museum of London. Visitors to the museum will be transported to the real Victorian London through early film, photography, paintings and original artefacts to recreate the atmosphere of Sherlock’s London. It’s £12 entry and on til April so you may want to wait until the end of the month to pop in and have a look around – when it’s less busy.
If you need plans for the entire day, want to learn a new skill and are willing to spend a bit of money, then try a baking class. Learn the art of sourdough bread making with master baker and supper club chef Ian Ballantyne at this fun and hands on cooking class for £65. are home recipes of everything made in the class, get a free lunch and learn what flours work best for what type of loaf.
Mr Peabody & Sherman is another remade children’s classic that may have passed you by but is still worth a look in if you are having an argument about what film to watch. Pretty funny and totally inoffensive, it’s about a smart dog and the little boy he’s adopted and their travels through time and space. Okay, it’s mostly going to be children at Stow Film Lounge in E17 but there are worse ideas…
Battle of Ideas is a two day event of high-level, thought-provoking, public debate organised by the Institute of Ideas at the Barbican. It tackles everything from commercial real estate to the political situation of Europe. You don’t have to attend to contribute, if you just want to go along and get a better feel for world affairs, no one will be judging or demanding your opinion. There’s a lot happening though so pick something you have a grounding up and start there.
Having spent the evening with Christabel and Grub Club I can honestly say that her home cooking rivals some of the better paid chefs of the city. Tickets for her Mad Hatters Brunch on Sunday 19 and Banquet on Thursday 23 are available online – the brunch is BYOB but the banquet included cocktail pairings. Her views alone are worth the trip but enjoy the Honey Mustard Sausages with Beetroot and Mint Quinoa.
Corbet Place Bar and Lounge are hosting London’s Original Short Film Evening with London Town. You can expect to be taken on a roller coaster ride of short films that will inspire, challenge and uplift you in an upmarket, relaxed and comfortable environment with full bar. It’s hosted by Short and Sweet, which takes film out of the theatre and into your city, thereby creating a unique screening platform to enhance and re-define your experience of cinema.
If you’ve missed Jake Bugg’s earlier gigs this year you can still get tickets for Alexandra Palace on this night only. I don’t think anything will ever be as fun as Lightning Bolt but he’s not a bad live act – a little unpolished still but at 20, he has time to develop. Go see him now before he starts selling out gigs over night. The teenage singer-songwriter is being hailed as the ‘antidote to plastic pop’, after all.
For another night in a bar without booze, try Quiz Night at Roxy Bar and Screen – expect more fun and interesting rounds with weird and wonderful film clips. It’s £2 for each person and your tema can be up to six people, with a cash prize for winners. It’s mostly film and TV based but it does have a couple of other options so take a handful of eclectic friends.
For only £10 you can attend Soul Session with The Songbirds; three professional singers here to teach you some soul classics and original harmonies that will spruce up your shower-singing no end. That’s a pretty good price for a singing lesson, especially from such talent and only at Antidote London in NW3. Perfect for talented and useless amateurs alike, learn to sing some Motown, Soul and Jazzy favourites.
Twice as Nice comedy at Finborough Arms in Earls Court features Andrew O’Neill and Holly Burn in it’s atmospheric cellar bar. It’s absurd and silly and fun and will spice up your average comedy night, with professional talent and genuine laughs. Tickets if you buy them online are £7 and £9 on the door and there’s an earlier performance on the 2.
If you want to celebrate the ultimate festival of lights with the rest of the Hindu population of London then Diwali Festival then you may have to go back a couple of weeks and join the official celebrations on the 12. Or just go crazy and spend a fortune at Dishoom.
Live performance in the Aeronaut’s very own indoor circus with tickets from only £8. Expect hula hooping, juggling, aerial swooping, cheeky dancers, magic and comedy from 9pm. Definitely a new night out but they only take reservations for seating in the circus from eating patrons.
The journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, comes out as The Book of Life today. An American 3D computer-animated adventure-comedy film, it includes the talents of Channing Tatum (not those talents, it’s a kids film) and Uhuru from the new Star Trek. Totally pop-culture full and really, all the best moves this month are for the kiddies. Not fair.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year tours more than 60 cities in the UK and across the world but premieres at the Natural History Museum in London. Because here is the best. Take a look at the showcase of the award-winning images that bring the talent and vision of each photographer closer to all who visit. It really does make you feel closer to wild animals than any zoo and is ecologically and environmentally much more efficient. Also…elephants.
Duck and rhubarb, Spring chicken, leek and tarragon, Rabbit, bacon, mushroom and cider, and Goat’s cheese, puy lentil and roasted beetroot are just some of the pies at The Lexington pop up. From 5pm you can enjoy pie ‘tapas’ with resident Northerner Head Chef Nathan Perrin on the 4, 11, 18 and 25.
the opulent Grand Hall in King’s Cross will play host to Europe’s largest competing Burlesque event, the london Burlesuqe Festival. Currently sold out but this is one event that it’s worth trying to dig out tickets from other sources. With 6 competing categories and a total of 36 finalists chosen, this year’s event will showcase the world’s best new and established artists in the genre. Winners of the competition will be chosen by an esteemed panel of judges and be awarded on the night of the event.
My second Grub Club choice will have to be A Little Lusciousness with apple and blackberry nutty crumble with salted caramel crème fraiche. May have to go on a waiting list if they sell out quickly, it’s a five course BYOB meal and a blackberry cocktail, made with bubbles and a kick.
London Restaurant Festival opens on the 8 and today is the last day to catch everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to neighbourhood bistros. How does an exclusive screening of Cinema Paradiso with a three-course dinner inspired by the Italian cinematic masterpiece sound? Watch the film and enjoy a box of gourmet popcorn but beware that this is not the cheapest of the festival events – go browsing.
If you’ve never done National Novel Writing Month before then you can always attend the NaNoWriMo workshop for operation in November. It may be true that everyone has a book in them but NaNoWriMo definitely separates the lazy from the real authors. Can you write a novel in a month? Join Greg Mosse’s sequence of novel-writing workshops at Southbank and find out!
Workshop Coffee Co, will be imparting words of wisdom about sourcing the best coffee possible at their Green Coffee Talk at National Geographic Store. Apparently Kenya constitutes the most exciting seasonal fresh crop coffee arrival each year and you’ll find out how they go about finding the small handful of Kenyan coffees that make up its exceptional range each season for £15 a ticket.
La Boheme is today’s opera option at the ENO – Puccini and honestly not a bad night out if you have some experience of extremely lengthy musical numbers. It really is much to complicated with too many people doing plain silly things to explain in a couple of sentence so reading a quick guide beforehand is a must. If you want to follow the story, anyway. Or just get a bottle of wine and feel smug and cultured and better than everyone else for the evening.
In 30 photographic and painted pieces, this art work explores themes of identity, gender and beauty and will comprise a series of photographs and paintings. The opening night for Illuminated Art is at the Espacio Gallery from 7pm. Includes nudity so maybe don’t take the kids. The show will run until Nov 4.
British electronic music production duo Chase & Status are playing Red Bull Culture Clash at Earls Court. The ‘world’s biggest’ musical battle features four stages, four crews and one champion. Tickets are going fast!
The world’s largest drawing festival comes to London! The Big Draw takes place all over the city and you can find things happening at most venues around the country. It offers thousands of enjoyable, and mainly free, drawing activities which connect people of all ages with museums, outdoor spaces, artists, designers, illustrators – and each other. These events are for those who love to draw, as well as for those who think they can’t!
The Art of the Brick at Truman Brewery is all about LEGO and the things you can make with it…many of its key pieces have much to say about our world and how art relates to it. The Pop art masterpieces come from Nathan Sawaya, a New York-based artist who creates awe-inspiring works of art out of some of the most unlikely things. There’s a lot to see, as it features over 80 art sculptures created from more than a million LEGO bricks.
Disobedient Objects at Victoria and Albert is about civil disobedience with safety in mind, focusing on the period from the late 1970s to the present, a time that has brought new technologies and political challenges. It highlights the responsible side of political activism and how much it is still badly needed in not just the third world and troubled parts of the globe. There is full access to the galleries and the V&A has a wide range of services for disabled visitors.
And if you have a friend’s birthday or important work occasion where drinking is probably unavoidable (and we hope not) then buy a Golden Ticket from Macmillan for £15 for a night off from Sober October.