Things To Do This Week In London: 17-23 October 2022 – Londonist
HOP ON: St Pancras station’s Hop On beer festival continues until Thursday this week. It’s not so much a traditional beer festival, as various venues around the station putting on special beers/offers, though something to get excited about is a pop-up bar in the guise of a golden age railway carriage — dishing out samples throughout the event. Until 20 October
RE:IMAGINING MUSICALS: The V&A has a new display, Re:Imagining Musicals, celebrating all things related to musical theatre. Ogle costumes from the likes of SIX the Musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Company, and A Chorus Line, as well as Paul O’Grady’s Miss Hannigan costume from Annie, and an original poster from the off-Broadway premiere of Hamilton signed by the cast and creatives. FREE, from 15 October
BLOOMSBURY FESTIVAL: With the annual Bloomsbury Festival now underway, take your pick from a whole programme of events going on in the central London district — many (though not all) events are free. We like the look of Tuesday’s lunchtime concert, this guided walk around the area’s historic squares, and the silent film screening at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church. Until 23 October
LONDON COCKTAIL WEEK: Sup your way through the next few days at London Cocktail Week. Buy yourself a wristband for £15 to take advantage of £7 signature cocktails in more than 350 bars across the capital throughout the festival. Masterclasses, pop-ups and food pairings are among the events taking place too. Until 23 October
BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Continuing apace this week is Black History Month, with events going on all over town to celebrate Black creatives, heroes, and campaigners. How about Tongue Tied spoken word battle, a fashion showcase, a Comedy Shutdown Black History Month special, or a screening of 1972 Jamaican film The Harder They Come? Until 31 October
MONTH OF THE DEAD: Get warmed up for Halloween early with London Month of the Dead events. Take a guided tour of Nunhead Cemetery, hear from Londonist contributor Laurence Scales about the scientists and inventors buried in Brompton Cemetery, or find out what the gruesome punishment of gibbeting involved. Until 31 October
MARINER’S REVENGE: Staged in the spooky attic rooms of Admiral’s House in Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College, 1797: The Mariner’s Revenge is a dark comedy with booming sea shanties and puppetry, which tells the tale of a crew’s epic struggle for revenge. Ticket includes a free rum cocktail. Until 12 November
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY: One of our favourite annual exhibitions, Wildlife Photographer of the Year returns to the Natural History Museum for its 58th incarnation. See photos of animals and the natural world taken by photographers all over the globe, including the overall winners (announced on 11 October). 14 October-June 2023
PETER PAN’S LABYRINTH: Three classic stories (yup Peter Pan, Pan’s Labyrinth and Labyrinth) meld together in this surreal alt-comedy show/outrageous party by The Sleeping Trees, who’ve been described as “the love child of Month Python and the League of Gentlemen.” The show’s setting, in the bowels of The Vaults, only makes it more enticing. 18 October-7 January
AUTUMN WALKS: Take some time out to enjoy London in all its autumn glory. We’ve picked some of our favourite places to see gorgeous autumn leaves around the capital, from Royal Parks to riverside spots.
VISIT THE SCRIBE: The British Museum hosts a free creative session for under-5s and their families. Visit The Scribe is inspired by the current Hieroglyphs exhibition, with a chance to create your own document in the ancient Egyptian style. FREE, 10.30am-12pm
HUMAN RIGHTS: The St Martin-in-the-Fields lecture series continues with a talk by three people who have experience in courageously standing up for human rights. Hear from equality and LGBT social movement campaigner Peter Tatchell; Canon Rachel Mann, a trans woman who writes, speaks and broadcasts on a wide range of topics including gender, sexuality and religion; and Bernárd Lynch, who founded the AIDS Ministry in New York in 1982. Attend in person, or watch the live stream from home. 7pm-8.30pm
COMEDY VIRGINS: Get thee to Stockwell for your dose of Comedy Virgins, a super fun evening in which a succession of acts perform for five minutes. The winner is ultimately decided by the loudest audience clapping. FREE, 7pm and 9pm
STARS: New drinking/dining venue alert! Today’s the day Stars restaurant and bar opens up at the (also new) Soho Place theatre. The menu includes cauliflower and stilton croquettes, pumpkin ravioli, and Basque cheesecake. The 25-seat bar serves astrologically themed cocktails, including the Cosmologist.
WEIRD WOMEN IN LONDON: Join Guildhall Library for an online talk about the supernatural metropolis, with particular focus on weird women in London. Hear spooky short stories by Edith Stewart Drewry, Margaret Irwin, Margery Lawrence and other female authors. FREE, 2pm-3pm
UNDER POISONED SKIES: Paddington’s Frontline Club screens a new documentary by BBC News Arabic. Under Poisoned Skies investigates how the oil industry in Iraq is putting people at risk of cancer by releasing toxic air pollution 24 hours a day. Screening followed by a Q&A with British-Iranian journalist, documentary producer and author Ramita Navai, director Jess Kelly and producer Owen Pinnell. 7pm-8.30pm
GENERATIONTUSK COMEDY: Now in its third year, the GenerationTusk Comedy Night returns to the Comedy Store in aid of African conservation. It’s hosted by the Ivo Graham, with special guests. 7.30pm-10.30pm
MAPPING BRIXTON: Local people who care passionately about Brixton’s music, history and culture are invited along to Brixton Library to take part in a unique project. Mapping Brixton Through Song is a chance to create music which will eventually be used on an interactive music app. The project is led by musician Jessie Lloyd, who did a similar thing to revive the music of Indigenous Elders in Australia. FREE, 10am-2pm
HISTORY IN THE PUB: Glass, Coade stone, aircraft and biscuits are the diverse range of subjects for this month’s History in the Pub talks, under the wider theme of London manufacturing. The evening includes a speed quiz by Londonist’s Matt Brown, and is organised by London Historians. 6.30pm-9pm
ROMANTIC JAZZ NIGHT: While Luke Jerram’s Earth installation Gaia is in residence at Southwark Cathedral, there’s a whole series of events going on around it, including an evening of romantic jazz music underneath the glowing orb. Ronnie Scott’s regulars The Leo Richardson Quartet perform jazz classics in the nave, with a free glass of prosecco or soft drink included in your ticket. 7pm/8.30pm
SHAKE WITH LAUGHTER: Support charity Parkinson’s UK by attending the fundraising Shake With Laughter comedy night. Jo Brand, Tim Vine, Ivo Graham, Paul Mayhew-Archer and Sharon Wanjohi are all on the bill at The Comedy Store tonight. 8pm
MEDICULTURE FESTIVAL: Medical-themed stand up comedy, anatomical art lessons and demos in a Georgian operating theatre are on the agenda for Mediculture, a mini-festival of all things medical, taking place at venues around London Bridge. Most events FREE, 20-26 October
IN PLAIN SIGHT: Wellcome Collection’s new display In Plain Sight is one of our top exhibitions to see this month, and it opens today. It explores how we see, and how we are seen by others, taking into consideration the different experiences of sighted, partially-sighted and blind people. FREE, 20 October-12 February
LONDON LITERATURE FESTIVAL: A highlight of the literary calendar, the annual London Literature Festival at Southbank Centre never fails to bring in big names. Minnie Driver, Graham Norton, Malorie Blackman, Rob Delaney, Nick Cave and Greta Thunberg all feature this year, along with creative workshops and games, kids’ events, and a chance to hear from the newly-announced Booker Prize Winner. 20-30 October
SEEING AUSCHWITZ: We’re invited to reflect on the horrors committed by Nazi Germany, as more than 100 images captured by perpetrators, victims and liberators go on display at new exhibition Seeing Auschwitz. The display, created in collaboration with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum also features testimonies from survivors. From 20 October
CURATORS’ TALK: A chance to hear from the curators behind the British Museum’s current Hieroglyphs exhibition. This online talk tells the story of how the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799 provided the key to decoding Egyptian hieroglyphs. FREE, 5.30pm
FRANZ FERDINAND: Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand play a gig at Alexandra Palace. It’s ahead of the release of their new greatest hits album, Hits to the Head, so expect to hear some of their best-known tunes. Doors 6.30pm
ALEXANDER THE GREAT: The British Library opens a new exhibition, Alexander the Great: The Making of a Myth. Delve into the truth behind the king reported to have built an empire that stretched across the world, ridden across the sky on a flying chariot, and descended to the bottom of the sea in a glass bell. 21 October-19 February
ELMER: One for families with younger children, Horniman Museum unveils an exhibition celebrating the works of children’s author David McKee, with Elmer the Elephant taking centre stage. There’s plenty for older generations too, with Mr Benn and King Rollo featuring. 21 October-April 2023
MICHAEL MORPURGO: Children’s author Michael Morpurgo — of War Horse and Private Peaceful fame — is at Waterstones Piccadilly. He chats to screenwriter David Farr about writing in all its forms — for the stage, the screen and the page. 6.30pm
ELIZABETH LINE LATE: Postponed following the death of the Queen last month, the London Transport Museum has rescheduled its Elizabeth line-themed Friday late. Stay at the museum after hours for events themed on London’s new railway, including a quiz, creative activities, and a chance to ‘drive’ an Elizabeth line train. 6.45pm-10pm
SOUTH ASIAN POETRY: Enjoy an evening celebrating South Asian poetry and spoken word at Conway Hall. It’s organised by arts collective Daytimers, and features poets Azan Ahmed, Jay Mitra and writer Rupinder Kaur Waraich with live music from flute duo 2 Flutes, followed by a live DJ set. 7pm
HALF TERM: If you’ve got kids off school from today, take a look at our guide to things to do in London in October half term. Pirates, dinosaurs and playgrounds all feature — what more could they want? 22-30 October
CLOSE TO HOME: Hundreds of dancers of all ages weave together real-life stories of migration, community, activism and history at Close to Home, part of Lewisham Borough of Culture. Head to Sedgehill Academy in Bellingham for the outdoor performances, and a weekend of celebrations. FREE, 22-23 October
ICE RINK: With more than two months to go until Christmas, the first of London’s seasonal ice rinks opens for business. Ice Rink Canary Wharf is located at the foot of east London’s skyscrapers, below hundreds of fairy lights. Oh, and it has a roof, meaning rain won’t stop play. Read our complete guide to Christmas ice rinks for the lowdown on where else you can get your skates on this year. 22 October-February 2023
DIWALI: The National Maritime Museum celebrates the Festival of Light with a day of free activities. Highlights include a sari demonstration, a talk about food rituals, rangoli workshops, and live music and dance performances. It culminates in a lantern parade from the museum to the Old Royal Naval College at sunset. FREE, 10am-8.30pm
CROYDON FC: The mighty Croydon FC are at home this afternoon to Forest Hill Park. Kick off is at 3pm, although why not get to Croydon Sports Arena early for a pre-match pint. KO 3pm
STORYTELLING WORKSHOP: Every Saturday morning this month, the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham is putting on family African storytelling workshops. They’re led by performance storyteller Olusola Adebiyi AKA Sola Story. 10.30am and 11.30am
OCTOBER PLENTY: One of those odd traditions that London does so well, the October Plenty is an autumn harvest celebration and procession, from Shakespeare’s Globe to Borough Market. The Corn Queene leads the parade, laden with fruit and veg, joined by live music, dancers and actors performing for the crowd. FREE, 11am
TEA WITH PADDINGTON: Take the kids along to Waterstones Piccadilly for storytime and tea with the legend that is Paddington Bear. Tuck into marmalade sandwiches and sweet treats followed by a storytelling session. If you can’t make it for tea, Paddington will be around all day if you want to stop by and take a photo with him. From 11am
BAWDY DRURY LANE: It’s your last chance to catch the theatrical walking tour that is Minimum Labyrinth’s Drury Lane. It’s part guided walk, part street theatre, and “explores the rich cultural history of one of London’s most colourful, creative and dangerous quarters”. 2pm-6pm
DINO BAPTISTE: Get your groove on to a night of high energy blues, courtesy of boogie-woogie pianist/singer and his backing band, Night Train. They’re upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s in Soho, playing music inspired by the likes of Ray Charles, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. Doors 6.30pm
GUINNESS PUB QUIZ: Your £10 ticket for this quiz in the posh Cadogan Arms gets you a pint of Guinness, plus the chance to win a £300 bar tab (which, presumably you don’t have to spend all on Guinness). Teams are a max of four people, so gather up your three smartest mates. 7pm-9.30pm
ULTIMATE FEMME FATALE: London Month of the Dead is in Brompton Cemetery tonight, for a candlelit concert with stories and songs dedicated to Luisa, Marchesa Casati Stampa di Soncino — one of the cemetery’s most exotic residents. Ticket price includes a gin cocktail. 7pm
One person who might have needed medical attention in Southwark (see Thursday’s Mediculture festival) was General Haynau. In 1850, the “Austrian Butcher” was attacked by draymen of the Barclay and Perkins brewery, round the back of the still-existing Anchor pub. Assault seems a curious thing to commemorate with a plaque, but there it is, attached to the 1980s housing estate that now occupies the site. Haynau had it coming, mind. He had an international reputation for military brutality, and mistreatment of women.
Help is needed to save an important religious site in Islington, which is threatened with demolition. The Shaolin Temple UK Chan Buddhism Centre is a registered charity that has been at 207a Junction Road, Tufnell Park for more than 20 years. Islington Council have offered to rehouse the temple at a new location, but the community it serves find this unacceptable: “It is a vibrant and much beloved community centre with deep roots. To move the Temple to another site would mean destroying the sacred grounds and putting an end to a vital legacy for preserving an ancient Chinese culture dating back 1500 years.”
A petition has been set up, where you can also read more about the community work of the Buddhism centre, and its predicament.
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